Cicely Peterson-Magnum, the Executive Director of Logan CDC, recently updated us on the CDC's work with the Community Design Collaborative via a press release sharing the design team's advice.
Recently, the Collaborative's volunteer team presented the Logan community with some preliminary ideas for improving the appearance of the 4800 to 5000 blocks of North Broad Street. The meeting provided one last opportunity for local residents and businesses owners to offer suggestions for conceptual design.
According to the design team, the key to the corridor’s revitalization may depend on how well it can capitalize off of its existing landmarks while working to develop new ones. Adam Supplee of KMS Design Group, LLC, lead presenter, saw a wonderful mix of contemporary and 19th century architecture on the corridor.
Several properties including the old Bell Atlantic office building, Northwest Counseling Service, and the SEPTA train trestle are all wonderful architectural focal points, and could help draw attention to the corridor.
After conducting an analysis of properties along the corridor, the design team determined that certain sections of the commercial district have historic relevance, which might make it eligible to become a historic district. “This area paints a great story of the progression of the economic corridor and the neighborhood of Logan as well,” said Elizabeth Burling, historic preservationist of Kise Straw & Kolodner.
Carl Kelemen of KMS Design Group, LLC, indicated that the Logan business corridor is currently underutilized. He said that the wide, empty sidewalks and fast moving traffic on Broad Street along with poor lighting and aesthetics (i.e. enclosed security grates and dark windows) give the entire area an appearance of being unsafe with closed or abandoned businesses. He said that by making wider, textured crosswalks and using traffic calming techniques such as landscaped pedestrian islands, textured pavement, and public art on Broad Street, drivers will be encouraged to slow down and discouraged from using Broad Street as a freeway. Adding street furnishings such as benches, trash and recycling receptacles, bike racks, sidewalk pavement with color and/or texture highlights, seating areas (especially if associated with businesses), trees and planters will help bring definition, color and life to the corridor.
Mr. Kelemen also emphasized that businesses should invest in smaller signs, more uniform awnings, bright, interesting display windows and less obtrusive security features such as see-thru grates. Additionally, using open areas, such as the vacant land by the SEPTA Broad Street station entrance at Windrim Avenue as a small park or farmers market, supplementing street lights with pedestrian-scaled light fixtures and increasing the illumination level of street lights, will help make the corridor more pedestrian friendly. “The success of a business corridor depends on its ability to provide a friendly, safe environment that helps to develop and maintain pedestrian traffic and vibrant, active spaces. In order to do this, we must be able to create a Logan business district with interest, vitality and an identity,” said Mr. Kelemen.
According to Cicely Peterson-Mangum, executive director of Logan CDC, the design team gave an exceptional presentation. “They were very engaging and it was clear they put a lot of thought into their research. The preliminary plan accurately reflected the thoughts and feedback of the steering committee. The crowd was very pleased,” said Peterson-Mangum.
The final conceptual plan will be completed by July 2009 and may be used to guide additional revitalization along the business corridor. Additionally, the plan may allow Logan CDC to leverage additional resources to subsidize the cost associated with implementing the plan.
Through collaborations and independently, Logan Community Development Corporation seeks to enhance quality of life for Logan residents and businesses through revitalization efforts: community development, residential housing programs and community-focused education. Key projects include the Logan Neighborhood Advisory Committee, the Carlton Simmons Community Technology Center, Benefit Bank services, and mixed-use real estate development in the Logan Urban Renewal Area. ###