Using Street Design to Revitalize Downtown
Montevallo, AL, population just north of 6,000, is working with the local university to make its downtown area more consumer friendly. A major component of the program is the reduction of cars in the downtown promenade with a goal of promoting bike usage through a bike sharing program. Read on for details of this small community with big city vision
What Happened?Montevallo, AL, is revitalizing its downtown scene to make it more pedestrian and business-friendly through new street designs and a bike-sharing initiative.
The GoalThe city of Montevallo is working with the local university to make the downtown area more enjoyable for residents and local businesses. Building off the college town mentality, Montevallo has created a bicycle sharing program to make it easier for residents and students to get around the area without a car. A promenade project has also been launched to make connect pedestrians and cyclists to local shops and restaurants along Main Street to boost economic development. Signs were added to downtown streets to encourage safe driving around an influx of bicyclists on the road to keep pedestrians safe.
What The Programs OfferThe ValloCycle bike sharing program is the first of its kind in Alabama and was launched as part of a resolution to make the local roads safer while reducing the city’s carbon footprint. The initiative has taken pages from Birmingham’s Complete Streets policy which rebuilt dilapidated roadways to support more cyclists and public transportation.
Being much smaller than Birmingham, Montevallo tried to scale down the strategy to fit the needs of the local community. ValloCycle provides the college town with more than 70 bikes and three stations to drop off or pick up the vehicles. The program also aims to place priority on pedestrian and cyclist safety when making future transportation infrastructure improvements and upgrades in the future.
In addition, Montevallo completed a project that connects the university to the city’s downtown area so students and other pedestrians can get to and from popular locales without the use of a car. A boardwalk is also being constructed around the university’s lake to connect a trail system to sidewalks to make foot travel seamless.
Alaska Invests Millions
Along the Alaska-Canada border, new road repairs and constructions are set to break ground this summer totaling more than $200 million in revitalization investments. Northern Alaska’s transportation initiatives include upgrades to roads, runways, bridges and bike paths to increase mobility for residents and visitors, while driving economic activity for retailers and restaurants. Most of the new construction projects are occurring in rural areas of the Alaska to better connect remote residents to more urban amenities.
The state and local governments are working collaboratively to complete the projects efficiently. The initiatives are being primarily supported by state and federal grants, with the state Department of Transportation Northern Region providing $144 million in construction work and another $90 million is being applied from last year’s funding. Alaska is joining several other states such as Alabama in increasing the prevalence of Complete Streets in local communities that cater to motorists, walkers and bikers.
The Northern Region has several projects in the works, many of which are focused on increasing the use of bicycles to safely navigate downtown communities. Many streets will be reworked to increase biker safety, while existing trails will be connected to downtown roadways for a more seamless pathway between rural and urban amenities.