Transforming Downtowns - The Case for Pedestrian Zones
Urban planners are always looking for innovative ways to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors. One rising star in many urban communities includes the use of pedestrian zones. There are many benefits that come with implementing a pedestrian zone including improved safety, more foot traffic for business, and an increased sense of community. There are several design and planning principles that are factored to the creation of a pedestrian zone.
The following will explore why the addition of a pedestrian zone is a smart move for downtown areas, and what infrastructure is involved.
One of the primary concerns in urban planning is related to safety. Pedestrian zones create a space that keeps pedestrians separated from vehicles. Lower speed limits, elevated crosswalks, and additional signage go a long way toward keeping traffic less intense. These measures alone can go a long way to making a downtown area more pedestrian-friendly. The use of pedlets as a vital piece of the infrastructure in a pedestrian zone can ensure fewer accidents with an increase in foot traffic.
Increased Foot Traffic for Businesses
Pedestrian zones are not just a safety measure, nor are they just for show. There are major economic benefits that come from implementing pedestrian zones. As downtown areas become more pedestrian-friendly, there comes a greater exploration of businesses. Areas where people are better able to “stroll” and explore more leisurely will result in increased business for area shops and restaurants. People who are walking have the tendency to be less concerned with time, which often translates to spending more money. As such, pedestrian zones can become a feeder for revitalizing entire neighborhoods by supporting small business and local entrepreneurs.
The sense of belonging and community cannot be overlooked when weighing the benefits of pedestrian zones in downtown areas. These areas promote connection and interaction with one another and become a social gathering place. The opportunities are substantial when planning for a pedestrian zone, from public seating, art installation, and certainly an extension of sidewalks using pedlets as an infrastructure base. Communities that implement these zones often add greenery, landscaping, and trees which also improves air quality. Small community events, street musicians, and other performance artists can also create a more vibrant downtown area.
Pedestrian Zone Design Using Pedlets
Lower speed limits, greater signage, and planting trees will only go so far in the creation of a downtown pedestrian zone. Communities that seek to implement a pedestrian zone in their downtown area will need to consider the infrastructure and how to make it more pedestrian-friendly. Simply put, the pedlet is a modular extension of a sidewalk. Because sidewalks are historically more narrow, and frequently seek to meet a compliance need when designing driveable streets, they are not always adequate for areas that want more people to travel on foot. The pedlet extends this sidewalk area in a more aesthetically pleasing way while also creating a safe barrier between the walkway and the street.
MODSTREET Pedlets – Innovation in Walkability
MODSTREET pedlets are innovative and adaptable modular sidewalk extensions that enhance pedestrian zones. Our pedlets provide the perfect solution in urban planning for pedestrian zones as they are either temporary or permanent installations that will protect the surface below them. Storefronts can create additional seating or vending areas, while pedestrians can still have a high level of accessibility, and mobility. MODSTREET pedlets allow businesses in downtown areas to attract pedestrians and enhance the community experience for residents and visitors.
Boosting the Local Economy
We know now that a walkable downtown will stimulate the local economy. More residents and visitors will spend their money in these areas because they will spend more time exploring, shopping, and dining. Pedestrian zones will see higher property value, and a greater occupancy rate as well. With pedestrian zones that include pedlets as a key infrastructure need, storefronts will become more attractive bringing a special hype and awareness to the downtown area. Contact us to learn how MODSTREET pedlets can help provide the aesthetic desired in creating these much-needed pedestrian zones.