Help us make Market Street Better for Everyone!
PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE – February 2, 2017
On Tuesday, February 2, 2017, consultants Sam Schwartz and Street Plans held a public open house with the City of Poughkeepsie. The meeting was held at the Bardavon Theatre and was part of the ongoing City Center Connectivity Project, which aims to make city center streets safer and more accessible. Over 55 people were in attendance and had a number of opportunities to share their feedback on a several draft project concepts currently under consideration. These include creating new streets connections to enhance circulation, considering the conversion of one-way streets to two-way travel, added pedestrian and bicycle amenities, and general aesthetic improvements.
In order to make the open house fun and engaging, the planning team set up a series of interactive “stations” where attendees could digest the draft concepts at their own pace and share comments. Participatory exercises included watching a project update slideshow, ranking priority design objectives, developing draft street designs for real city center streets, and allocating a limited number of coins to favored project proposal “banks.” This last exercise helped identify the projects people in attendance are most likely to support.
The range of activities was not only engaging for participants but also allowed the planning team to better understand what streetscape enhancements people care about most. Sam Schwartz, Street Plans, and the City of Poughkeepsie are now using the results to inform final project recommendations, which will be reviewed this spring before going to Common Council for endorsement.
MARKET STREET CONNECT – October 7, 2016
On Friday, October 7, 2016, the City of Poughkeepsie worked with residents, businesses, and partner agencies to create a demonstration project that temporarily transformed Market Street into a better place to walk and bike.
Dubbed Market Street Connect, the demonstration project narrowed the street from three lanes to two (between Church and Mill Street) and created enhanced public spaces using temporary materials, such as hay bales, chalk paint, plants, artificial turf, and movable furniture. The demonstration project allowed the community to experiment with traffic calming strategies, and reclaim space for public gathering.
During the demonstration, the City collected feedback from residents at three different locations along Market Street. Attendees had the chance to view draft plans for long-term changes to the street and provide their input through conversations and comment cards. We received a lot of positive input regarding the demonstration project – over 120 responses were received from conversations with residents, an online survey, and the written responses on the feedback cards. Thanks to everyone who came out to check out the demonstration and share ideas!
Why use temporary materials to test design alternatives?
Demonstration and pilot projects allow for a “test before you invest” approach. This means that rather than only drawing design concepts on paper, the City can test out ideas for Complete Streets treatments, such pedestrian enhancements and intersection markings, amongst others. This approach provides Poughkeepsie’s residents and businesses with the opportunity to experience a “rendering in real time” that allows us to test out and evaluate new street design treatments before making substantial financial and political commitments to more permanent infrastructure investments.
This approach is all about action!
Demonstration projects on Market Street:
- Show fast progress towards adding “Complete Streets” treatments to Market Street, in a way that is visible and engaging to the community;
- Allow the City to gather quantitative and qualitative data from real-world use of the street, helping deepen our understanding of how people use the street and how we redesign it to better meet their needs;
- Widen public engagement by allowing people to physically experience potential changes to Market Street with the expectation that you’ll tell us what you like and dislike about the temporary projects;
- Allow the City to learn from the impact of the temporary designs, to inform development of the eventual plan; and
- Encourage people to work together in new ways, strengthening relationships between residents, non-profits, local businesses, and government agencies.