College Park

South Main Street Improvements

Location: South Main Street from Depot Avenue to South 16th Avenue
Start Date: 2017
Key Partners: Property and Business Owners, Citizens, and Neighborhoods
Estimated Completion Date: 2018
Available Funding: $3,500,000

South Main Street Improvements
Objective:

Improvements to the South Main Street corridor have been the subject of discussions and planning exercises for a number of years in anticipation of the opening of Depot Park, the Cade Museum, the Power District, and other existing or planned development opportunities in the area. During this period numerous milestones have been accomplished furthering the broad redevelopment goals for this area of Gainesville. Significant changes to the area have occurred that directly impact the functional needs of the street. These include new commercial oriented businesses, the Depot Avenue streetscape and roundabout, construction of the Cade Museum, and the opening of Depot Park. With these recent improvements being fully realized, CRA Board directed Staff to advance the design and, ultimately, construction process forward so that the South Main Street corridor responds to its changing context while still supporting its existing businesses and users.

Beginning in 2014, the CRA began facilitating discussions with area stakeholders, hosting community engagement events, and learning about the area related to possible improvements to the corridor. The result was the collaborative stakeholder process of adopting a Guiding Vision Statement & Guiding Principles for the project that we would rely on throughout subsequent planning, design, and engineering processes. Throughout the month of September 2016 the CRA facilitated a series of participatory community workshops and engagement exercises that explored various street design alternatives related to reimaging the corridor by prioritizing the various streetscape elements. On October 17, 2016 the CRA Board approved two basis-of-design concept cross-sections that were representative of the diverse prioritizes of participants. The October 2016 presentation outlined how each concept uniquely addresses the Guiding Principles of: improving safety and connectivity, increasing parking opportunities, preparing the area as a destination with a unique identity, while addressing the accessibility, flow, and balance of the corridor.

The next step in the process was to translate the two conceptual cross-sections to the existing conditions of the actual street and its many diverse adjacent land-uses with 30% schematic plans. This effort was challenging because of the unique existing and planned users being accommodated through the approved design. From 18-wheelers to baby strollers, the team begun the process of working through the various technical aspects of balancing the layout of the corridor that preserves the vision, supports additional users, while also considering the numerous operational needs of the existing businesses along South Main Street. On March 20, 2017 the CRA Board approved the 30% schematic plans, Construction Manager At-Risk selection, and authorized Staff to proceed with utility undergrounding engineering for the entire corridor. Since March 2017, the plans have advanced based on feedback from area stakeholders and internal technical reviews in preparation of a July 17, 2017 CRA Board presentation.

The South Main Street Project strives to develop an improvement strategy for the South Main Street corridor which supports existing businesses, attracts new investments, and prepares the corridor for future needs and additional users.

The adopted 5 Guiding Principles that shaped these documents are as follows:

1. SAFETY + CONNECTIVITY

South Main Street currently functions as a corridor that serves businesses, motorists, transit riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Stakeholders voiced a desire to evaluate changes that could improve connectivity and safety for all current and future users passing through or arriving to the area. Respondents noted vehicular speeds and the width of the roadway as considerable challenges to the comfort and safety of the corridor for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclist.

2. PARKING OPPORTUNITIES

Existing on-street parking opportunities should be preserved and increased wherever possible to support adjacent businesses, park and trails. An increase in well-designed publically available on-street parking could contribute to better access, increased safety, and the overall success of the area, while also serving business owners, Depot Park, and the network of nearby rail trails.

3. ACCESSIBILITY + FLOW + BALANCE

Stakeholders advocated for the efficient flow of traffic and accessibility to adjacent businesses along the corridor. The design should include creative and functional strategies that balance the operational requirements of existing businesses with the desire for calming traffic and facilities that support pedestrians and bicyclists.

4. DESTINATION + IDENTITY

Make South Main Street a place to go to, not just a place to go through. Stakeholders expressed a desire for amenities, activities, and destinations throughout the area that would give South Main a unique, brand-able identity celebrating its distinctive character. By leveraging its close proximity to Downtown, the Power District, University of Florida, and established residential neighborhoods, South Main has the potential to attract increased interest for existing and future business opportunities.

5. VISUAL CHARACTER

Survey respondents cited the vast amounts of pavement, lack of trees and greenspace, existing utility lines, and condition of some properties as being contributors to the general negative appearance of the corridor. The community supports small, coordinated aesthetic changes, accompanied by targeted physical improvements, to increase the visual appeal, character, function, and overall attractiveness of the area.

Documents Available for Download: 

Milestones Accomplished:

+ Stakeholder, Property Owner, & Business Owner Outreach
+ Façade Facelift Initiative Launch
+ Walking Audits & Existing Pedestrian/Bicycle Counts
+ Façade Facelift Initiative Launch
+ Walking Audits & Existing Pedestrian/Bicycle Counts
+ Community Design Charrette’s
+ Approval of Guiding Principles
+ Survey & Site Analysis
+ Approval of Basis-of-Design Cross-Sections
+ Approval of 30% Schematic Plans

Next Steps: Next steps include completing a Basis of Design, refining project scope, design and construction documents, scheduling, cost estimating, and phasing plans.

Contact Information

Andrew Meeker, CRA Project Manager 352-393-8205
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Last updated on 7/6/2017