I’ll Take Cars with my Plaza, Please

I attended the Design Concept Open House for the “3 Downtown Parks” project yesterday. The project is about designing the new park on top of the parking structure being built next to the Fox Tower (aka Park Block 5), updating O’Bryant Square and thinking about what to do with Ankeny Park on Burnside (no funds to build anything at Ankeny yet, we’re just visioning – there is some budget, probably not enough, to build the other two next year).

I attended the Design Concept Open House for the “3 Downtown Parks” project yesterday. The project is about designing the new park on top of the parking structure being built next to the Fox Tower (aka Park Block 5), updating O’Bryant Square and thinking about what to do with Ankeny Park on Burnside (no funds to build anything at Ankeny yet, we’re just visioning – there is some budget, probably not enough, to build the other two next year).

While the whole process was fun (including a lecture on the history of public spaces in Europe and the U.S. last night), one aspect particularly drew my attention. In Europe, public plazas often go right up to the building faces, in fact the buildings open out onto the plaza as part of their design. We don’t see that much in the U.S. For example, with Pioneer Court House Square, that simply wasn’t possible because the square was bordered by 3 major transit streets plus Broadway.

But it’s very possible with these parks. The idea would be to include both Park and 9th (for Park Block 5 and O’Bryant) within the park, by creating curbless streets. Cars would still be able to use the streets, and park, but the feeling would be very different than having a street separated from the park. This should change the way the buildings relate to the park as they redevelop over time.

So I strongly supported this notion on my comment card, and encourage others to do so!

11 Responses to I’ll Take Cars with my Plaza, Please