Monday, June 23, 2008

The Core Idea

Whenever you have a limited pedestrian zone, and another, slightly distant, limited pedestrian zone, you're going to generate X pedestrians. If you connect them you'll generate 5-to-10X pedestrians. There's the incredible geometric relationship when you attach small systems into larger systems. The amount of pedestrians you generate is a geometrical outcome.
Jeff Speck, speaking to the Memphis Regional Design Center
about the walkability disconnect between
Autozone Park and Beale Street

This was my favorite idea from Speck's talk, simple and powerful.

Beale Street CrowdIt should be at the center of all of Downtown's planning. It should be in every presentation that a Downtown leader makes.

Making walkable the spaces between Autozone Park and Beale Street, Beale Street and South Main, South Main and Main, and all of the above to the Bluff Walk and Tom Lee Park will produce the geometric outcome. And anything that disrupts the walkability, like the MLGW berm or the Main/Beale parking lot or the ill-advised Beale Street Landing surface parking lot, blocks that outcome.

Stop dreaming of the mythic East Memphis customer who would come Downtown if only there were convenient parking.

Start looking across the parking lot at the very many who are already here, at Beale Street, at Autozone Park, at South Main, at Tom Lee Park.

Plan how you will get them across the soon-to-be-formerly dull spaces, and how you will entertain the crowds that follow.

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