Fixing a "Psychological Moat" That Divides a City

South Carolina members of the Urban Land Institute met in Columbia, South Carolina to offer suggestions for overhauling Assembly Street, a major downtown thoroughfare that separates distinct areas of the urban core.

The land institute's experts said the intersection of Assembly and Gervais streets is one of the most important, if not the most important intersection in the state. With the State House to the southeast, the Capitol Center – which houses the S.C. Department of Commerce – and Main Street to the northeast, and the Congaree Vista warehouse district to the west, it is crossed by not only every mover and shaker in the state, but also the nation when they come to do business here, the experts said.

But the experts described the 125-foot wide street as a daunting "psychological moat" that separates a resurgent Main Street from the bustling Congaree Vista warehouse district, and the University of South Carolina's central campus from its emerging Innovista research campus. Most city streets are 60 feet wide.

Panelists said the intersection should be transformed into an "urban moment" with public art, a water feature or a linear park created by narrowing the street to four lanes and widening and landscaping its median.

Full Story: Plan reinvents Assembly Street

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