A Small City’s Quest for A Walkable Downtown

The city of Yakima, Washington, is exploring ideas to convert two large surface parking lots occupying valuable land in the city’s downtown core into a pedestrian friendly district.
March 13, 2014, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Brett VA

Tuck Russell reports on the saga of Sean Hawkins, economic development manager of Yakima, who had to navigate the city’s byzantine archive of old plans for the downtown district in an effort to find the legal ground for the city’s proposed redevelopment plans.

“The new plan envisions a pedestrian friendly downtown featuring a central plaza with infrastructure for events, and an adjacent mercado. It also calls for the calming of Yakima Avenue by replacing some of its lanes for bikes and trolleys, rerouting some of the through auto traffic to nearby streets.”

As it turns out, Hawkins discovered that a lot of the ideas for a walkable downtown in this small city of less that 100,000 had been considered before. “A lot of these ideas that are coming forward, they're not new. They've been sitting around there before, but the execution and implementation of them – for whatever reason – just never occurred” says Hawkins in the story.

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Published on Friday, March 7, 2014 in Crosscut.com
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