Weatherford Democrat

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March 10, 2013

Survey: more ‘pedestrian-friendly’ downtown wanted

(Continued)

Dialogue needs to continue and steps to continue that action were suggested in the report, according to Karen Walz with Strategic Consulting Services, who provided the report and ran the Feb. 5 meeting. One included the development of people places, which many that attended said they would like to see more of. The city’s Main Street Program has developed quarterly festivals that have brought thousands into the downtown area.

Suggestions included having a mix of public parks, squares or plazas along with spaces (like dining patios, balconies or arcades) that are part of private development.

A second area for focus is on the planning, design, incentives and regulations that shape the built environment of downtown. Retaining historic assets is a part of this effort, but the input at this session suggests that historic preservation is strongly supported as part of an overall effort to also bring in new uses and investments that are compatible with the downtown’s traditional character. This input suggests that an initial focus might be on strategies to help owners preserve existing Events like the Main Street Program’s Weatherford Blooms Home

and Garden Fest attract people to downtown. Strategies to enhance the people places in downtown could build on these successes.

Future investments in downtown should be designed so they reuse existing buildings and create new structures that are compatible with downtown’s traditional character. The Planning and Development Department was encouraged to work with the Weatherford Economic Development Authority, now a city department, to investigate ways to do this.

Targeting economic development downtown was something the report stated could be done by using the WEDA and the Chamber to study market research.

Addressing truck and auto traffic around the downtown area was suggested. many participants voiced concerns about the problems created for pedestrians by the current alignment of streets in downtown, particularly around the “square.” A second major concern is the impact of large trucks and truck traffic. These detract from the experience of a person walking or biking in downtown; they also create congestion and potential safety issues. Realignment of downtown streets and the possibility of a bypass loop for some traffic were both mentioned as possible actions to address the proper role of vehicles in downtown.

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