Posts tagged with "Riverfronts":

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New Orleans property swap may yield largest public riverfront in the U.S.

On October 26, a historic deal was implemented in New Orleans: the Port of New Orleans (PNO) and the Public Belt Railroad (PBR) swapped riverfront properties, unlocking a key stretch of land to what may soon be the largest uninterrupted public riverfront in the U.S. In the swap, PNO took ownership of a stretch of railroad along the Mississippi River and PBR took ownership of two large wharves–Esplanade Avenue and Governor Nicholls Street Wharves. PBR is owned by the City of New Orleans, which now plans to redevelop both wharves as public space (à la Mandeville Wharf). This redevelopment will connect two existing riverfront parks, Bywater's Crescent Park and the French Quarter's Woldenburg Park. This linkage is key in the long-term vision to develop the entire New Orleans riverfront as one contiguous public parkway, as detailed by Eskew Dumez + Ripple's 2008 Reinventing the Crescent plan. In a press conference on October 27, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced several major riverfront redevelopments, including the keystone wharf redevelopments. The wharves themselves have been allocated $15 million. The other developments announced are generally focused on improving existing public amenities along the Mississippi riverfront from the French Quarter to Bywater neighborhoods. They include a $7.5 million renovation of Spanish Plaza, a $400 million renovation of the World Trade Center at the Four Seasons hotel, a new $37 million terminal for the Canal Street Ferry, a new $7.3 million pedestrian bridge over the railway to the ferry terminal, $6 million in park improvements for Woldenberg Park in the French Quarter, $3 million in green space improvements for part of the Riverwalk, and $31.2 million for expansions to Crescent Park. Many of these projects are ongoing. After a series of major floods this summer, water experts in New Orleans are paying close attention to how the city is spending on water management. "The challenge in New Orleans is that we can't rub two nickels together to wrap up our water infrastructure and drainage problems," said Ramiro Diaz, a designer at architecture firm Waggonner and Ball, in a call with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). "Overall, I think it's a positive development, though. People have been waiting for these riverfront projects for years." Waggonner and Ball were the lead designers behind the Greater New Orleans Water Plan. According to Eskew Dumez + Ripple principal Steve Dumez, his firm is now looking into implementing the western end of the Reinventing the Crescent plan. This would open up riverfront property around the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, extending the parkway even further.
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Newark development-oriented rezoning fiercely disputed in public meetings

At a Newark City Council meeting last Wednesday, tensions ran high as residents loudly protested the Council's discussion of new zoning proposals intended to increase density in the city. Among the measures on the table was a riverfront rezoning proposal that would allow for developments up to 40 stories high in some areas. Another would allow construction in the Ironbound (an unincorporated community near Penn Station) to rise to 12 stories. Both areas include a good deal of vacant property that would be redeveloped as high-rise buildings if these proposals pass. By the end of the meeting, the riverfront zoning proposal was moved to the next step of approval, while the Ironbound proposal was deferred. A separate inclusionary zoning ordinance devoted to incorporating low- to middle-income housing in new developments was also deferred, despite Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's months-long pursuit to push it forward. It would require buildings with 30 or more units to devote 20 percent or more for low- and middle-income residents, or contribute the funds required to build those units in other projects. Mayor Baraka expressed his concerns that the two separate measures – the go-ahead for new development and the ordinance promoting affordable housing – would be passed at separate times, allowing developers to forgo any responsibility to set aside affordable housing in the new buildings. "I do not think we should pass anything if we can't pass everything," he remarked at the meeting. The Council's audience agreed. A group of residents were escorted out of the hall by police. https://twitter.com/karen_yi/status/910745981788008448 Community activists like Nancy Zak (of the Ironbound Community Corporation) told NJ.com that she felt this move on the city's part was a "betrayal" to the locals who had worked for years with the city and developers on Newark's master plan and its riverfront development plan.
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Kansas City officials unveil plans to redevelop the city’s riverfront

The Kansas City Port Authority (Port KC) revealed its master plan to redevelop the city’s riverfront into a live-work-play area last month. Despite roadblocks during the early phase of development, the 80-acre Berkley Riverfront Park redevelopment project plans to make the area into an attractive, high-density mixed-use destination. Union, a mixed-use development by Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties, broke ground last year and is on track to open next summer with more than 400 apartments and six acres of retail space. Once completed, the park will have new pedestrian and bikeway paths and have spaces for hosting events like Kansas City PrideFest, Riverfront Fitness, and KC Nanobrew Festival, according to a Port KC press release. The annual July 4 Riverfest is already held in the park. Other amenities and attractions will be built along the water, including a dog park that is slated to be built next year. The city is also looking into the possibility of expanding the streetcar line from the Downtown River Market to the Riverfront for better public access, with a feasibility study coming out in the next few weeks.
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Is the River Revitalization Trend Skipping Youngstown?

Across the country cities are revamping formerly industrial riverfronts. Plans are underway for Philadelphia's Schuylkill, the Mississippi in Minneapolis, Town Branch in Lexington, and in downtown Chicago to reclaim urban rivers for mutual goals of ecology and urbanism. That hasn’t yet caught on in Youngstown, Ohio. Sean Posey takes a look at the situation along Youngstown's Mahoning River for Rust Wire. In northeast Ohio, where the twin legacies of sprawl and industrial decline have constrained economic growth, there are of course budget issues. But as state and federal dollars fund environmental remediation projects along the Mahoning, Posey sees an opportunity:

"Water bodies are prime physical assets for cities. In a report entitled Restoring Prosperity to Ohio’s Cities, the Brookings Institute called for creating statewide “Walkable Waterfronts” initiatives in Ohio. The report mentions Youngstown specifically… If at all feasible, creative uses for recreation and economic development should be considered for the downtown riverfront."

The nearby city of Warren has set an example with paths for pedestrian and cyclists, as well as a concert venue along the river. Meanwhile, he says, Youngstown has proposed parking lots. Remediation is a critical first step, but cleaning up the river itself is only the beginning.  
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Vives les Plages! Paris Rethinks its Riverbanks by Banishing Cars

The "reconquest" of the Seine's riverside expressways will be ushered in by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, following a long battle with Nicolas Sarkozy's recently ousted right-wing government. Continuous two-lane motorways have severed Paris from the banks of the Seine, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, since Georges Pompidou opened them in 1967 under the slogan “Paris must adapt to the car.” Delanoë has made it his mission to reverse Paris' auto-centric planning mentality, increasing the number of bicycle and bus lanes in the city while implementing bike- and electric car-share schemes. The pedestrianization of the Seine also follows Delanoë’s Paris-Plages program, started in 2002, that transforms small stretches of riverbank into sand-covered beaches complete with palm trees and deckchairs for one month each summer. Starting next month, a stretch of road on the Right Bank starting at the Hôtel de Ville and running eastward a little more than half a mile will be narrowed and additional speed-controlling traffic lights and pedestrian crossings will be installed. Pedestrian corridors and bicycle lanes will be added to the road, along with bars and cafes (some of them on floating barges and islands). The next stage, to be unveiled next spring, will replace the road completely for a one-and-a-half-mile stretch of the Left Bank between the Musée d’Orsay and the Pont de l’Alma, creating an 11-acre park with volleyball courts, sundecks, and floating gardens. This corridor will be connected to the Right Bank by new pedestrian crossings at Debilly (adjacent the Eiffel Tower) and Jardins des Tuileries (adjacent the Louvre). It is expected these modifications will add only six minutes to the average commute while restoring access to the riverfront to Parisians and tourists alike.
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Detroit RiverWalk gets $44 Million from Feds and State

For many years much of Detroit’s riverfront was an industrial utility, characterized by derelict manufacturing sites. But efforts to reclaim public spaces on the waterfront have made considerable progress in recent years. Now a $44 million boost from the federal government and the state of Michigan ensures transformation along the Detroit River will continue. Planned projects include the redevelopment of Mount Elliott Park, improvements to Gabriel Richard Park, and an expansion of Detroit’s RiverWalk. The walk is currently not continuous between downtown and Belle Isle, but the new funding aims to close some of the gaps. $29 million comes in the form of federal highway money, while $15 million is from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Detroiters haven taken to Yelp in recent years to express their support for the ongoing project. “To the skeptical first time visitor of Detroit,” wrote one visitor from New York last year, “RiverWalk is a shining symbol of what the city is actually made of.”