Downtown Longmont Alley Redevelopment and Activation Plan
City of Longmont, CO
The redevelopment of city alleyways into pedestrian-friendly destinations and “backdoor” environments for retail streets is a relatively recent trend in many American cities as communities look to capitalize on underutilized city spaces to enhance the public realm environment. The City of Longmont, in association with the Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) saw renovation of their downtown alleys as a way to further develop multi-modal transportation and provide new business opportunities for downtown properties.
In the core of downtown Longmont, the majority of the parking areas are located in the blocks east and west of Main Street – often making the back door the first impression visitors have as they walk through the alleys and breezeways to reach Main Street. Previously, the alleys existed as utilitarian corridors with overhead electric lines, visible trash receptacles and access for delivery vehicles. These areas were creating an inadvertent barrier for customers to reach Main Street as well as the cross-neighborhood pedestrian traffic.
To address these issues the City of Longmont and the LDDA undertook a project with Centro to improve the downtown alleys. This project focused on the six alley segments located between 3rd Avenue and 6th Avenue on either side of Main Street and addressed drainage issues, utilities, alley pavement within the 20 feet wide alley right-of-way, trash enclosures and creating a sense of place and identity for Downtown. Centro led on the stakeholder engagement and on identifying highest and best uses of the alleys and how to incentivize private businesses to utilize the alleys once redeveloped.
In 2012, demolition and construction began on the East side of Main Street. Enhancements included utility line burrial, additional light poles, ornamental pavers with increased drainage capacity as well as construction of common trash enclosures. Parking lots were also upgraded throughout the process. Construction on the west side will begin early 2015. The LDDA has already begun to see a catalyst effect of the project, as many property owners have improved their alley entrances.