By Brian Youpatoff
In May 2013, a Notice to Proceed was issued to Atkins from the Florida-Alabama TPO to assist in the development of the Main Street Corridor Management Plan (CMP). Atkins and TPO staff worked closely with the City of Pensacola and other stakeholders to develop the CMP.
The study segment is Main Street from Barrancas Avenue to Clubbs Street, which is approximately .77 miles long. The purpose of the CMP is to identify operational and access management improvements and priorities needed to support all modes of transportation including roadway capacity, public transit and bicycle and pedestrian movements. In addition, the Scope of Services for this project called for including conceptual planning level examples of possible “gateway” concepts that can be utilized to aesthetically enhance the corridor and aid in downtown revitalization efforts. The Scope of Services also required Atkins to coordinate with the City of Pensacola to determine if Complete Street concepts could be implemented for the corridor.
Main Street is a vital east-west corridor located within the City of Pensacola. Early in the 20th century, the corridor was primarily dominated by industrial uses centering around the Alabama and Gulf Coast railroad line. While retaining some of its industrial uses, in the past few decades the corridor has increased its density of single family residential as well as commercial uses.
To achieve the objectives of the Main Street CMP, a number of efforts were undertaken including: a review of previous studies; an assessment of existing corridor conditions (including existing traffic conditions, land use characteristics of the corridor, crash types and locations, and roadway access); and a projection of future corridor traffic conditions. Finally, Complete Streets concepts that will improve the function and aesthetics of the Main Street Corridor were developed and analyzed. Throughout the study, public involvement and input was solicited, and information about the CMP was disseminated through presentations to civic associations, two public workshops, local official’s workshops, as well as a mailing list.
The term “complete streets” is often used to define roadways that function in a multi-modal fashion, safely accommodating automobiles, transit vehicles and riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Streets are not just for moving people and vehicles, but also often serve as places for commerce and recreation. Complete streets also are compatible with the surrounding community, and support adjacent land uses and activities, leading some to use the term context-sensitive streets instead. Four Complete Streets concepts were created for the Main Street CMP to address the need to revitalize the Corridor to attract more businesses and individual users; to encourage other modes of transportation in addition to personal vehicles; and to increase the aesthetic appeal of the Corridor. The four concepts for modifying Main Street in order to make it more of a Complete Street include:
- Concept 1: Constructing a shared-use path on one side of Main Street;
- Concept 2: Constructing sidewalks on both sides of Main Street;
- Concept 3: Constructing buffered bike lanes on both sides of Main Street; and
- Concept 4: Implementation of a continuous center turn lane.
Another recommended improvement in the Main Street CMP is a westbound left turn lane at Main Street and A Street. This improvement will help to improve intersection efficiency as well as increase safety by reducing the potential for rear-end collisions by vehicles attempting to turn left at the intersection into Joe Patti’s. Also, a westbound left turn lane and eastbound left turn lane are recommended at Main Street and E Street. These improvements will help to improve intersection efficiency as well as increase safety by reducing the potential for rear-end collisions.
Gateway concepts were also recommended within the Main Street CMP. Gateways are important identity and entry statements for all types of developments from historic districts, city boundaries, large planned developments and unique streetscape corridors. The gateway’s elemental function is to act as a transition between areas and as an entrance. Moreover, the development of a gateway introduces the design theme and sets the tone through its design, scale, use of materials, font type and lighting. For Main Street, the location of the gateway at the west end of Main Street where it intersects with Barrancas Avenue is an important step in establishing that first impression and overall unique identity for the corridor.
The Florida-Alabama TPO adopted the Main Street CMP in August 2014 but this is not the last CMP scheduled for study. The next CMP for study is North Palafox Street from US 29 to Nine Mile Road. Past completed CMPs and full recommendations from the Main Street CMP are located here.