A vision for Vine Street

In 2005, then Vice Mayor Scanlon appointed me chairman of a group to study the possibilities of a linear park along Vine Street.  We created a report Vine street final prez, presented it to the council and then……crickets.   The idea was not warmly embraced by the next administration, who opted for the weak street enhancements that were done during last summer.

But, if you haven’t noticed, those enhancements have done nothing to make the Vine Street corridor any more appealing to people or new businesses.   The money that was spent on the street will have to serve us for a while, but don’t lose sight of the possibilities over the medium term.
Planners in Seoul ripped up this monstrous freeway in their downtown….

and replaced it with this….

The sky didn’t fall.   The city got healthier and friendlier.

We can do this, if we had the nerve.



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4 responses to “A vision for Vine Street

  1. Danny

    I admittedly gave a quick cursory morning read before heading out on the Kentucky for a paddle, but it seems that the project as written presumes a remade, re-greened Vine Street will attract businesses and a sense of creative class vibrancy.

    What businesses are imagined to be located on a re-greened Vine Street? It seems to me the big design problem with Vine is that huge buildings dominate the street (particularly the north side of Vine), many of them presenting a ‘back door’ entry to their Main Street faces. These huge buildings don’t provide many retail opportunities for Vine to be re-done commercially, at least in terms of providing space for the sort of small local business owner model that operates as the ideal for re-development of the corridor (and with CentrePoint’s demolition, even less of that sort of building stock exists). That’s a more difficult problem to fix I’d guess. How would re-developing Vine do this?

    • I think the thing is to fix the corridor environmentally – return it to a more ecologically sensitive state – then I see the huge gaps in the area being plugged by small businesses, not so much in the buildings, which could happen over the longer term, but by true independents who market directly from the banks of the Town Branch – food vendors, crafts, etc…This area was once called the “commons” – so should it be again….

      Those buildings are hulks whose only futures lie in adaptive reuse for both the type of use (residential) as well as energy and water consumption.

      I dont see this having anything to do with “creative class” although I do suppose that those type of folks would like this too

      • Danny

        The creative class came from the document you linked to, I think, which alluded to it by name, deed and Richard Florida quotation. I didn’t read it closely, though, so maybe that was a mis-read, and I completely agree with you about the environmental reclamations. As a general rule, I’m all for ripping up streets, at this point pretty much wherever they lay.

  2. I can certainly agree that something more needs to be done to Vine St., and more greenery would really help but not as much as reactivating the ground levels of the existing office buildings. These office spaces may be mostly occupied but they, like a six lane highway at off peak, are a large waste of space most of the time. Sit some time and watch the entrance to the PNC (gold) Bank Building – is this the type of pedestrian activity that we want in our downtown? Look at the wasted space in the plaza area in front of the door _ this used to be well shaded by trees, with benches and still have space for other amenities. Consider the spaciousness of the two story atrium of the lobby – could they ever be that busy so as to fill that space? Does not the majority of their clientele use the upper level parking and access the building from High St.? This is just one of the many buildings along Vine St. which could use a ground floor makeover. Downtown retail has been crowded out by the “weeds” of corporate ostentation, and the ground(level) need to be tilled up just a bit.

    That is my vision for Vine St.

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