Consultants have taken the wraps off a draft master plan for the area around 34th Street and Central Avenue, including a proposed name for the district.
The 275-acre district that runs along 34th Street from 22nd Avenue North to 3rd Avenue South would be called “Union Central” under the plan unveiled by consultants with Kimley-Horn Tuesday night.
The master plan also outlines recommendations for improving public safety, transportation and green spaces in the district and for dealing with land development and existing structures.
More than 200 names were suggested, said Jared Schneider, a transportation and urban planning professional at Kimley-Horn.
“Central Avenue has been a dividing line for so many years, a racial dividing line. It’s a barrier to try to get across 34th Street. There are six neighborhoods within this area. How do we join them together? That’s the Union part,” Schneider said. “We kept hearing comments on Central. It’s the center of the city. It’s the midpoint.”
He displayed some preliminary ideas for the district brand, featuring an art deco motif.
Here are some of the other recommendations included in the draft plan.
Public safety. Increase lighting, enforce maintenance of vacant buildings and land, implement “crime prevention through environmental design” guidance for new development.
Transportation, including for transit, bicycles and pedestrians. Indicate 34th Street as a priority transit corridor and/or future premium transit service. Construct and coordinate with Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Construct proposed pedestrian crossing and facilities as part of the St. Pete Complete Streets network. Add bike racks to businesses, transit and parks. Fill sidewalk gaps. Incentivize businesses to install canopy trees along sidewalks and paths.
Greenspace. Seek out opportunities for private and public pocket parks and parklets. Consolidate and close driveways to create spaces for green infrastructure and landscaping.
Urban form. Preserve historic structures and offer incentives for renovation to preserve district identity. Encourage a diverse mix of housing including multi-family and different housing types and sizes for people of all ages and income levels.
District definition. Find opportunities for murals on blank walls. Create a Business Improvement District. Add neighborhood street signs and wayfinding. Plan events such as Open Streets, markets and festivals, and food truck ralleys on the surface parking lots that take up 40 percent of the land in the district.
City Council member Amy Foster urged the 100 people at the Tuesday night meeting to stay involved and continue to provide feedback.
“We don’t want this to be a plan that just sits on a shelf,” Foster said. “Gary [Jones, economic development officer] can include some of these things in his budget, but they don’t always stay in the budget because we have lots of competing interests in the city. When we get to that process, we are going to need your voices to help my colleagues and the administration continue to make sure these plans are rolled out and implemented.”
The draft master plan is set to come before the City Council Dec. 12, after reviews earlier in November by the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area and the Community Planning and Preservation Committee.
See the full Oct. 22 presentation by Kimley-Horn here.