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2013 Award of Merit - Greenville Downtown Streetscape Design
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Project Category: Planning and Analysis

Project Name: Greenville Downtown Streetscape Design

Project Location: Greenville, South Carolina 29601

Date of Completion: July 1, 2010

Landscape Architect:  Donald G. Wishart, RLA, AECOM Technical Services, Inc.


Owner: City of Greenville, State of South Carolina

As the result of a need identified in their 2008 Downtown Greenville Master Plan, the downtown streets need to be re-designed to better accommodate new development, transit, pedestrians, bicyclists, parking and landscape.  Through this Downtown Streetscape Design Master Plan, Greenville is turning nondescript and vehicular dominant roads into successful streets that accommodate all users, create a strong sense of place, foster economic development and improve quality of life.  The scope of the project was to provide a streetscape master plan and schematic level planning, design, and engineering services for nearly ten miles of downtown streets. 

Downtown Streetscape Design – Establishing a Sustainable Framework Plan

The planning process was based on a collaborative approach with City staff and the public.  In order to help educate the City staff and public on the fundamentals of walkability and livable transportation solutions, the project kicked off with a walking audit of the downtown streets.  The assessment of the downtown streets also included extensive field observations to understand existing character, role and exactly how the streets functioned over the course of a day.  The inventory and analysis included a photographic inventory, a survey of cross-section dimensional criteria and a traffic analysis using both field observations and traffic count data. 

The approach was to rebalance the streets, provide livable transportation solutions, tame the streets, and address the needs for sidewalks, pedestrian accessibility, street trees and landscaping, roadway intersection redesign, traffic calming measures and reduction or elimination of traffic lanes.  The initial phase of the streetscape design work focused on the role of the downtown streets, how they would need to function and organizing them into conceptual typologies to create a Framework Plan.  This Framework Plan addressed four critical influences of design: environment, culture, society and economy, and became a primary driver in the planning process. 

The Framework Plan and Streetscape Typologies form the backbone of the Streetscape Design Master Plan.  The Plan also includes sidewalk spatial standards, intersection redesign approaches, design standards for components of the streets, LID stormwater design standards, a furnishing and streetscape materials palette and a street tree master plan. The strategy to re-structure the downtown streets and reallocate space for a more balanced solution also included a more sustainable "green streets” approach to managing stormwater by adding pervious green space into each block in the form of stormwater planters that will capture stormwater runoff and allow it to percolate naturally, as plants and soil help to reduce pollutants.

Street Identity - Defining Character and Cultural Richness

Two new design elements will bring character and richness to the downtown: a series of "Green Threads” that will reconnect residents and visitors to the regional environment and to the Reedy River that runs through Downtown Greenville and a "cultural trail” that will provide an urban multi-use trail to reconnect the downtown cultural campus, Heritage Green and the downtown arena, the Bi-Lo Center, to the historic Main Street. 

The Cultural Trail, reconnecting the north side of Downtown Greenville, was redesigned to balance the vehicular and pedestrian realms. It will redefine the street spatially, provide a walkable experience to and from parking facilities and create a new community social and cultural venue.  The Green Threads, conceived as an expression across all modes of the street, will replace the urban fabric with micro-level green spaces that will enlighten, entertain and provide reminders of place, regional character and environmental awareness.

Greenville is thinking long-term and working diligently toward a thoughtful, successful vision for its future. The Greenville Downtown Streetscape Master Plan will serve as a detailed road map for continuing that success throughout downtown over the course of time.  The design and implementation of the Downtown Streetscape Design improvements will be a dramatic step in this effort.  


Landscape Architecture: Pete Sechler, RLA, AICP, Donald G. Wishart, RLA, Paul Moore, PE, David Hoppes, RLA, LEED AP, Kody Smith, Ken Ray, RLA, Joel Mann, AICP, Dan Burden, AECOM Technical Services, Inc. 

Civil Engineer: John Connelly, PE, LEED AP, Britt Peters & Associates, Inc. 

Local Landscape Architect: J. Parks McLeod, RLA, McLeod Landscape Architects, LLC

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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.