CNU ILLINOIS CHARTER AWARDS

BEST STREET

 

River Street Shared Street

Batavia, IL

 

Altamanu, Inc.

 

The River Street Streetscape project was originally identified as a key opportunity to promote downtown revitalization in the Batavia Downtown Streetscape Master Plan. Though the street was in disrepair this section of the street had existing restaurants and some fine historic buildings that could, with assistance, form a fledgling downtown dining and entertainment destination; The River District.

 

The project is strategically situated between two bridges across the Fox River. The design team saw the opportunity to create a new public space that could link to City Hall and festival park on the other side of the river and draw visitors and residents across the river to a revitalized destination. 

 

 

City staff and representatives called for economic revitalization. The public called for something different that would draw attention to the downtown. All saw the need for a gathering space on the east side of the river; however, the project had to be within the public right-of-way.

Working with the community and City staff, Altamanu redesigned the street as a unique shared public space within the downtown core. It offers the flexibility to be used as low volume trafficked street or to be reconfigured for large-scale public and civic events. 

 

                                

Existing Conditions (Above and below)

The new streetscape is curbless and a continuous plane of brick pavers stretches from building face to building face creating a visually and physically unified space. The streetscape design, gateway arch, unique street furniture and the high quality materials used throughout, all help to announce this street as something distinct. The incorporation of the work of local artists incorporated into gates and railings provide interest. Trees, planters and custom designed benches invite users to linger. Businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity with sidewalk dining to further enliven the public realm. 

                                

The street is designed for maximum flexibility. With the exception of light poles, bicycle racks, and in ground planters for trees, all other streetscape elements can be moved by the City for either temporary events or to accommodate the future usage and needs as the area continues to develop. Those elements that are in fixed locations were carefully placed to allow for maximum flexibility. Each storefront is afforded space for an outdoor café or other outdoor commercial use with impeding public use of the space. The bollards are moveable and may be placed at either end of the street to close the street off from vehicular traffic during events.

Green solutions were incorporated wherever the opportunity allowed. All street trees are given copious amounts of planting soil to allow for large and healthy mature street trees. This is achieved through the use of raised planters in conjunction with below grade soil vaults which expand the planting soil accessible to the trees underneath the paved surfaces. Native and adapted planting species were used in all planting areas and permeable pavers are used at the low point of the site to allow storm water infiltration.