Envisioning the College Parkway Community
October 27, 2015
In a recent post we introduced the concept of Placemaking. It’s a rare luxury to be able to apply the concept on a blank slate basis, given our historical automobile-based ethos and the resultant multilane highway/strip mall/parking lot-centered model of urban growth. We at EnSite, however, don’t like to refuse an interesting challenge.
The title of this post is intentionally a little provocative. As it currently stands, College Parkway offers little that resembles community cohesion. It features efficient automotive transit from Cleveland Avenue to Cape Coral and points between. Businesses have popped up on either side of the thoroughfare to take advantage of the central Fort Myers location. Some, rather than benefiting from the volume, have become victims to the nonsensical traffic patterns including u-turns and the one-way approach and exit of their parking lots. There are pockets of communities, including housing complexes, major office buildings and the campus of Florida Southwestern State College, but these are isolated by the constraint effected by a lack of human scale in the planning process.
Attitudes and planning philosophy have changed since College Parkway came into being, while the population of Southwest Florida and volume of road use continues to rise. Therefore the time is right to take on the challenges we identified above as opportunities. Our Shellie Johnson recently presented on the College Parkway Community Redevelopment Plan, which incorporates this vision:
“Recognizing the importance of College Parkway as a significant transportation corridor and understanding the need to maintain its function while expanding economic opportunities within the College Parkway Community, the College Parkway Corridor will become a mixed-use, walkable, vibrant and diverse destination where employment, residential, commercial and civic uses are integrated with public spaces to support a local economy, encourage walking and bicycling, support civic interaction, and provide a spectrum of housing choices to address a diverse population.”
If you live, learn, work, travel or have a business interest along the Parkway, you have a stake in this redevelopment process. We’d like to hear from you! Please email Shellie at ShellieJ@en-site.com with your feedback.