King Street design wins International Community Places Award

This is a press release from Kitchener City Hall. The MHBPNA Blog really likes how downtown Kitchener has been re-developed. It’s pretty cool.

KITCHENER – The City of Kitchener and the IBI Group were recently awarded a prestigious Community Places Award at the International Making Cities Livable Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

The award recognized King Street’s sustainable streetscape, as well as the innovative design for flexible, summer/winter sidewalks, which have succeeded in drawing more people downtown.

Other features of the new streetscape include:
Wider sidewalks;
Flexible parking options with Euro-style removable bollards which improve the core’s capacity to host more special events;
Improved lighting;
Myriad of environmental features, including more than 120 new street trees, sustainable planters that filter storm water before it enters the sewers;
Additional bike rack and bus stops.

“We are delighted that our newly redesigned King Street has been selected for the 2010 Community Places Award,” said Cory Bluhm, Kitchener’s manager of downtown community development. “The city is not just building a street; it’s building a vibrant people place.”

To be eligible for the award, projects were required to meet the following criteria:

Well designed
Provide a beautiful addition to the fabric of the city
Carefully planned and constructed
Contribute to the character of the place
Improve the overall quality of the urban environment
In addition, this year’s submissions also had to show a strong contribution to bringing people – youth in particular – back downtown.

So far this year, events held downtown have enjoyed record attendance. In fact, since 2003, the number of pedestrians on King Street alone has doubled during a typical day.

“This project has also re-energized existing businesses; many of them are looking at ways they can contribute to the new look and feel of the downtown,” Bluhm said.

The International Making Cities Livable Conference hosts hundreds of the world’s leading planners, architects, urban thinkers and community builders from North America and Europe. Previous winners of this award include: Jamieson Square in Portland, Oregon; Lakeside Master Plan in Chicago, Illinois; and hTo Park in Toronto. For more information about this award, please visit: www.livablecities.org and search 2010 design awards.

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