New Buffalo’s Whittaker Street provides access to the city’s first-class beach. Long-overlooked, the street had little curb appeal with nothing but a sea of asphalt to greet visitors, and was in need of major infrastructure repairs. The street design catered to automobiles, had narrow sidewalks that were not conducive to commerce, and aged utilities that were failing. Abonmarche was selected to plan and lead the redevelopment effort.
As Abonmarche designed for the necessary infrastructure improvements, it worked with city officials and residents to create a vision for the redevelopment of the community’s central business district (CBD).
A bold plan was developed which called for converting Whittaker Street from angled parking to parallel parking, creating wide sidewalks and complete streets pushing parking to the surrounding streets to create more activity and bringing additional attention to opportunities in the less developed areas of the CBD.
With substantial elevation differences between many storefronts and the street, ramps with sitting walls and planting beds were employed to provide access without disrupting flow on the sidewalks. The landscape architecture plan added natural beauty to the project along with functionality for today’s technology driven culture.
The end result is an inviting, vibrant downtown which is a gathering point to complement New Buffalo’s beach area.
Abonmarche delivered five project tenants:
- Create a year-round economy for the downtown area.
- Improve accessibility and pedestrian safety.
- Develop a plan which would not adversely impact overall parking availability in the downtown area.
- Create a sense of place and a destination for residents.
- Improve infrastructure (water, sanitary and storm systems)
Through a public input process, the community aligned on the project’s direction and resulted in an inviting, vibrant downtown that created space for all users, while increasing overall parking – which was critical for the community’s tourism based economy.
- Utility Repairs & Improvements
- Public Engagement Process
- Sidewalks Designed to Increase Pedestrian Traffic
- Ramps and Sitting Walls
- Creation of a Commerce- Friendly Environment
- Low Maintenance Waterfront Appropriate Streetscape Amenities and Landscaping