|Columbia Pike, Annandale.|
These projects consist of a pop-up civic plaza and an “open streets event” to be implemented in spring 2018. These are two of the recommendations by an Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel, which was convened in July 2016 to develop short-term and medium-term strategies for revitalizing Annandale.
Since then, staff from the Office of Community Revitalization (OCR), in coordination with staff from the Department of Transportation, determined that an open streets event and a pop-up plaza would be most effective.
The open street event calls for a portion of Columbia Pike to be closed to traffic for a day – while pedestrians and bicyclists would be invited to experience the community in a new way.
The event would occur along a half-mile stretch of the road between Little River Turnpike and Evergreen Lane with several “programmed activity nodes” along the route, states the OCR proposal. Police would control traffic at the intersections and direct drivers to alternate roads.
The pilot pop-up plaza would serve as a civic gathering space in the county-owned property between the ACCA Child Development Center at 7200 Columbia Pike and the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department. It would have temporary, movable outdoor furnishings and activities, such as live entertainment and food trucks.
OCR estimates an open streets event in Annandale could attract 5,000 people. Surveys conducted at open street events in other communities have reported that more than 80 percent of survey respondents spent money at the event.
The county would survey participants to gauge the success of the open streets initiative in achieving certain place-making, transportation, health, and economic vitality goals. The surveys would capture metrics on the number, age, and diversity of participants, which street activities or programming people engaged in, feedback on the project and on the overall experience, and insights on sales activity from nearby businesses.
The establishment of a low-cost pop-up plaza could generate new revenue for the Park Authority through expanded programming offerings, the OCR states. Qualitative surveys would be conducted to gauge the success of the initiative in achieving place-making and economic vitality goals.
The lessons learned from these projects would provide a framework for replicating these strategies in other parts of the county.