Here's a rendering of the future view from this same spot.
What's different? In the future view we see the effect of our new Downtown Code. We have 10 story buildings with the option of an arcade over the sidewalk that has 3 stories of habitable space above it.
Do you get the feeling you are in a canyon? How much sky is lost? Where are the trees? Does this look pedestrian friendly? Does it approach a "human scale?"
How does this compare to the original vision from our Downtown Master Plan?
Here's that vision as presented by Duany (different view, this is from Main and Palm looking east).
Again, what's different there? First there are no arcades out to the edge of the sidewalk, second there is a step back at the fourth story of the building and third there are trees and awnings. The lack of arcades and the fourth story step back significantly reduces the canyon effect and allows more light. The presence of awnings and trees provides much needed visual diversity - the scene is softened and less harsh. The streetscape is closer to a human scale and presents a much more inviting and friendly feeling.
We think the city planners and decision makers will make a big mistake if they continue to allow the option of including arcades either with or without habitable space above the sidewalk. We need the sidewalk space for air, light and trees. Trees and awnings provide adequate protection from harsh sun and rain when present. During winter months the warmth from the sun is welcomed by pedestrians. Most importantly the human scale of trees and awnings enhance the pedestrian experience.
We urge our city planners and decision makers to remove the arcade option from the downtown code.