|7.3.2 New Village: The Employment Based
Figure 7-27 illustrates possible locations for new villages that are created near employment centers. These opportunities exist along the interstate highway 77 corridor. According to the Richland County Comprehensive Land Use Update adopted in 1988 the theme for this area is to attract and support industrial and commercial development along I-77 and direct residential growth into planned areas where infrastructure is already in place or immediately expected. (Richland County Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update, The I-77 Corridor, Central Midlands Regional Planning Council, 1988 adopted, Page 35.) Some industrial and residential development has begun and offers an ideal setting for new mixed-use village development that could link the two. In addition, the area has access to water and sewer up to a point just south of Blythewood. Finally, an existing rail line paralleling I-77 about one mile to the east affords long-term public transit possibilities.
A. Strategies and Principles
Identify locations for potential rural centers
The most important part of the town or village to locate is its core area. The core area is that area defined by a ten minute walking radius around a central point. Locate the core area in such a way that affords linkages with existing or proposed employment and residential areas.
Locate the core area along two lane or multi-lane regional roads at points of high accessibility. These points could include a series of intersections or the potential for a series of intersections that offer dispersed connectivity to adjacent existing or proposed development
Locate core areas in such a way that they can incorporate existing commercial or mixed-use development.
Locate centers where the potential exists for future public transportation.
Locate centers on high ground at the edge of watersheds.
In order to avoid leapfrog development that eventually leads to sprawl, the town or village must have physical edges. The following principles should be used to create town and village edges. The vision plan recommends establishing physical edges to towns and villages through preserved open space, major roadways or other physical features.
Figure 7-28 illustrates the principles inherent in creating physical edges to towns and villages. The neighborhoods surrounding the town or village core constitute a catchment area for town and village services like shopping, post offices, perhaps churches, schools, and recreational facilities. This catchment area should be bounded in some way to differentiate it from the next town or village catchment area.
There are several opportunities to create such town and village edges within the rural areas of Richland County. The riparian corridors associated with streams and creeks are the first. These green fingers tend to be in low-lying areas, less suitable for building than higher ground. These areas should be marked as unbuildable and used as a basis for establishing edges. Another strategy for edgemaking is to incorporate existing open space or parks into the edge system. The final opportunity to create edges is to permanently preserve open space parcels adjacent to existing open space, parks, or riparian corridors in order to fill in the gaps and thus create a continuous open space edge. Permanently preserving these green community edges affords residents guaranteed open space access for hiking, bicycling, and other recreational activities. In addition it offers valuable continuity for wildlife species that require vegetated areas to thrive and circulate.
The act of entering or leaving a town or village should be celebrated by a gateway. Gateways should occur at all roadways and pathways that penetrate the green edge and enter the community. They should also mark the entrance into village center areas. They could take the form of a pylon, a bridge, a sign or some other physical device that signifies demarcation.
Coordinate new public facilities with village
Define transportation improvements.
In addition to connectivity, accommodations for pedestrians, bicycles, and transit are again common themes in the planning of towns. These ensure that local trips are not forced onto the main roads and that people have numerous route and mode options for traveling between point A and point B.
The sketched example of a new town along I-77 shows a commercial and residential district as it might develop adjacent to a light industrial corridor. In this case, the town center simply organizes inevitable growth forces into an efficient and sustainable pattern. The particular location that is sketched exists along a planned four-lane roadway with direct access to the interstate. Because the roadway is not yet built, many design leverages can be taken to make it appropriate for a town center, such as on-street parking, landscaping, wide sidewalks, bulb-outs, textured crosswalks, and transit accommodations.
The overall effect of the town in this example is to allow residents to locate near their jobs (i.e., the light industrial corridor) and within walking distance of neighborhood commercial areas. If enough such centers develop along the corridor, and if they become large enough to support premium transit service, then some sort of rail transit system might someday become feasible along the parallel railroad corridor.
Establish future block and parcel configuration
Block sizes should range from 200 to 600.
Strategically located blocks should be reserved for parks.
Strategically located sites within the blocks should be reserved for special civic uses such as town halls, religious buildings, theatres, libraries, and monuments.
The orientation of the overall block pattern should maximize solar access potential for energy use and gardens.
Block platting should afford the highest town or village densities within the core area, with densities gradually decreasing in areas away from the core.
In order to create the rich tapestry of activities typical of town and village centers, to facilitate walking access to these activities, and to create a village center residential population the majority of village development should be mixed-use. The village build-out program should be based upon the following principles:
All ground floor development should be retail and service; all upper level development should be either office or residential with preference given to residential.
With the town or village organized into future development blocks minimum and maximum development, site area coverage, and parking levels should be established for each block. For this strategy the following principles apply in the core area:
Construct buildings along streets as much as possible.
Locate parking behind buildings accessible from side streets and alleyways.
Allow service for retail and office activity to be from the rear of development, permit short-term drop-off from the front of development.
Mid-block alleyways are desirable in that they afford rear lot access to homes, eliminate the needs for driveways, and provide right of way opportunities for utilities.
For this strategy the following principles apply in the employment center areas:
Employment areas should also be organized into blocks. The street network formed by these blocks should interconnect as seamlessly as possible with the adjacent core and residential neighborhoods.
Principle access to the employment center area should be from those roads directly connected to freeway interchanges. This traffic should not be required to pass through the core area or residential neighborhoods to gain access to employment center activity. Connections to employment center areas from residential neighborhoods should be via traffic calmed streets, bicycle and pedestrian routes.
In order to form a continuous and well-defined public street space within the core area it is important that new development be constructed along a build-to line. The following principles apply:
Blocks designated for special uses such as religious buildings, existing historic structures or important civic buildings should be exempted from this requirement. These buildings should be incorporate special forecourt landscaping that highlights them as special places within the fabric of the community.
Much of the access to the core area and the employment area will be by means of automobile, especially initially before connections between core area residential population and transit are established. It is therefore important that parking be readily accessible and adequate. It should not dominate the landscape however. The following principles should be applied to core area parking:
Off-street parking should be located behind buildings accessible from side streets, alleyways, and mid-block pedestrian walkways.
Parking areas for general core area use should be strategically located within the core area. Sites chosen for these facilities should afford the construction of parking garages in the future if development intensities warrant.
Peak and off-peak users should share parking areas. An example of this would be one lot that is used in the evenings and Sundays by a church and during the day by retail or office.
As a town or village develops, and as pedestrian oriented accessibility increases due to enhanced connections from the core and employment areas to surrounding residential neighborhoods, and as public transportation becomes available, parking requirements should be lessened within the core area.
Establish public environment design criteria
There should be street trees and pedestrian-scaled lighting throughout the town or village.
Paving should be consistently designed.
Buildings should be required to have canopies. Alternatively, arcades could be created, but this concept, to be effective, must be applied consistently throughout the village.
The town or village core area should feature a focal point, such as a fountain, statue, memorial, clock or other outdoor landmark that says center and creates an identifiable image that can be linked to the particular town or village.
On street and park seating areas should be abundant.
Street furnishings such as newspaper honor boxes, trash receptacles, kiosks should be placed throughout the core area. Their design and placement should not detract from the core areas ambiance.
Pedestrian crosswalks should be textured and easily identifiable.
Building signage should contribute positively to the town or village ambiance.
The I-77 corridor has access to water and sewer systems and new village development should tap into these systems to serve its needs.
126.96.36.199. Employment Based Village Demonstration Project
Figure 7-29 is
a concept diagram that illustrates how a series of employment based villages
could be organized. The employment centers are located along the Interstate
and thus enjoy easy regional access. The village core area links the employment
area with surrounding residential development, both existing and proposed.
The resulting employment based village is bounded partially by preserved
riparian areas and partially by other preserved open spaces. The village
core areas contain services for the employment centers and surrounding
residential neighborhood catchment areas.