MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s a plan to put pedestrians before vehicles.
The City of Mobile recently awarded a contract to a lead developer to make downtown Mobile more accessible.
On Tuesday, the Mobile City Council approved a master services agreement with Mobile-based Volkert, Inc. for the design of streetscape improvements in Downtown Mobile. The awarding of the contract achieves another goal in Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s 100 Day Agenda for his third term.
This design work is being conducted in conjunction with the Downtown Mobile Alliance, which earlier
this year released the results of an extensive study that looked at how our downtown streets and walkways
could be safer, more inviting, and more economically productive. Several recommendations grew out of
that study, which was conducted by one of the country’s leading urban designers, Jeff Speck.
“When you get the street right with design it encourages community and economic development,” said Fred Rendfrey, the Director of downtown economic development for the Downtown Alliance. “We just wanted to help get the streets right.”
And that’s why The Downtown Alliance sought out a study that made recommendations to make Mobile more walkable, bikeable and enjoyable space for Mobilians and visitors.
“We are just excited to get to work on some of the smaller streets and to really help focus on making this a community and economic tool,” Rendfrey said.
The study led to a contract with Volkert Inc. for a design that will focus on aesthetic and practical changes. The alliance says with less than 5,000 cars a day on Dauphin Street, some of those major changes will land there — including making the west portion of Dauphin Street one lane to provide more areas for on-street parking.
That change could lead to major revenue. The National Mainstreet Association did a study that found that on-street parking locations are worth $18,000 in sales revenue for retailers.
Also included — converting streets from one-way to two-way and implementing more stop signs instead of signals to slow down traffic. Also found in the study were six streets in critical need of bike lanes as part of a network.
“We don’t have a lot of bicycle traffic right now, but that’s because this is a network that is less integrated. This will provide more and safer options for the bicyclist to travel,” Rendrey said.
The city of Mobile backs this plan and is working with the alliance for their growth goal.
“We want to make sure downtown Mobile is a walkable, bikeable, and enjoyable space for Mobilians and
visitors,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “Throughout the country, communities that create aesthetically
pleasing and pedestrian-friendly downtown areas are successful in bringing businesses and foot traffic to
the heart of their urban centers. This work will go a long way toward helping us do the same in Mobile.”
The alliance says Volkert Inc. hopes to get things rolling on this massive project in the first quarter of next year.