Monday, May 12, 2008

Opportunity for Ogden?

Originally uploaded by™
Well it looks like Mayor Godfrey is now looking at streetcars instead of just gondolas which hopefully a good sign:

Ogden Mayor has moved on from urban gondolas -- to street cars

Last time I talked briefly about how Ogden could create a nice urban area by putting together the streetcar, a revitalized Washington Blvd, and the Centennial Trail that goes along the Ogden River. Today I was planning to go into a little more detail and build upon those previous ideas.

First of all, the streetcar line will create a new corridor from the FrontRunner Station to WSU. As has been seen in Portland and Tacoma, streetcar lines have the habit of bringing new interest to a community.

Then you have the Centennial Trail along the Ogden River that travels from the Twenty-First Street Pond which in itself has a trail system to the Bonneville Shoreline train that offers even longer trails.

Ogden River Parkway

21st Street Pond Trail

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

View Larger Map

As you can see on the map you have four main streets that connect the streetcar line and the trail system. Turn all four of those streets into pedestrian, bicycle, and transit friendly streets. Now you have created four different corridors to connect the streetcar line to the trail system.

Wall Street is currently in the doldrums but using Wall to connect the FrontRunner Station to the trail system would offer new opportunities to revitalize this street.

Meanwhile we have our diamond in the ruff Washington Blvd. Currently there is a lot of independent businesses along this corridor including a lot of older motels. One of the problems when an area is revitalized is often gentrification comes into play and many of the smaller independently owned businesses are forced out and the chains move in. Yet this would ruin some of the opportunities that Ogden would have to set itself apart from its neighbors to the south.

One way to prevent this is to promote the restoration of some of the older buildings; giving tax incentives to restore instead of bulldoze which overcome the federal tax laws that encourage bulldozing and building new disposable buildings. Imagine a street of beautiful motels and restaurants that are not a bunch of cookie cutter boxes.

Meanwhile Monroe and Harrison are primarily residential streets with small pockets of neighborhood business so making those streets pedestrian/bicycle/transit friendly would be neighborhood improvements that could lead to reinvestment into the area.

This would allow Ogden to set itself apart from its neighbors and give itself its own marketing niche. Ogden could promote its own uniqueness and give new reasons to come to Ogden.

Then in a few years Ogden could run commercials like this:

“Tired of the boring chain stores and restaurants, then hop aboard FrontRunner and come to Ogden where you will enjoy our wonderful pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets, the Ogden Streetcar, and most importantly our many independently owned business that give that each have their own unique flavor. Ogden where unique is good.”

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