Main Street: New Rules for a New Vision


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How public participation, Lego, computer modelling and analysis led to new planning policies and zoning to implement a streetscape vision in suburban Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

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  • The Regional Plan first developed a Settlement and Transportation map, which included a hierarchy of growth centres, areas of anticipated transit service and future major routes. The RP+5 review will review the number and classification of growth centres, including the reality of rural communities. The Regional Plan identified a number of projects to provide road capacity and regional connections based on the approved growth pattern. Of the thirteen major projects identified as programmed or planned, seven have been completed. Notable is the opening of highway interchanges at Larry Uteck Boulevard, and Mt. Hope Avenue, these are linked to strategic growth areas. A major study is underway now to determine the implications of potential growth along the Bedford Highway corridor on both our roadway and transit systems.
  • Here is a revised Map 1 of future Settlement and Transportation. You will notice a scaled-back expansion of transit services to rural communities. We have had to modify our intention to establish a large a suburban centre at Morris Lake, because the Department of National Defense has decided to retain the Shearwater runway. This could shift suburban growth away from Dartmouth, though a smaller centre is recommended on the north side of Morris Lake in the vicinity of Caldwell Road. Council provided an earlier direction to move forward with a community plan for the Port Wallace area in Dartmouth to provide more options for growth in Dartmouth. Similarly, HRM will re-classify the Fall River growth centre to reflect its role as serving an entire district, together with the Upper Tantalloncentre. A separate Tantallon Crossroads Local Growth Centre will be recognized to the south. HRM will carry out additional planning work for areas such as Middle Sackville, Porters Lake–Lake Echo, Birch Cove, the Rockingham Motherhouse lands, and the Bedford Waterfront and others. Based on completed watershed studies and community visions we now better appreciate the environmental constraints and costs of providing urban-type services to rural communities. This is reflected in the number of growth and classification of rural centres.
  • Main Street: New Rules for a New Vision

    1. 1. Main Street Area New Rules for a New Vision March 2014 Phone 490-4481
    2. 2. “Who cares?” Toward Complete Communities
    3. 3. Planning – A Short History • From country to city: – Industrial Revolution • From city to suburb: – Garden Cities • From traffic to tranquility: – Radburn • From isolation to integration: – New Urbanism • From community to region: – Smart Growth Picture by Matthew Trump
    4. 4. An Unhealthy Paradox •Street layout hinders walking •Freeways disperse development •Wide streets encourage speeding •Segregated land uses require driving •Parking obstructs walking •Sprawl hinders transit
    5. 5. “Where shall we walk?”
    6. 6. •Traffic stress •Air pollution •Not enough walking •Too much sitting “Canada’s Ocean Playground”
    7. 7. Road-building Wheelspin People live further out More people drive to work Roads get crowded New freeways RISING COSTS
    8. 8. From TV Dinners to Pizzas! • Postwar zoning resembled a TV dinner – Segregated uses – No shortcuts – Don’t try walking! • Complete communities are more like pizza – Synergy between uses – Connections – Focal point – Walkable radius
    9. 9. We must change •Provide good public transport •Design for feet, bikes & transit •Manage congestion •Cluster settlement •Integrate land uses •Control design & form
    10. 10. The View from 30,000 feet Planning for the Region
    11. 11. Managing transportation
    12. 12. 2006 Regional Plan Growth Centres
    13. 13. Community design (2006 Plan) • Hierarchy of centres • Transit Oriented Development • Mixed-use Growth Centres • Emphasis on walkability • Transit service where possible • Open space conservation design in rural areas “Mixed use” refers to an integration of residential, commercial and institutional land uses
    14. 14. A Vision for Main Street The Streetscape Study
    15. 15. Main Street Area NSCC SobeysParclo Lakecrest Apts
    16. 16. Planning for a new vision On May 13, 2008 Regional Council: – approved in principle the “Main Street Dartmouth - Planning Vision and Streetscape Concept” (Jan. 20, 2008) – authorized staff to prepare a Secondary Planning Strategy for Main Street Dartmouth and vicinity
    17. 17. What did the Streetscape Study envision? • street furniture, landscaping and park • wide sidewalks • reconfigured streets • pedestrian-supportive buildings • shared rear-yard parking • attractive roofs
    18. 18. How is the Streetscape Study being implemented? STREETSCAPE STUDY PRIVATE INVESTMENT PLANNING & ZONING PUBLIC STREETS
    19. 19. “Where We Are So Far” • BID established • Early action: rezoned C-3 to C-2 to… – enable apartments by development agreement – prevent new self-storage • Streetscape Improvements: – Hartlen St. trees and sidewalk – Woodlawn/Main parkette – LED lighting • Now we’ve aligned the MPS & LUB with the Vision
    20. 20. Exploring the Options Community Design
    21. 21. Who was consulted? • 5 Public Sessions: 1. parking & shortcutting 2. building styles & development patterns 3. concept & draft rules 4. refining the rules; transportation analysis 5. Public Information Meeting • Ongoing BID Liaison: – Introductory BID meeting – Updates at BID breakfasts – Met with owners on request – Overview of proposed new rules to special BID meetings
    22. 22. Side Parking & Spot Height Option 4 liked 19 disliked -15 points Option F: Tallest at ends & middle Sideyard parking
    23. 23. Rear Parking & Step Into Valley 24 liked 3 disliked 21 points Option A: Step down into valley Rearyard parking
    24. 24. Parking Simulation
    25. 25. Parking Implications • Sidewalk retail can allow for rear parking access on most lots • Rear parking lots eventually converge • Surface parking consumes huge areas • Surface parking leaves little green space • This would discourage residential market If we want residents and green space, we need subgrade parking. For viable subgrade parking, we need more height.
    26. 26. Height Alternative 1: Surface Parking & Mixed Uses 7 votes for overall scheme 10 dots for “good” features 5 crossouts for “bad” features X X X X X
    27. 27. Height Alternative 2: Surface Parking, Mixed Use except residential on Lakecrest 12 votes for overall scheme 26 dots for “good” features 1 feature changed Much less density V
    28. 28. Height Alternative 3: Subgrade/Structured Parking 10 votes for overall scheme 32 dots for “good” features 0 crossouts
    29. 29. Concept Illustration Gateway Live/ work Residential Mid-Rise Low-rise apts Framed parking Retail & mid-rise apts. Retail & apt. towers Mixed-Use & Mid-Rise Mid- rise Townhouse style apts
    30. 30. Fly-Through Snapshot
    31. 31. Roof Style Options Full pitch… 12 liked 2 disliked ------------- 10 points OR… Stepped back 24 liked 1 disliked ------------ 23 points
    32. 32. Building Height & Streetwall Options Shorter building with tall street wall… 9 liked 5 disliked ------------ 4 points OR… Taller building with low street wall 19 liked 4 disliked ------------ 15 points
    33. 33. Shape and Step-Back Options Simple building shape… 7 liked 6 disliked ------------ 1 point OR… Complex building shape 27 liked 2 disliked ------------ 25 points
    34. 34. Building Orientation Options Parallel Buildings… 12 liked 0 disliked 12 points OR… Perpendicular Buildings 10 liked 3 disliked 7 points
    35. 35. New Policies and Rules Shaping Design to Encourage Re-investment
    36. 36. Good Design Features • Bays, dormers or offsets every 40-80 ft • Sidewalk entry & shop windows • Pitched or decorated flat roofs • Minimize shadow impact • Avoid “fortress” slot windows • Trim corners and windows
    37. 37. Phase 1 Scaling Down to Adjacent Neighbourhoods
    38. 38. New Policies & Zoning Rules … • Approved on September 10, 2013 by Regional Council following a public hearing • Took effect on Nov. 23, 2013
    39. 39. Main Street Designation… • foster a town centre as a focal point for residential and commercial investment • pedestrian oriented buildings and spaces • recognize need for automobile access • reduce uncertainty through as-of-right mixed-use and multiple-unit residential zoning with design requirements
    40. 40. ... with 3 Sub-Designations: • Town Centre: sidewalk retail with offices/residences above • Town Residential: townhouses, apartments or condos near Town Centre’s goods and services • Neighbourhood Edge: orderly transition between medium- density or high-traffic areas and established low-density neighbourhood Source: Google Streetview
    41. 41. New Main Street Designation… ± … and 3 Sub-Designations Town Residential Town Centre Neighbourhood Edge
    42. 42. New Zoning Rules C-2 C-2 R-3 R-3* R-3* R-3 R-3* R-2 R-2 R-2 R-1A R-1A R-1A NLW NLW NLW C-2 C-2 New design rules also apply * Facades must resemble townhouses R-1
    43. 43. General Commercial (C-2) Zone For a walkable mix of uses and buildings… • Sidewalk-oriented commercial on ground floor • General Offices up to three floors – To avoid competing with downtown • Residences above, as-of-right • No industrial, storage or “adult” uses • Rear or subgrade parking Source: Google Streetview
    44. 44. Concept for Optimizing Use, Height & Parking Slopes enable some sub-grade parking Ground floor retail fronting on sidewalk Offices on middle floors Housing above Housing above Rear yard parking Roofs & Lofts
    45. 45. Medium Density Residential (R-3) Zone Lakecrest/Valleyfield: • Multiple unit facades must resemble townhouses • Low (2-storey) street wall Other Locations: • 4 storey streetwall All locations: • 12.2 m (40 ft) separation from R-1, R-1A or R-2
    46. 46. Neighbourhood Live-Work (NLW) Zone For low-impact live/work… • Craftshop/spa/studio/office • Accessory retail only • Other uses and rules comparable to R-1A • Limited signage • Townhouse-style dwellings (internal driveways only)
    47. 47. Auxiliary Dwelling Unit (R-1A Zone) To add more residents near shopping, while retaining a small scale… • As in R-1, plus one auxiliary unit up to 40% of gross floor area • Must retain the appearance of a single house
    48. 48. Maximum Building Heights ± An additional 4.6 m (15 ft) is allowed for lofts & penthouses, except where the height limit is 35 feet or less 120 80 80 80 70 70 70 60 60 45 45 45 45 45 35 353535 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
    49. 49. Streetwall Stepbacks • At least 1.8 m (6 ft) wide • Above 2nd storey on Lakecrest or Valleyfield • Above 5th storey on Main St & south end of Gordon • Above the 4th storey on all other streets • May be topped by a pitched roof or deck (not required where building is already set back an equivalent distance beyond minimum front yard) Source: Google Streetview
    50. 50. Maximum Streetwall Heights ± 25-ft Streetwalls 55-ft Streetwalls 45-ft Streetwalls 45-ft 25-ft
    51. 51. Rules for NEW PARKING LOTS • No new front-yard parking • No new side-yard parking, except alongside a driveway • Development agreement option for the large shopping centres on Tacoma Drive and Gordon Avenue for large front yard setbacks…
    52. 52. Drive-Throughs & Gas Bars Drive-throughs: • Front wall close to sidewalk • No driveway between sidewalk & front door • Loudspeakers, service windows & lanes at least 6 m (20 ft) from residential zone Gas bars: • Building between sidewalk & pumps • Sidewalk display window & awning Fast Food Gas Bar Store Source: APA NNECAPA Photo Library
    53. 53. Buildings Maximum setbacks: • Gordon, Major & Hartlen: 6.1 m (20 ft) • Main, Tacoma & Caledonia: 9.1 m (30 ft) Roofs & walls: • R-3 & NLW Zones: breaks every 12.2m (40 ft) • C-2 Zone: breaks every 24.4 m (80 ft) Windows: • Vertical or square • along 35% of each floor • along 50% of sidewalk façade
    54. 54. Front Yard Setbacks Street Minimum Setback Maximum Setback Gordon Major Hartlen 1 m (3.3 ft) 6.1 m (20 ft) Main Tacoma Caledonia 2 m (6.6 ft) 9.1 m (30 ft) Lakecrest Valleyfield 6.1 m (20 ft) --
    55. 55. Development Agreement Option Area ± D.A. option for deep front yard setback. (requires pedestrian frontage & design features)
    56. 56. Gordon – Tacoma Plazas Development Agreement Option Landscaping Landscaping Sidewalk frontage with display windows & pedestrian door Architectural features Architectural features Gas bar with pedestrian frontage Architectural features Frame parking with buildings…
    57. 57. In what cases do the rules apply? • New occupants – no effect • New uses, extensions, external renovations – new elements only • Replacement buildings, additional parking – all elements i.e., in proportion to the amount of change
    58. 58. Nonconforming structures may be altered/expanded if: the nonconforming structure remains on one lot additions total no more than 697 sq. m (7500 sq ft) additions are for a permitted use additions respect all the new rules a landscaped walkway links the door & sidewalk
    59. 59. Nonconforming structures may not be altered/expanded if: × additions further encroach on yard or lot coverage limits × more front-yard parking is added × illuminated signs are added facing residences × a drive-through would become the main use × adult entertainment exists on the lot
    60. 60. Thank you Marcus Garnet, Senior Planner 490-4481
    61. 61. Settlement and Transportation
    62. 62. Growth Projections: Number of new dwelling units for the period 2011-2031
    63. 63. Development Assumptions Existing 10 Years 25 Years Dwellings 220 units 465 units 1235 units Offices 177,000 sf 334,000 sf 568,000 sf Retail 318,000 sf 367,000 sf 422,000 sf
    64. 64. Relative Changes in Use (sq. ft. of Gross Floor Area) 0 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 1,400,000 Existing 10 years 25 years Dwellings Offices Retail
    65. 65. Transportation Study – Key Conclusions • Main Street two-way average weekday volume: 34,000 • Estimated land use changes from 2010 to 2035 will generate 473 vehicle trips during AM peak and 611 trips during PM peak • The peak traffic period will become longer • New Tacoma Dr./Lakecrest Dr./Main St. intersection:  could create bicycle routes between north and south sides  would provide signalized pedestrian crossing closer to core • Pedestrian link from Lakecrest to Hartlen & Main signals • Access Management could reduce driveways & vehicle/pedestrian conflicts, while improving aesthetics
    66. 66. Transportation Study – Key Recommendations • Main St./Gordon Ave./Major St. Intersection: Dual left turn lane on Gordon Ave. for vehicles turning to the west Right turn lane on Gordon Ave. for vehicles turning to the east Right turn lane on Major St. for vehicles turning to the west Split traffic signal phase on Gordon Ave. & Major St. approaches Bus priority lane on the Main St. eastbound approach • Tacoma Dr./Gordon Ave. Intersection: Traffic signals warranted Or convert to single lane roundabout • Tacoma Dr./Lakecrest Dr./Main Street: Signalized full intersection near Stevens Rd. • Active Transportation: Pedestrian link between Main St. & Lakecrest Dr. near Hartlen St. Include bicycle facilities
    67. 67. Impacts on Neighbourhood Short-Cutting • Tacoma Dr./Lakecrest Ave./Main St. intersection would improve Lakecrest Ave. and Tacoma Dr. accesses to Main St. • There would also be improved access to the east end of Tacoma Dr. • Lakecrest Dr. would no longer have a direct connection from Helene Ave., so shortcutting traffic would be delayed getting on and off Main St. • This would reduce the attractiveness of the shortcut route • Intersection improvements and access management of Main St. driveways would encourage more vehicles to stay on Main St.