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Bristol, CT Concept Plan April 2011



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Concept Plan submitted by Renaissance Downtowns to City of Bristol, CT in April 2011, outlining the master plan for the redevelopment of downtown Bristol.

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Bristol, CT Concept Plan April 2011

  1. 1. Ye s t e r d a y , To d a y & To m o r r o w T h e S t o r y o f B r i s t o l R i s i n g B r i s t o l , C o n n e c t i c u t A p r i l 2 5 , 2 0 1 1
  2. 2. i B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Renaissance Downtowns would like to thank the following organizations for their ongoing participation and support throughout the last year: • City of Bristol • Bristol Downtown Development Corporation • Bristol Rising Community • Resident Committees • Property Owners • Business Owners • Community Stakeholders • Consulting Team Downtown Concept Plan Submission “For the first time, we really have a say. We could really create something unbelievable in the downtown.” LindsayVigue Acknowledgements
  3. 3. ii Our Commitment To Bristol Sincerely yours, Donald Monti President & CEO Renaissance Downtowns Ryan Porter Vice President For Planning & Development Renaissance Downtowns “When we first embarked upon this quest to work with you to create a vibrant downtown in Bristol, we were greeted warmly. Our goal was to involve each and every citizen in the process from day one. Since that time, your community has made us feel like we are not only your guests, but neighbors… and our goal is to be good neighbors and to be contributors to an even better and brighter future for all Bristol residents” HistoricMainStreetwillbecomemorevital,asDepotSquarecompletesbothsidesofthestreet Preface
  4. 4. iii B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Our Vision The creation of a revitalization plan for Downtown Bristol has been conceived through working with the City, the Community, Private Property Owners and Key Stakeholders. This plan will serve as a road map for the creation of a vibrant mixed-use Downtown that will truly display a return to Bristol’s roots.
  5. 5. iv Mission Statement To plan Bristol’s Downtown in a comprehensive manner through a transparent collaborative exchange of responsible thoughts and ideas, never losing sight of Bristol’s remarkable history and adhering to the triple bottom line – social, economic and environmental responsibility. Preface
  6. 6. v B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Table of Contents Preface i Yesterday...Bristol’s Rich Heritage 1 Today...Revitalization Opportunities 5 Planning forTomorrow 9 Bristol Rising...Crowdsourced Placemaking 15 Tomorrow...AVision for Bristol’s Future 27 Depot Square...A Catalyst 41 Enhancing Bristol’s Downtown & Neighborhoods 47 Planning Studies 63 Implementation...TurningVision into Reality 76
  7. 7. vi “I think we all need to be a part of it,” Mayor ArtWard “Together, I mean together, we can make some real exciting things happen,” - Don Monti as quoted inThe Bristol Observer“I was negative on it until I heard their spiel,” “They’re committed. They understand that it’s a big undertaking,” - Dave Pasqualicchio Preface Working Together
  8. 8. 1 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Bristol’s Proud History Bristol has a rich and storied history as a New England City whose story mirrors that of the national landscape in many ways. As a City of over 60,000, Bristol has served as home to many generations of Connecticut families that have witnessed first hand the transformations that Bristol has experienced over the years. Founded in 1785 as a largely agricultural community, small manufacturing began to take root at the turn of the 18th century. By the end of the 1800’s, Bristol’s population grew to over 7,000 including a large immigrant population, which was pivotal in the transition from a small rural community to a more vibrant modern city. As is depicted on the opposite page, manufacturing became a driving force in Bristol until the second half of the 20th century. During the first half of the 20th century. Bristol’s strong civic roots began to truly take root as Memorial boulevard was constructed along with the creation of new schools and parks. It was during this time that a hospital was built along with the Boys and Girls Club. Downtown became an active, vibrant place, full of commerce and activity. Known as the clock-making city in the 1800’s, Bristol still celebrates its history as home to the American Clock and Watch Museum. Aside from its many time keeping innovations,Bristol was once nicknamed the Bell City because of its history of manufacturing spring-driven doorbells. Plant closings and construction of the New Departure facility on Chippens Hill marked the physical changes caused by Bristol’s transition to a center of more diverse economic activity. This era was followed by“Urban Renewal”of the 1960’s which saw the City’s central business district essentially leveled and redeveloped in a far more suburban fashion, including the presence of a large (and ultimately doomed) downtown mall.
  9. 9. 2Yesterday... Bristol’s Rich Heritage Bristol has a strong and proud history as a center of manufacturing that continues to this day as is demonstrated by the City’s relatively large manufacturing base, including the presence of the headquarters for Associated Spring. In 1857, Wallace Barnes founded the Barnes group in Bristol as a metal parts shop that has become a diversified leader in engineering and manufacturing paving the way for innovation in Bristol, a tradition continued today by ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports. During the 1800’s, Bristol took its role as a center of clock making along with supporting precision manufacturing industries. Manufacturing would continue to dominate the landscape through the first half of the 20th century. Until a permanent shift within the economic base occurred beginning in the 1950’s that saw a transition away from heavy manufacturing and metal working toward a more diverse economy. Historic Center of Industry and Commerce
  10. 10. 3 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Bristol Post 1955 Flood & Urban Renewal The flood of 1955 was a seminal moment in the history of downtown Bristol as it ushered in an era that was dominated by the growth of the suburban landscape. The 1960’s saw the onset of “Urban Renewal” which tore apart the fabric of historic downtown. Downtown Bristol struggled to compete with auto oriented retail and entertainment options, including those located along Rt. 6 and at regional malls outside of Bristol. In 2005 the mall was demolished, ushering in the possibility of a new era that could see a revitalized downtown and a return to a vibrant, mixed-use urban construct that is lacking within most of America’s suburban downtowns.
  11. 11. 4 Bristol’s Recent Past Yesterday...Bristol’s Rich Heritage Downtown Bristol offers significant assets that serve as a tremendous foundation for the creation of an attractive, sustainable neighborhood that will provide the community with a Triple Bottom Line of social, economic and environmental benefits. Some of these assets include: • Historic Main Street with its traditional, native architecture • A central location with great parks and the Pequabuck River • Gateway opportunities including the intersections of North Main Street and Rt. 6, Main Street and Riverside Ave as well as Memorial Boulevard. The Downtown also provides a number of redevelopment opportunities that can leverage the aforementioned assets to help provide the right mix of uses along with residential and commercial densities to create an environment that will appeal to the growing market for downtown living, working, shopping, learning and playing. Some of these opportunities include: • Existing warehouse space and other character-rich buildings with opportunities for adaptive reuse and unique residential/office use • Underutilized and outmoded buildings that are ripe for redevelopment and/or repurposing • Significant developable parcels that represent opportunities for reinvestment such as the Depot Square site and the former Chick Miller redevelopment site. With the development opportunities that exist within Downtown Bristol, it becomes apparent that there is a great chance to implement a successful downtown revitalization vision that will provide a unique environment for residents, businesses and visitors alike. Opportunities for ReinvestmentDowntown Assets to Build Upon
  12. 12. 5 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Millennials 80 Million Boomers 78 Million Bristol Is Strategically Positioned There has been an ongoing shift from suburban living, to downtown living. As the attached ZVA study states, the “fundamental transformation of American households is likely to continue for at least the next several decades, representing an unprecedented demographic foundation on which cities can rebuild their downtowns and in-town neighborhoods. From Suburban to Downtown Population Growth Focus on 6 Megaregions Boomers are downsizing The City of Bristol is uniquely positioned to capitalize on significant shifts in consumer preference that are driving a return to urban living, including and especially residential options within suburban downtowns. Some statistics that demonstrate the need for more downtown, mixed-use housing include: • The U.S. population is expected to grow from 300M to 420M by the year 2050 • The U.S. Urban Population will DOUBLE from 150M to 300M by the year 2050 • 30% of housing demand for urban, walkable neighborhoods, but only 2% of new housing product fits that definition • 2/3’s of the demand for walkable neighborhoods will be met in the suburbs • 80 Million Millennials and 78 Million Boomers currently live within the U.S. – two demographic cohorts that desire downtown, amenity driven living within a mixed -use setting.
  13. 13. 6 The Need For Comprehensive Planning Today... Revitalization Opportunity The Creatives represented only 12% of the workforce as recently as 1980. Today, they represent about 33% of the workforce – but up to 75% of discre- tionary spending. Within ten years, the creative class of worker will comprise over one-half of the workforce, providing significant opportunities for Cities such as Bristol to capitalize on this market’s desire for vibrant living within a walkable, mixed-use setting. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 1980 Today 10 Years The changing nature of the workforce is also a powerful indicator of the need for residential options within a mixed-use setting in downtown Bristol. For example, the expansion of the knowledge economy, as demonstrated by the explosive growth of the “Creative Class” of worker (see chart on the bottom left of this page) is key for Bristol considering the two largest employers are ESPN and Bristol Hospital. These market realities have created a “New Norm” which will drive urban growth within suburban regions for years and decades to come – a trend that Bristol can capitalize upon by creating the first true “Boutique City” within the region. These assumptions have been supported by the recent housing study conducted by Zimmerman Volk Associates, which stated “more than 3,500 housing units could be absorbed in (downtown Bristol) over a 10-year time frame.” Bristol has the opportunity to capture significant market share as a result of the lack of comparable product in the area. % Y E A R S
  14. 14. 7 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission New Urbanism W h e r e wo u l d y o u r a t h e r b e ? • A mix of uses that include a significant residential population, office and commercial uses, retail, entertainment, cultural, restaurant, and hospitality • Inclusion of significant public space, greenways, walking and biking paths and other community amenities • Mixed-income housing to provide residential opportunities to the entire population • Compact Building Design • Emphasis on walkability and non-auto modes of transit • Focused development within urban cores and downtowns as opposed to greenfields • Higher density housing including numerous multi family options As can be seen in the before and after images on this page, New Urbanism provides an alternative for communities that have been constructed with a lack of proper planning principles, resulting in little to no“sense of place” coupled with economic struggles. These demonstrate transformation of a typical suburban light industrial center into an inviting downtown neighborhood that offers a mix of uses, including residential options. The bottom images provide insight as to how an auto-oriented corridor, which suffers from a lack of investment in pedestrian options, can transition to a more main street setting that is ripe for ground floor retail and street level activity. * The following images are courtesy of Urban Land Insititue The Concept of New Urbanism, which is rooted in the creation of vibrant, liveable mixed-use communities that provide walkability within a traditional neighborhood setting, has been around since the 1980’s. Recently, national trends demonstrate a growing desire to live within these “new urbanist” neighborhoods, which are represented by: In both cases not only is the new landscape far more pleasing to the senses, it is also far more sustainable from an economic perspective while providing significant environmental benefits to their communities as well.
  15. 15. 8 Renaissance Downtowns Development Approach Suburban Downtowns have a tremendous opportunity for economic growth in the coming years based upon changing demographics and a shift in consumer preference that has created significant pent up demand for urban living within smaller “Boutique Cities” such as Bristol. However, the nature of Suburban Downtowns creates a setting in which traditional, one-off “infill” redevelopment simply does not work. The reasons for the lack of development within suburban downtowns range from a lack of catalytic investment capital, the absence of a cohesive vision and the inability for a municipality to implement transformative change within a downtown. Renaissance Downtowns believes that the only way to successfully implement a significant downtown revitalization in a setting such as Bristol is to take an inclusive, comprehensive and holistic redevelopment approach. By including both the public and private sectors at the table along with local property owners and community stakeholders, a cohesive, market driven vision for downtown can be created and implemented, resulting in significant economic and social benefits for the entire community. The above diagram represents Renaissance Downtowns “Unified Development Ap- proach™” which includes a Master Developer working in Partnership with the municipality, along with the inclusion of private property owners, transit agencies (where applicable) and key community stakeholders. The result is an implementable, market driven redevelopment plan. Transit Agency Private Property Owners Municipality Key Community Stakeholders Master Developer Today... Revitalization Opportunity
  16. 16. 9 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Bristol Initiates Redevelopment Process           
  17. 17. 10 Revitalization Goals Planning for Tomorrow                                                      
  18. 18. 11 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Existing Building Uses All successful downtowns are formulated by a critical mass of residents and the proper mix of additional uses including retail, commercial, cultural, civic, parks and open space, to name a few. In order to create a vibrant mix of uses the development team must first work to discover what uses exist within the current downtown before determining what uses are needed. The Renaissance Team conducted a detailed analysis of the current uses in Downtown Bristol to inform the planning process. The following discoveries include: • Lack of commercial and Retail Uses • Excess Vacant land and improperly placed surface parking • Strong Civic Center Stabilizer • Existing Historic Districts and Buildings • Lack of Multifamily Housing outside of 2-3 family conversions • Lack of newer Housing Product Perhaps the most detrimental use deficiency discovered is the lack of newer housing product. The average age of housing offered within the study area is over 100 years old.
  19. 19. 12 Comprehensive Redevelopment Planning for Tomorrow To truly embark upon a comprehensive planning process a redevelopment team must not only entrench itself in the local community and culture but must also discover all the existing contextual patterns that have been created over the evolution of the urban fabric. As an industrial center for commerce Bristol utilized a long-standing rail corridor to ship goods and services for its many manufacturing facilities. While the existing rail line can provide future opportunities, when coupled with the significant grade changes within the downtown the rail acts as a contextual barrier that separates the core of Downtown from Historic Federal Hill. In addition the Pequabuck River and the larger pedestrian unfriendly streets throughout Downtown also act as contextual barriers. The identification of these barriers allows the planning team to develop recommendations as to how to better connect the downtown. The experience of being in a vibrant urban environment requires many basic design principles one of which is the creation of a “Street Wall” as displayed in the image to the left. The Concept Plan formulates recommendations that mend the once strong “Street Wall” fabric in Downtown Bristol. Rail Line Barrier
  20. 20. 13 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Opportunity Sites Downtown Bristol has one tremendous asset that many suburban downtowns lack: the opportunity to redevelop significant vacant and underutilized property. The fact that the 17 acre Depot Square site is essentially a blank slate provides the opportunity for the Bristol community to engage in a meaningful and catalytic redevelopment effort. The chart to the right depicts developable properties within downtown, including municipally owned land and privately owned land that is ripe for significant redevelopment along with rare historic opportunity sites. With the Depot Square site as the “hole in the donut” surrounded by additional redevelopment opportunities, the City of Bristol is well positioned to successfully achieve a comprehensive downtown revitalization.
  21. 21. 14 Transportation Opportunities Planning for Tomorrow A sustainable downtown necessitates a full range of transportation options. While the ideal situation is to create a live/work environment that provides for walkability, there will always be a need to accommodate other modes of transportation. Currently, Bristol has very limited transportation options. The City lacks a walkable construct within its downtown, exacerbated by almost no viable transit options to connect Bristol to cities to the East such as Hartford nor Cities to the West such as Waterbury. This lack of transit also precludes connectivity to the economic engine of New York City. The Renaissance Team spent extensive time analyzing the existing street grid throughout the Downtown Study Area. The recommended additional street connections provide much needed breaks in block lengths leading to a significantly more pedestrian friendly environment especially when coupled with new and exciting development. A successful mixed-use environment will employ the principles of complete streets, which provide for traffic calming measures to allow for safe walking and biking options. In addition, intra-city transportation such as trolleys or shuttles and “cars when you need them” options such as Zip-Cars can reduce the need for use of the auto while providing additional commuter options, such as light or commuter rail transportation to/from a locality to other nodes of economic and social activity. It is encouraging that the new gubernatorial administration in Connecticut is actively pursuing expansion of commuter and regional rail service. In the interim, Bristol can take tremendous local strides by implementing complete streets programs along with local circulators that would provide transportation both within the downtown, and to key points of interest and economic activity outside of the immediate downtown boundaries (such as to/from ESPN and Bristol Hospital). Streets Diagram V-1
  22. 22. 15 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Crowdsourced Placemaking: A Platform for Positive Change “Crowdsourcing” or Crowdsourced Placemaking is “the act of taking development traditionally performed by real estate institutions and sourcing it to a large, undefined community with shared values... to transform exciting places into “places for the soul” that uplift and help us connect to each other.” Hundreds of Bristol stakeholders have come together to create a shared vision for revitalizing Downtown Bristol from a place you drive through into a place you drive to. The Bristol Rising, community is engaged in sharing their input on the Downtown project at in-person meet-ups and Bristol Rising’s social media portal,, is a separate survey site where registered members have the ability to propose and vote on ideas for the Downtown. Together, Bristol Rising members are essentially mixing their own Downtown elixir. Bristol Rising and Renaissance Downtowns share a Triple Bottom Line philosophy: socially, economically and environmentally responsible development. Subscribing to such values will provide significant benefits to the Bristol community, consistent with the creation of a vibrant, walkable, mixed use environment. The “Bristol 2010” graph illustrates money currently leaving Bristol’s economy based on today’s limited choices of mostly national chain stores and restaurants, which necessitates driving and siphoning dollars to other communities. Compare this to the right graph. Where there exists a growing contingent of people who prefer to drive less extensively, favoring alternative transportation such as walking, biking or mass transit. Even if these folks wanted to support Bristol, the City exists in such a way where they have little choice but to drive everywhere, and spend at national chains -- forcing many to spend or live elsewhere entirely. The“Bristol 2020”graph assumes a futureTriple Bottom Line development. Those who wish to retain their auto-centric, national chain lifestyle can carry on doing so, as represented in red. But because the Downtown can now provide options for those seeking alternatives to the national chains and car-crazed lifestyles, Bristol can now capture those former exodus dollars, represented in green. The Bristol Rising community is perhaps the heart of the green portion. Not only will significantly more money stay in the local economy, Downtown will also draw new dollars from visitors, as well as provide many indirect and induced benefits to the Bristol community.
  23. 23. 16 Crowd Favorites Bristol Rising...Crowdsourced Placemaking Renaissance Downtowns recommends voting thresholds the community must attain in order to justify feasibility studies to determine final inclusion of suggested uses in the Downtown Master Plan. Thus, Bristol Rising was charged with attaining 200 votes per public amenity to trigger a study, and 100 votes per retail use to garner back of the envelope feasibilities. The impressive results are demonstrated in the graphs to the left that show that the Bristol Rising community has already been utilizing crowdsourcing to initiate positive change in Downtown by matching individual desire with market demand. Survey Site Membership Brew pub, Restaurant, Beer Garden 158 Likes (Pub), 56 Likes (Garden) A Piazza 248 Likes Visual & Performing Arts Center 236 Likes Market in the Piazza 149 Likes Live Music Venue 150 Likes Bookstore & Cafe 198 Likes Pequabuck River Walk 215 Likes Likes Likes
  24. 24. 17 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Favorite Public Places & Events Passenger Rail & Train Station 138 Likes A Piazza 248 Likes Visual & Performing Arts Center 236 Likes Live Music Venue 150 Likes Small Movie Theater 105 Likes Amphitheater 29 Likes Illustrative Master Concept Plan Bristol’s Own Downtown Art Gallery 80 Likes Summerfest, Taste of Bristol 69 Likes Restaurant Row 112 Likes Strawberry Festival, Farmers Mkt. 34 Likes Pop-up Piazza All Day Extravaganza 41 Likes Market in the Piazza 149 Likes Local Music Festival 32 Likes The Piazza at Depot Square Active Survey Site Use Proposals Bicycle Infrastructure / Sharing Big Belly Solar Trash Cans Bike path from downtown Bristol to Plainville Bikes in Bristol Event Biking/Bike rental Bridge of Flowers Bristol’s Own Blue Back Square Cultural Arts Programs/Events Dance Floor for Public Piazza Dog Friendly Areas Doggie Day care / grooming Earth Day Trash Cleanup Free Clinic Green Carousels Labyrinths Man-made River Walk Music on the walk – Speakers in Street Lights Outdoor Movie Night in Piazza Painted Horses Public Art Pedestrian Town Square Pervious Pavement Rally for Rail -Parade on Train Tracks Renewable Energy & LEED Certified Buildings River Park Riverwalk / Bike Path Along Memorial Blvd. Rooftop Agriculture Scavenger Hunt Sports and Entertainment References Sports Festival Train Transportation Center Trolley System Trudon Property River Walk Destination Youth / Teen Center Zip Cars / Gondola Ski Lift Other Suggested Downtown Uses Awareness Programs-Health and Nutritional Basketball Courts Beach Volleyball Bike Lanes Bio Swales Buses Children’s Recreation Areas Dog Park Exercise/Yoga in the Square Expanded Water Features Green Auto Docking Stations Light Rail Two Police Booths Neighborhood Security Watch Group Parks, Plazas & Open Space (Passive & Active) Pedestrian Connectivity Experience Police on Bicycles Proper Lighting Public Safety Awareness Program Rick Shaws SBA Local Assistance Office Security Internal to Property Owners Assoc. Water Show
  25. 25. 18 Favorite Places to Live, Work & Play Illustrative Master Concept Plan Roof Top Garden 69 Likes The Piazza at Depot Square Live-Work Units 38 Likes Studio Apartments 50 Likes Green Mixed Use Building 27 Likes Coworking Space 60 Likes Coffeehouse 64 Likes Flea Market, Antique Show 27 Likes Natural Foods Organic Grocery Str. 45 Likes Bookstore & Cafe 198 Likes Brew pub, Restaurant, Beer Garden 158 Likes (Pub), 56 Likes (Garden) Specialty Shops 97 Likes Comedy Club 198 Likes All Natural Bakery 198 Likes Other Suggested Downtown Uses Adult Education Arts Magnet School Assisted Living Back Office Boutique Hotel Boutique Maternity Options Catering Facility Culinary / Wine School Doc in the Box Enriched Housing ESL Food Kiosks Gourmet Food Store Incubator Space Independent Housing with Limited Services Outpatient Care Personal Services Place Based Retail RickshawsandHorseandCarriage RoofTopAgriculture Roof Top Bar Roof Top Pool Rooftop Recreation School of Broadcasting Skilled Nursing Facilities Spa Specialty Food Stores Active Survey Site Use Proposals 50s Diner Amusement,Arcade,MiniGolf,BattingCages Art Exhibitions / Galleries Artist Lofts Arts Education Center Asian Bistro Asian Food Market Black Box Theatre (small) Boutique / Unique Toy Store Bowling Alley Chambres de Bain Units Charter Oak Lager Brewery and Fish House Cheese Shop Duckpin Bowling & Roller Rink Entrepreneurial Resource Center ESPN Downtown Campus Fitness Center / Gym Fluid Storefront Fondue Restaurant Food Co-op Glass Blowing Studio Head Shop / Music Shop Hi Speed Indoor Go Kart Facility Ice Cream Parlor with Jukebox Dance floor Ice skating Indian Restaurant Indoor Playground Italian Food Market Mediterranean Restaurant Men’s Clothing Store Mid-Rise (5-10 story) Condos Outdoor / Indoor Tennis Courts Paint Your Own Pottery Performing Arts Venue/playhouse/theatre Photo Lab Pie & Cake Specialty Shop Polish Food Market Polish Restaurant Raw Bar / Seafood Restaurant Riverside Cafe Rock Climbing Gym Satellite Campuses Semi-Pro Sports Team Soda Bar / Youth Music Venue Spin Class / Cycling Sports Related Indoor Facility Sushi Go-Round Swimming Pool (year round) Trading Post Urban Format Grocer Vegan / Organic Restaurant Wine Bar / Lounge Women’s Clothing Boutiques Writing Center Bristol Rising...Crowdsourced Placemaking
  26. 26. 19 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Bookstore & Cafe Feasibility Bookstore = 0% gross revenues Café = 90% gross revenues Performance space = 10% gross revenues Bristol’s residents are tired of not having a bookstore, nor cafe unaffiliated with a corporate entity, and so Bristol Risers made it a point to marry two of their favorite uses together where they could enjoy the feel of real books amidst a cup of Joe. With their votes in tow, the Bristol Rising community crossed its fingers in hopes they will not need to leave Bristol for such an amenity. Due to the Bookstore Cafe garnering well over 100 votes, Renaissance Downtowns commissioned market and retail expert Kennedy Smith of the Clue Group to conduct a feasibility study to see whether such a retail use would be sustainable in Bristol. Unfortunately, Kennedy determined that a Bookstore Cafe would not be feasible in Bristol due to the current socio economic climate, but also in large part because Bristol does not have the population masses necessary for sustainability. Kennedy cited cities in the neighborhood of 80,000 as having a much greater chance of holding onto a successful Cafe Bookstore. Flipping the page, Kennedy found that when a Bookstore Cafe was combined with Performance Space, it returned a favorable feasibility rating. The more uses, the more viability. “How wonderful it would be to have such a book store with coffee/tea and reading areas. Maybe small musical groups of diverse ethnicity on the weekends to focus on local talent and the diverse population of Bristol.” - Gail Leach Likes
  27. 27. 20 Live Music Venue & Restaurant Feasibility Door = 5% gross revenues Restaurant = 95% revenues Start-up costs = moderate Labor costs = can be moderate Space = min. 2000 SF Bristol Rising...Crowdsourced Placemaking With a city full of musical talent, but short on areas for artistic expression, a Live Music Venue became a natural push for the Bristol Rising community. Musicians spoke of their struggle to perform in Bristol due to the lack of relevant venues, and identify this amenity as a viable solution for Bristol’s expression woes. As one of the first amenities posted on, the Live Music Venue recorded more than 100 votes as musicians and live music fans identified it as a missing piece to the Downtown puzzle. Encouraged by Bristol Rising’s support for such a venue, Renaissance Downtowns retained Kennedy Smith to conduct a feasibility study for a Live Music Venue in Downtown Bristol. Unfortunately, the spirited following for this amenity was unable to counter the market reality, and a Live Music Venue was deemed infeasible. But, when assisted by a restaurant element, a Live Music Venue is indeed feasible. Kennedy revealed that roughly 10 percent of the revenue would be generated through box office receipts, while 90 percent would come from the restaurant subsidizing the live music use. This is definitely something we’ve been missing in Bristol. I’ve got tons of friends with a tremendous amount of talent but no venue for them to showcase that talent locally. Myself included, I’ve worked on several projects with different musicians but finding a place to perform live in Bristol has always been a struggle. - Paul Thibault Likes
  28. 28. 21 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Brew Pub Feasibility Bar = 50-70% gross revenues Food = 30-50% gross revenues Start-up costs = minimal Market in Piazza Feasibility Bristol’s beer enthusiasts were bubbling in their desire for an authentic establishment to kick back and enjoy a premium local ale, and behold, the Brew pub/Restaurant caught steam. One of the fastest growing amenities, the Brew pub/Restaurant captures the authenticity of a local ale house that piqued the inquisitive tongues of many Bristol Risers. Spilling well beyond the 100 vote threshold for retail amenities, Renaissance Downtowns acted by commissioning market and retail expert Kennedy Smith of the Clue Group to research the feasibility of a Brew pub/Restaurant in Downtown Bristol. Good news was brewing, as Kennedy informed Renaissance that the Brew pub/Restaurant was indeed a fully feasible entity in a future revitalized Downtown. Kennedy anticipates 55 percent of revenue generation from bar receipts, with another 45 percent attained through food sales, creating a balanced business model capable of sustainability. Due to the void in recurring public activities in Downtown Bristol, the Bristol Rising community powered the Market in the Piazza across the voting goal line. Already excited about the prospects of a public Piazza, members hoped to color their favorite amenity with the festivity of open air markets. Propelling past the 100 votes necessary for Piazza uses to trigger a feasibility study, Renaissance Downtowns matched Bristol Rising’s market support with investment, once again calling upon Kennedy Smith to conduct a “Market in the Piazza” feasibility study. Assuming a revitalized Downtown, future population absorption rates, and relatively low overhead costs, a market in a piazza would require management and willing parties. In conclusion, Kennedy’s research found that a market in a piazza would certainly be feasible in Downtown Bristol. “ Great idea.TheWillimantic Brewing Company is one of the best. Calvary Brewing is new and in Oxford, but possibly would be interested in setting up a brewing/restaurant location here.The assistant brewer for Calvary, Justin Benve- nuto, is from Bristol.” - LindsayVigue Likes Likes
  29. 29. 22 Boulevard School Feasibility Bristol Rising...Crowdsourced Placemaking Pequabuck Riverwalk Feasibility With historic Memorial Boulevard Middle School about to become vacant and housing a marvelous theatre, the Bristol Rising community strongly latched onto the venue as their desired destination for a Visual and Performing Arts Centre. With incorporated performance and arts spaces the hope is that the building could anchor a future cultural arts district Downtown. Responding to their vision, Bristol Rising answered the call with a five star performance, delivering north of 200 votes. Renaissance Downtowns took notice and partnered with Fletcher-Thompson, the architecture firm originally hired by the City of Bristol to conduct the 2008 Memorial Boulevard Theatre study. At the time, Fletcher-Thompson was given parameters by the City to create a state of the art performance theatre, with estimated construction costs in the $14 million range. Armed with new direction from Bristol Risers eager to use the building in its near-existent form, Fletcher-Thompson has begun preliminary research identifying some 42,000 square feet as potentially revenue generating. As studies continue, the firm will investigate ADA compliance requirements that accompany changing the use of the building from a school to a performance and arts venue. Thus far, the indication is that the feasibility challenge to the adaptive re-use is dependent on code compliance, proper programming, building management, and potential subsidies in utilizing the non-theatrical portions of the building.The Pequabuck River has become almost an afterthought of this generation due to its existence along the underutilized but beautiful Memorial Boulevard Park, and industrially laden Riverside Avenue. But it didn’t take long for the Pequabuck River Walk to make a splash with Bristol Risers, as many see the promise that a natural water feature can bring to a Downtown in need of some life. Though the Pequabuck River Walk did not cross the 200 vote threshold by the March 15, 2011 deadline, falling just a few votes shy, Renaissance Downtowns felt compelled to investigate the amenity based on the hard work and passion the Bristol Rising community exhibited. Renaissance then commissioned their team of engineers to study the feasibility of day lighting the river, and concluded that associated costs of such an endeavor would be in the range of $40-$60 million, making it economically unfeasible at this time. However, the ability to celebrate the already exposed but under appreciated Pequabuck River with a short term River Walk was considered feasible when part of a revitalization plan, to the tune of an estimated $150,000. In the future, with a vibrant Downtown and reinvigorated popularity of the Pequabuck River, it could become a feasible venture. Proposed Riverwalk (The Below Chart Represents an estimated cost of the proposed Riverwalk) Likes proposed riverwalk
  30. 30. 23 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Piazza Feasibility Bristol Says 242 LIKES Since day one a Piazza was the leading vote getter on The Bristol Rising community has spoken loud and clear in their desire for a central gathering place ripe for lounging, entertainment, and bustling activity reminiscent of European town squares. As the Piazza roared beyond the 200 vote goal, Renaissance Downtowns commissioned New York City consulting group, Project for Public Spaces, to conduct a feasibility study. PPS discovered that the Piazza is feasible when coupled with a mixed-use development strong community buy-in, programming management, and activation. Bristol Rising is already proving the first third of that equation positive. In addition, Renaissance Downtowns estimates that a Piazza would cost approximately $2 million, which could be absorbed by the proper densities and mixes of use. Also, in the Summer of 2011 Depot Square becomes a testing ground for a “Pop-up Piazza” that will further evaluate the potential future success of a permanent piazza, and may provide an exciting glimpse into the future of Downtown Bristol. Likes
  31. 31. 24 1. Bristol Beach 2. Flexible Lawn 3. Community Space 4. Food /Beer Area 5. Large Event Space Piazza Feasibility Bristol Rising... Crowdsourced Placemaking Piazza Cost Estimates Our experts Say Visualize a piazza (or plaza) surrounded by shops, offices, restaurants, cafes. Add some housing. Maybe a fountain with a man-made river that dumps into a pond with goldfish. Or possibly incorporate the Pequabuck River with a river walk. Benches, tables with umbrellas and chairs scattered around. Add some of those tables they have in parks down in Philadelphia where seniors living on Laurel St can meet for a cup of coffee and play chess or checkers. Sit and relax with an iced tea and read a book or listen to music on your iPod… Stop at the micro brewery for a beer, appetizer and/or sandwich. Pop in the bookstore and browse or use the free wireless and/or grab a pastry, mini cheesecake, or cupcake at the bakery along with a cup of coffee, cappuccino or latte and sit outside with a friend, spouse or family member and enjoy each other’s company. Pop-up Piazza Summer 2011
  32. 32. 25 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Committees The Parks, Open Space and Recreational committee focuses on adding vibrancy to the Downtown through the creation & activation of public spaces, and testing their feasibility. Recognizing how important public and recreational spaces were to the Bristol Rising community, with the top voted amenity a Public Piazza, the Parks, Open Space, and Recreational committee geared their efforts toward actualizing such a place. Our planning consultant Project for Public Spaces has conducted research to determine that 80 percent of the success of a public space hinges on proper management and smart programming. That is why the Parks, Open Space, and Recreational committee is currently working on implementing a “Pop-Up Piazza” this summer to test the market for such an amenity. With the help of PPS, Renaissance, and Bristol Rising, the committee will attempt to erase the downtown’s voided feel with that of a full-range network of integrated activities, situated on Depot Square near the potential future piazza site already incorporated into the Downtown master plan. Not only does this event test the market for such open space amenities, but is also provides a glimpse toward an exciting future. The Cultural Committee focuses on integrating Cultural and Entertainment programming and venue options in the Downtown that would create a rich fabric of activities, catapulting Downtown Bristol into a true regional destination. Working with the ideas of the Bristol Rising community the Cultural, Entertainment committee dissected ideas ranging from a Café/ Bookstore to a Live Music Venue. In order to determine the viability of these cultural and entertainment options, the committee has begun working with three Bristol Rising members, all local artists, to create a Fluid Storefront space which would test various uses. With the committee, Bristol Rising members, Renaissance, and community stakeholders working together, this Fluid Storefront project will be able to measure the feasibility of various uses while delivering traffic and excitement in the here-and-now, prior to any shovels hitting the ground. The Green Initiatives Committee focuses on Green Initiative options for the Downtown that increases livability and fosters an eco-friendly destination for all. Green initiatives and technology will continue to be a driving force in the US for many years to come. Already ahead of the curve in their desire for a Triple Bottom Line development Downtown, Bristol Rising has taken one third of that 3BL equation to heart, working hard to ensure an environmentally responsible product. In turn, they have provided the Green Initiatives committee plenty of green solutions to investigate for possible implementation. Among the researched and discussed amenities were renewable energy, LEED certified buildings, Solar Belly Trash Cans, rooftop agriculture, community garden plots, bicycle and pedestrian-oriented infrastructure, and porous pavement—among other green storm water solutions. Committee member continue to research policies, products and development techniques that exist locally, regionally and nationally and are relaying their findings to Renaissance to fully meet the standards of that ever-important environmentally responsible development element. The Land Use Committee focuses on various land uses within Downtown as well as “the management and modification of the natural environment or wilderness into the built environment”. The management of how land is used is primarily done through City zoning policy. It is these zoning codes that are the rules and regulations that determine what can be built where, how it can be built, as well as the management of that constructed locale. Committee members have discussed and researched policies that are being proposed locally by the Bristol Rising community as well as evaluating relevant regional and national land uses that could stimulate the greatest level of vibrancy for Downtown Bristol. Together, the committee has discussed topics ranging from rezoning of the industrial quarter on Riverside Avenue, to where to incorporate recreational uses such as rock climbing and indoor sports. They will continue exploring the feasibility of uses and make recommendations based on their findings, while channeling Bristol Rising’s suggested uses into the best physical placement for the Downtown’s future success. Parks, Open Space & Recreational Committee Renaissance Downtowns Cultural & Entertainment Committee Renaissance Downtowns Green Initiatives Committee Renaissance Downtowns Land Use Committee
  33. 33. 26 Committees The Public Outreach Committee focuses on a spectrum of public outreach initiatives that encourages the public to participate in the revitalization of Downtown Bristol via Bristol Rising. A primary driver of their efforts is to reach a far-ranging cross section of Bristol stakeholders and communicate to them the importance of voting for their desired Downtown amenities at The Public Outreach committee has provided constructive input into adapting a more streamlined experience on both and GoBristolSurvey. com, in addition to identifying businesses and community organizations to reach out to with information on the project. They have also offered solutions for capturing the voices of the non-computer savvy through physical surveys sheets. The committee has been collaborating on the design and implementation of Bristol Rising vendor materials including banners, standing signs, brochures, and mini-cards for distribution. Public participation is an integral component to every successful downtown and committee members continue to converse on the implementation of in-person, technological, and media based outreach tools, while harnessing and analyzing public feedback for outreach initiatives. The Economic Development Committee focuses on improving and growing the economic vitality of Downtown Bristol by determining strategies that retain existing businesses, attract new businesses, and promote local spending. Firmly in sync with the Triple Bottom Line approach, the Economic Development Committee core concentrates on the social and environmental aspects of the triad, but majors in generating local economic stimulators. Through the suggestions of the Bristol Rising community, the Economic Development Committee has researched the prospects of a unique independent retail and business base that would serve to provide the ingredients to burgeon a vibrant live, work, shop, learn, and play environment begetting of an authentic regional destination. The committee has studied the possible recruitment of businesses from ethnic markets and cultural restaurants, to clothing stores and cafes. Members continue to work on the benefits of certain policies, namely possible increased incentives in the Enterprise Zone, while working toward coordinating with local, state and federal initiatives, and suggesting potential policy recommendations. Renaissance Downtowns Economic Development Committee Renaissance Downtowns Public Outreach Committee The Transportation Committee has focused on both public and private transportation options in and around the Downtown to ensure the greatest connectivity, cultivating a vibrant regional destination through complimentary transportation amenities. Committee members have discussed policies that exist and are being proposed locally, regionally and nationally that can have a progressive impact on the Downtown revitalization. Transportation is an integral component to every successful downtown. Guided by Bristol Rising’s ideas ranging from passenger rail to intercity trolley and bike accessibility, the Transportation Committee has zeroed in on which organizations and decision makers to communicate with to best determine the short and long-term feasibility of potential transportation options. The Transportation Committee will continue to comb through transportation policy, make potential policy recommendations, and assess who is best to work with for multi-layer transit realization. Renaissance Downtowns Transportation Committee Bristol Rising...Crowdsourced Placemaking
  34. 34. 27 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Street Plan New Streets Main Arterials Local Streets Proposed Improvements The street plan diagram is intended to identify the various types of roads. The Main Arterials are all state routes. North Street Route 6, West Street Route 69, School Street & Riverside Avenue are Route 72. Local streets are broken down into two groups. Existing streets & streets for which there are proposed improvements. Finally, new streets are shown in green. The new streets proposed are intended to provide an appropriate level of city inter-connectivity by breaking up large contiguous city blocks. N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreetWESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t R I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D A V E N U E S C H O O L S T R EE T MAINStreet study area streets diagram
  35. 35. 28 Proposed Street Improvement Types The street types diagrams show illustrations on the street types being proposed for both new streets and improvements to existing streets. The diagram below is color coded to each of the five proposed street types. The color code easily allows for identification of the intended character of street improvements within the study area. Type A: This proposes Memorial Boulevard be reduced from two lanes of traffic in each direction to one lane of traffic in each direction which is more fitting to the current vehicular volumes that exist. The lane reduction will allow for an aisle of reverse angle parking in each direction on the boulevard as well as bump-outs at new and existing pedestrian crossings. Much of the modification to this road can be done with lower impact infrastructure improvements allowing the capital costs to remain low. Type B: North Main Street currently has an amenable level of improvements to the street infrastructure everywhere North of Center Street. Additional improvements are proposed for the remainder of the road to the south. Infrastructure improvements will involve a road dieting effort and will lead to significant traffic calming when completed. Type C: This Commercial Street is typical of Main Street. This street type will promote a balance between the needs of pedestrians, businesses and vehicles while promoting economic development. Type D: Neighborhood Streets are intended to serve as residential streets. Common to the theme for residential streets is the need to elevate the ground floor living space three to five feet above the road. This grade change allows for residential privacy even when the face of the building is within a few feet of the public right of way. Type E: Green Lanes are small one way roads intended to provide right of way access to spaces such as back lots & ancillary dwelling units and rear parking structures. Green lanes play an important role of allowing for the utilization of spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible. Green lanes tend to be used sparingly. Type A: Memorial Boulevard Type B: North Main Street Type C: Commercial Street Type D: Neighborhood Street Type E: Green Lane N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t r I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D a V E N U E S C H O O L s T R EE T MAINStreet Street types heirarchy diagram (proposed new streets and streets with infrastructure improvements) Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future
  36. 36. 29 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission On Street Parking Plan The on street parking within the study area is potentially a tremendous underutilized resource with only limited rights of way currently having on street parking infrastructure. The Diagram to the right shows the opportunity to have contiguous areas of on street parking. On street parking has two benefits to the neighborhoods. It allows for additional parking to accommodate higher densities and calm traffic. Additional parking means there will be more opportunity for increased building densities on parcels which will in turn add to the tax roles and ultimately reduce tax burdens. Parallel Parking Reverse Angle Parking N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t R I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D A V E N U E S C H O O L S T R EE T MAINStreet study area On street parking inventory diagram (existing on street parking included)                                        
  37. 37. 30 Off Street Parking Plan New off street parking is being proposed for various locations throughout the downtown based on the level of density that the parcels are reasonably expected to support. Many of the proposed off street parking pools are actually just the reorganization of existing off street parking parcels to allow for the opportunity to accommodate park sharing which will utilize these parking pools 80-90% of the time instead of the 30-40% they currently achieve. Structured parking is also being proposed for select sites within the downtown based on either their need to accommodate a higher level of density or in the case of the new departure neighborhood the opportunity to retrofit existing structures which could not realize their highest and best use with surface parking alone. Proposed Off Street Parking Existing Off Street Parking Proposed Structured Parking N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t R I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D A V E N U E S C H O O L S T R EE T MAINStreet study area off street parking inventory diagram (existing & proposed) Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future                                        
  38. 38. 31 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission The Land uses diagram identifies parcels which will either experience a significant impact from neighborhood improvements or are identified as parcels for new programming. The diagram allows for a quick reference of the types of uses being proposed for parcels within the study area. Mixed-use parcels are predominant in the central areas of downtown with many locations slated for residential along the transitional zones of neighborhoods. The diagram also shows the level of mixing of the various types of uses including open spaces. The adjacency of uses plays an important role in the walkablity and experience people will have while in the downtown. Proposed Land Uses Mixed Use Open Space Residential Office Civic/Institutional Retail N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t r I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D a V E N U E S C H O O L s T R EE T MAINStreet study area proposed land uses diagram
  39. 39. 32 Parking Residential Office Civic/Institutional Retail Downtown is often considered the face of a community – essentially, a representation to visitors and the outside world of what a community is, at the core, all about. The experiences within Downtown neighborhoods are often defined by the uses that populate the ground floors, which form the fabric of the pedestrian experience. Whether it be a local market, cafés and restaurants with outdoor dining or residents enjoying a diverse and exciting atmosphere, it is the street level activity that provides the reason to “be downtown.” With this in mind, it is important to provide the right mix of ground floor uses to create an interesting patchwork of activity. Shopping, dining, relaxing, walking or simply people watching become activities that stimulate both the mind and the senses while drawing residents and businesses to downtown, followed by visitors looking for a taste of this unique and exciting experience. The Renaissance Downtowns plan includes a full range of uses at street level to create this enticing atmosphere. Residential units and offices on upper floors provide the critical mass of economic activity to sustain local merchants and restaurateurs along with social and cultural amenities. The goal for Bristol’s revitalization is to provide this full range of experiences for those who work or live within downtown that creates a true amenity for the entire Bristol community to enjoy. N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t R I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D A V E N U E S C H O O L S T R EE T MAINStreet study area proposed ground floor uses diagram Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future Ground Floor Uses
  40. 40. 33 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Gathering Places Become the Heart of the Community Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed & Ex. Civic Buildings proposed Public squares at the municipal block & proposed train stationbrackett park with proposed improvements memorial boulevard park and proposed Boulevard school amphitheater proposed piazza at depot square proposed public squares at federal street and bingham school proposed public squares at progress square building & former amory
  41. 41. 34 Gathering Places Become the Heart of the Community Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed Adaptive Reuse Proposed Parking Lots Proposed Parking Garages Proposed & Ex. Civic Buildings Parks Open Space Strategically planned Parks and Open Space are essential to any successful Urban Plan. Downtown Bristol has the advantage over many other communities in that it contains two distinct Urban Parks including Memorial Boulevard Park and Brackett Park. Memorial Boulevard Park contains a proud collection of War Veteran Memorials that honor service men and women who have fought for our Country. Boulevard Park also contains several aesthetic water features including the Pequabuck River, the use of which has been a large focus of the Bristol Rising Crowd. In the hopes of increasing the usage of the Boulevard Park, the Renaissance Downtowns Parks Open Space and Recreation Committee and the consultants from Project for Public Spaces have discussed items that can be programmed in the park to enhance its use while always respecting the Veteran Memorials. The Parks and Open Space Plan reflect several improvements to the Park including the addition of a Riverwalk, a potential amphitheater, several gazebos and the calming of Memorial Boulevard itself. Brackett Park has recently been renovated by the City and not only provides a great Urban Park environment for relaxation and recreation but also serves as home to many youth programs in the warm weather months. In an effort to build upon the current programming in Brackett Park, design recommendations have added additional trail connections to the portion of the Pequabuck River just west of the park as well as several open air pavilions that can be used for small vending for events, markets and picnicking. Throughout the remainder of the Downtown the plan recommends a series of greens and pocket parks that provide downtown residents, visitors and workers the opportunity to gather in a relaxing yet vibrant environment. Lastly the plan illustrates additional streetscaping to build upon current efforts on North Main and Main Street as well as the public Piazza discussed in further detail within this report. N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t r I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D a V E N U E S C H O O L s T R EE T MAINStreet study area proposed open and civic spaces Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future
  42. 42. 35 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Walkability Creates A Healthier Community The benefits of walkable neighborhoods include significant health advantages for those who live and/or work within compact, mixed-use neighborhoods, especially smaller “Boutique Cities” such as Bristol. These benefits include: Compact mixed-use neighborhood design fosters more walking and therefore more exercise. • Live-work environments encourage walking as a mode of transit, providing additional opportunities for physical exercise • Proper traffic calming along with the existence of walking paths and pedestrian connectivity encourages local residents and employees to engage in walking activities not as a mode of transit but for the purpose of exercise • Studies have demonstrated that compact urban design provides demonstrable health benefits in terms of lower rates of obesity and diabetes as compared to suburban sprawl living environments • Walkable, urban environments encourage individuals to participate in more social behavior, which in turn promotes more walking activity, as opposed to the auto-dominated suburban setting which promotes more sedentary behavior. Environmental Health Benefits • Walkable neighborhoods that de-emphasize auto use provide a healthier environment, especially in regard to cleaner air • More walkability and less use of the auto creates a safer street grid, especially utilizing concepts including “complete streets” that provide for transportation networks that allow for and foster both walking and biking options Social Health Benefits • Compact walkable neighborhoods promote significantly more social interaction ,which provides health benefits through higher rates of happiness and less reported isolation as compared to suburban sprawl settings N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t r I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D a V E N U E S C H O O L s T R EE T MAINStreet study area pedestrian connectivity with significant pedestrian intersections diagram
  43. 43. 36 The Efficiency of Biking After decades of declining use, and being pushed to the margins of society—and our roadways—Americans are increasingly returning to bicycling in record numbers. This may be attributed to any number of related factors, but it mostly demonstrates the growing need to accommodate bicycling in our communities’ physical and social fabric. Indeed, our country’s most healthy, economically competitive, and desirable places are some of the most bicycle-friendly. The Bristol Conceptual Bicycle Plan proposes a network of bikeways connecting the study area with other points of interest, such as parks, schools, and other areas of employment. The plan also employs the 1-mile “bicycle shed, ” which outlines the approximate distance that may be covered in a five-minute bicycle ride. This is an important measure, as the average bicyclist can travel at least three times faster than the average pedestrian. So, just as a 5- or 10- minute walk should be convenient and enjoyable for the pedestrian, so too should it be for the average bicyclist, who is able to cover much more ground—one to three miles easily—with an equal outlay of time. By this measure, Bristol could be easily—and quickly—traversed by bicycle should it choose to invest in bicycling as a mode of transportation. D E P O T S Q U A R E R O U T E 6 R O U T E 7 2 W O L C O T T R O A D M U Z Z Y F I E L D proposed regional bicycle connections diagram bicycle lock street infrastructure dedicated pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure shared road access: designated bicycle lanes Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future
  44. 44. 37 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Illustrative Master Plan Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed Adaptive Reuse Proposed Parking Lots Proposed Parking Garages Existing Buildings The past year has seen the Renaissance team, in partnership with the City of Bristol, meet with doz- ens of stakeholder groups, engage hundreds if not thousands of local residents, conduct planning work- shops and study economic feasibility, environmental conditions, infrastructure capacity and the wants and needs of the local market. The illustrative plan to the right demonstrates the cul- mination of these efforts and provides the next chap- ter in the storied history of Bristol. A story of transi- tion and transformation. A story rooted in centuries of tradition and culture with an eye toward a future that will provide a reinvented downtown that will be- come the pride of Bristol and a model for the region. With a full range of uses that include new construc- tion, adaptive reuse, open space and public plazas within a true mixed-use environment, Downtown Bristol is well positioned to capitalize on regional and national trends that have created tremendous pent up demand for environments that provide the option to live, work, learn, shop and play within a walkable, traditional neighborhood setting. The stage is set for Bristol to take a bold step toward a bright and exciting tomorrow. Today is a new chap- ter for Bristol that blends a rich past with the desires and wishes of current residents.Through the creation and subsequent implementation of this vision, Bristol will be the recipient of economic, social and environ- mental benefits while providing the community with a true downtown amenity. N ort h S tr e e t NORTHMAINSTREET C E N T E R S tr e e t WESTStreet WESTSt S O U T H S tr e e t S O U T H S tr e e t r I V E R S I D EM E M O R I A L B O U L E V A R D a V E N U E S C H O O L s T R EE T MAINStreet downtown Study area illustrative plan
  45. 45. 38 Piazza Energizes Downtown Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future
  46. 46. 39 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission larger Buildings residential Mixed-use (4 -5 stories) Mid-rise Mixed-use (8-12 stories) storefront coMMercial parking structures adaptive reuse stacked townhouse with live/work opt. townhouse with live/work opt. Stories: 4 to 5» Building Depth: 60ft» Parking: Remote parking in» structure and/ or surface park- ing off lot Ground floor: Retail or» Service or Residential; whenever residential is on the ground floor, multiple entrances are required Upper floors: Typically resi-» dential with center hall cor- ridor Stories: 8 to 12 stories» Building Depth: typically 70’ for» condominium or hotel and 110’ for offices Parking: Structured parking» nearby Ground floor: Hotel, Retail,» Service or Residential; whenever residential is on the ground floor, multiple entrances are encouraged Stories: 3 to 4» Building Depth: Varies, typi-» cally 60’ or 80’ deep Unit width: varies to accom-» modate retailer format – typ- ically 20’ to 100’ Parking: Shared surface» parking or remote structured parking at side or rear Ground Floor: typically retail» or service Upper floors: Office or resi-» dential Stories: Varies from 2 to 5» above grade Building Depth: 120’ or» 180’ Unit width: typically» greater than 230’ and less than 360’ Parking: Up to one level» below grade and as many as 5 levels above grade Ground Floor: typically» parking located at the cen- ter of a block away from street view Upper floors: Rooftop» agriculture, solar panel array Stories: Adaptive reuse of» existing Building Depth: Existing» Unit width: Varies» Parking: Shared surface» parking or remote struc- tured parking at side or rear Ground Floor: typically» retail or service Upper floors: Office or» residential Stories: 3 1/2 to 4» Building Depth: 45’» Unit width: 18’ to 30’ modules» depending on unit sizes and types Parking: Either attached garages» under units or parking under the building Ground floor uses: typically resi-» dential with stoops however the occasional live-work retail, profes- sional or service use may occur at certain blocks or corners Upper floors: two townhouses or» one townhouse over a flat Stories: 2 1/2 to 3» Building Depth: 45’» Unit width: 18’ to 30’ modules depend-» ing on unit sizes and types Parking: Attached garages under units» Ground floor: typically residential with» stoops however the occasional live- work retail, professional or service use may occur at certain blocks or corners Upper floors: residential» ©2010urbandesignassociates depot square: bristol, connecticut | april 2011 | urban design associates depot square: kit of partsBuilding Typologies
  47. 47. 40 A key component to urban planning is the proper massing of buildings to ensure a cohesive downtown fabric which respects existing natural settings and neighborhoods. As can be seen in the images on this page where the darker, brown buildings represent new construction while the lighter beige buildings are existing buildings, proper massing ensures a number of key planning objectives: • Building massing and heights are dependent upon their location. Namely, those areas that are near parkland or single family home neighborhoods should contain buildings that are more in scale with the surroundings (less massing / height) • As you transition from parkland and residential neighborhoods, massing increases until you reach the downtown core • A downtown core should receive the most significant massing . This provides a “sense of place” that you are truly “downtown” while providing the necessary densities needed to sustain a mixed-use neighborhood • In the downtown core especially, it is important not to have large gaps between building structures. Public open spaces are often enclosed, at least partially, to ensure a street wall to avoid “missing teeth” within the center of downtown • Respecting the suburban nature of a City such as Bristol, even the downtown core should contain massing that is in harmony with the neighborhoods surroundings. Therefore, most buildings are likely to be between 3 and 5 stories in height, with strategically placed locations that are appropriate for taller buildings. • Proper massing within the downtown core, emphasizing 3-5 story buildings also provides for a human scale for the pedestrian, as opposed to a wall of very tall buildings which may detract from the sense of place, especially for a “boutique city” such as Bristol. Tomorrow... A Vision for Bristol’s Future Views to the Future
  48. 48. 41 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Depot Square Yesterday The Depot Square site has a storied history as the center of downtown Bristol long before Urban Renewal took hold in the middle of the 20th century. For much of its existence, the site was divided by two essential typologies: an undeveloped area with a creek running through it on the western portion with a strong urban fabric to the east along Main Street. Historically, Main Street was the center of town with a traditional double sided streetscape of successful businesses that created a downtown fabric reminiscent of what downtowns were in days long past. One could feel the vitality and energy along this corridor, with a network of small, integrated streets and alleys. The devastation of the 1955 flood witnessed the end of the historic Main Street era in downtown Bristol, as Depot Square became submerged, only to re-emerge as a shell of its former self during the era of Urban Renewal.
  49. 49. 42 Depot Square Today For the past few years, Depot Square has laid mostly dormant. After the failed efforts of Urban Renewal which saw an ill-conceived downtown mall take hold and subsequently fail on the parcel, the property became a pile of rubble before being cleared in an effort to allow for redevelopment of the site in a responsible and forward thinking manner. Today, the roughly 17 acres of mostly vacant land on Depot Square may be Bristol’s greatest asset. The rationale for this is simple: had the site been developed over the past 20 years it likely would have been witness to yet another strip center or poorly planned single use, suburban style development. Luckily for the Bristol Community, the site is now available for redevelopment as a game changer not only for Depot Square, but the entire downtown. The parcel is the centerpiece of a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan and now represents the tremendous promise of a greater future that can once again harken the glory days of the past when downtown Bristol was a center of commerce and activity. Depot square existing conditions aerial photo with boundary Contextual map with downtown study area and depot square boundaries Depot Square... The Catalyst C e nt e r S T R EE T Nort hmain STREET riv e rsid e av e nu e mainstreet summ erstreet
  50. 50. 43 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Depot Square Tomorrow Depot Square, which at present is mostly vacant property, will soon become the jewel of downtown and the catalyst of a revitalization effort that will be a model for mixed-use redevelopment throughout the region. Utilizing New Urbanist planning principles coupled with innovative crowdsourcing methodologies, Renaissance Downtowns and the City of Bristol are on the precipice of creating a vibrant mixed-use downtown centered on Depot Square as the natural point of focus. Through the Bristol Rising! Crowdsourced Placemaking program, Renaissance has looked to the residents of Bristol to help guide the redevelopment process, providing tremendous insight as to what people would like to see in the downtown in which they wish to live, work or visit in the near future. This provides the opportunity to reconnect the lost street grid of historic main street including the presence of a double sided main street that will build off the remaining historic structures on the street’s east side. Along the connected street grid we see two sided activity on North Main and Riverside Ave as well, creating a “sense of place” that is not found in today’s suburban communities. This provides the opportunity to employ a full range of uses, driven by a strong residential component on the Depot Square site and throughout downtown. depot square contextual map depot square concept plan illustration depot square LOCUS MAP c e nt e r str e e t riv e rsid e av e nu e nort hmain street rail rig ht of way Strawberry Festival, Farmers Mkt. 34 Likes A Piazza 248 Likes Restaurant Row 112 Likes Market in the Piazza 149 Likes 1. Mixed Use, Residential, & Park- ing 2. Laurel Square 3. Office, Condo, & Mixed Use Retail 4. Station Square Potential Com- muter Rail Station 5. Mixed Use & Parking 6. Promenade withWater Feature 7. Hotel & Condominiums 8. Commercial, Retail, Residential 9. Pequabuck RiverWater Feature 1 2 3 4 56 7 8 9 C e nt e r S T R EE T Nort hmain STREET riv e rsid e av e nu e mainstreet summ erstreet
  51. 51. 44 Depot Square Tomorrow Depot Square... The Catalyst The images and renderings on this page represent the look and feel of a revitalized Depot Square, examined in a finer grain that gives insight as to the true nature of what downtown Bristol will become through the City’s revitalization efforts. As we focus on the southern area of Depot Square, we witness the activity in and around a grand piazza – an idea forwarded by the Bristol Rising! crowd. A boutique hotel will be located at this location, along with a greater array of uses, including residential options. This area will be a true center of commerce and entertainment as the real “heart of downtown.” Pedestrian friendly features are prevalent throughout Depot Square, utilizing innovative parking management strategies to help drive economic activity while calming the streets. One can almost sense the excitement that will be present at this site, as residents, workers and visitors all intermingle within the piazza, experiencing a distinctive taste of urbanism within the “Boutique City” of Bristol. Nort hmain STREET riv e rsid e av e nu e mainstreet summ e r str e e t
  52. 52. 45 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Depot Square Tomorrow Depot Square presents a true mixed-use neighborhood with a significant office component along with a range of residential options that will include rentals, condos and flats above ground floor retail. Located across from City Hall this area will provide a complement to the Civic Uses, providing daytime workers an opportunity for outdoor restaurant options, convenient shopping and a pleasant experience to break up the workday. This area is also notable for the potential reintroduction of train service to Bristol – a notion that Governor Malloy has already discussed publicly. The reinstitution of commuter rail would provide an additional benefit to the local community and the region, fed by the ridership represented by the residents and workers of Downtown Bristol. As connectivity is a goal of good planning, efforts will be taken to tie the Federal Hill neighborhood on the opposite side of the tracks into the downtown fabric, extending the benefits of Depot Square’s mixed-use setting to the neighboring residential community adjacent to the east. Nort hmain STREET rail rig ht of way
  53. 53. 46                                   Depot Square Program & Phasing Plan                                                          Depot Square... The Catalyst 5 4 1 2 3 244 633 169 369 66 Nort hmain STREET riv e rsid e av e nu e mainSTREET summ er STREE T
  54. 54. 47 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission A Place for Everyone
  55. 55. 48 Neighborhood Districts Enhancing Bristol’s Downtown Neighborhoods The downtown is comprised of eight unique character districts offering opportunities for redevelopment. Our planning team has studied each district to determine the assets to build upon and the opportunities for revitalization. The districts are: • Depot Square • North Gateway • New Departure • Historic Main Street • West Gateway • South Gateway • Memorial Park Boulevard • Riverside District In addition to the Depot Square neighborhood already presented, the remaining seven districts describe the existing character, proposed character, assets to build upon and opportunities for revitalization. proposed study area neighborhoods diagram
  56. 56. 49 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission West Gateway is bounded by Laurel Street to the North, Church Street to the East, South Street to the South, and West Street to the West. Much of this Neighborhood is currently utilized well. The neighborhood has a strong identity as the western gateway to the downtown at the intersection of West and School Streets which have a number of historic mixed use buildings much like the character of the Historic Main Street neighborhood. The Northeastern edge of the site has opportunity for the urban infill along both North Main Street and Brackett Park. West Gateway S C H O O L S T R EE T CHURCHSTREET WESTSTREET L A U R E L S T R EE T U P S O N S T R EE T Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed Adaptive Reuse Proposed Parking Lots Proposed Parking Garages Existing Buildings WEst gateway contextual map WEst gateway concept plan illustration WEst gateway LOCUS MAP Assets to Build UponAssets to Build Upon
  57. 57. 50 West Gateway                                                     Enhancing Bristol’s Downtown Neighborhoods Our vision for West Gateway begins with a plan to enhance the vibrancy of Bracket Park through the addition of open air market buildings, improved parking, townhomes on the park and a mixed use retail/ residential building to the north on North Main Street. Each of these buildings has been placed to screen the view of parking lots from the street and increase the range of program activities in the park and adjoining retail uses. To rectify the poor existing conditions at many of the buildings surrounding the intersection of West Street and School Street, we recommend a series of improvements to promote on-street parking, pedestrian crosswalks, façade enhancements and adaptive reuse of the aging buildings in this area. Opportunities for ReinvestOpportunities for Reinvest
  58. 58. 51 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission South Gateway South Gateway mainly consists of two large blocks of contiguous land; the block containing the Chick Miller Site and the block which contains a series of institutional use buildings. The institutions present in this block include the telephone exchange, a church, the school administrative unit, and the former site of the Bristol Press which is currently for sale. There is considerable surface parking at each parcel which could benefit from a centralized parking arrangement and open up new opportunities for urban infill. Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed Adaptive Reuse Proposed Parking Lots Proposed Parking Garages Existing Buildings South Gateway is bounded by Church/Riverside Avenue to the North, Main Street to the East, South Street to the South, and West/Upson Street to the West. The Former Chick Miller site in combination with the soon to be vacated Girls Club on Upson Street comprise the primary opportunity sites in the district due to their prominent location at the gateway to downtown Bristol from Wolcott Road which is the main route connecting Bristol to Waterbury, CT. S O U T H S T R EE T CHURCHSTREET WESTSTREET R I V E R S I D E A V E N U E U P S O N S T R EE T MAINSTREET sOUTH gateway contextual map SOUTH gateway concept plan illustration SOUTH gateway LOCUS MAP Assets to Build UponAssets to Build Upon
  59. 59. 52 South Gateway                                          Enhancing Bristol’s Downtown Neighborhoods            Opportunities for ReinvestOpportunities for Reinvest
  60. 60. 53 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission New Departure Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed Adaptive Reuse Proposed Parking Lots Proposed Parking Garages Existing Buildings New Departure is bounded by Race Street to the North, Richmond Place & Summer Street to the East, Center Street to the South, and West Street to the West. New Departure is the former site of and automotive manufacturing complex which has come and gone. Some of the former mill buildings remain in place today and house a variety of different types of office and manufacturing operations. The unique nature of these former manufacturing buildings define the character of the neighborhood. C E N T E R S T R EE T R A C E S T R EE T nORTHMAINSTREET WESTSTREET SUMMERSTREET NEW DEPARTURE contextual map NEW DEPARTURE concept plan illustration nEW DEPARTURE LOCUS MAP existing zipp property could become lofts brick industrial building At West St. could be used for a grocery market former auto assembly building could become a parking structure & lofts a plaza could be built in front of the existing progress square 1. Proposed Grocery 1 Assets to Build Upon
  61. 61. 54 New Departure                                          Enhancing Bristol’s Downtown Neighborhoods            New Departure offers great opportunities to adapt large surface parking lots & out moded industrial space into a walkable neighborhood of lofts, apartments, offices and retail. sTACKED TOWNHOMES WILL FIt WELL AT THE TRANSITIONAL AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT TOWNHOMES WITH SMALL OFFICE & RETAIL SPACES WILL BE ATTRACTIVE TO MANY FIRST FLOOR RETAIL sTACKED TOWNHOMES MODERN FACADES ON OLDER BUILDINGS NEW BUILDINGS CAN MIMIC THE Rhythm AND SCALE OF EXISTING BUILDINGS Opportunities for Reinvest
  62. 62. 55 B R I S T O L R I S I N G Preliminary submission Riverside The Riverside Neighborhood is bounded by the rail line “R.O.W” to the North, Riverside Avenue to the East, the Pequabuck River to the South, and the electrical sub-station to the West. The neighborhood is defined by the existing and historical patterns of industrial activities which run along the entire length of Riverside Avenue. Riverside Avenue is the central spine of public access to and from the neighborhood as well as the designated truck route and state road (route 72) running through downtown. The neighborhood is defined by three prominent mill buildings: The Carousel Museum Building, The Alloy Metals Building, and The Sessions Building. There is considerable opportunity for revitalization of these buildings as well as urban infill between them on under utilized parcels. Proposed Open Space Proposed Plazas & Courts Proposed New Buildings Proposed Adaptive Reuse Proposed Parking Lots Proposed Parking Garages Existing Buildings R I V E R S I D E AV E N U ER A I L R I G H T O F W AY P E Q U A B U C K R I V E R RIVERSIDE contextual map RIVERSIDE concept plan illustration rIVERSIDE LOCUS MAP Assets to Build Upon