Downtown Mobile

Location: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Project Categories: UrbanismCodes
Year Started: 2012
Size: 643 acres

The Code and Downtown Plan for Mobile sought to rectify a number of inadequacies within the existing system. The most visible problems being a lack of retail vitality and high vacancy rates along the area’s primary corridor, Dauphin Street.

A strong youth, nightlife, and music scene exists currently, and a new plan had to take lighting, parking, safety, and noise into account. The antiquated and ponderously large existing downtown code document was also contributing to unnecessary difficulty in permitting renovations and construction.

A new zoning code was proposed, meant to streamline the planning process and make the downtown area more attractive to investment. Traffic patterns were studied and recommendations made to improve the pedestrian and cycling experience downtown. New traffic calming methods and street alignments were also proposed to more efficiently direct auto traffic in the core. This included the conversion of a number of one-way streets to two-way thoroughfares.

As the Design progressed it became clear that the solutions for Downtown as a whole could not only extend the length of Dauphin, but required surgical interventions in the centers of the surrounding neighborhoods as well. This complex collection of recommendations was processed into a remarkably concise public policy document, which should help to efficiently guide the cities continued renewal well into the future.

Existing: Illustrative plan showing the conditions at the time of the November 2012 charette. Note in particular the highway cloverleaf to the southwest around the Fort Conde neighborhood. Proposed: Illustrative plan incorporating the various special projects. It does not include the infill interventions and street improvements, which are invisioned as a result of the new code. Existing: Civic Center. Proposed: Civic Center. Existing: Fort Conde neighborhood wrapped in a highway clover. Proposed: Transforming the freeway into a boulevard at grade and building out a walkable neighborhood in its place. Existing: Highline Parkway. Proposed: Highline Parkway.

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