PIQUA — The four-day zoning code design overhaul that was charrette week for CodePIQUA came to a close on Thursday evening.
Code Studio teamed up with professionals from Nelson & Nygaard and Gamble and Associates to tour the city of Piqua and receive local input for updates to the city’s zoning and subdivision codes as well as for a new transportation plan, which the city has never had before.
“There is a lot of good planning to build on,” Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio said during a closing presentation held Thursday evening. Einsweiler said that the goal of the CodePIQUA project is to improve the sociability, sustainability, and liveability of Piqua.
“As an outsider … it’s an amazing place,” Einsweiler said about Piqua. Einsweiler complimented the trail system running through the city, the city’s archectural history, and community involvement.
“On the other hand, you have some challenges,” Einsweiler said, noting that Piqua has a number of wide streets and that the traffic volume does not justify having roads with four lanes. “All of them could be three lanes at most.”
Einsweiler later suggested adding protected bike lanes to roads like Looney Road and Clark Avenue with buffers to keep the vehicle traffic separate from the bicycling traffic. He suggested possibly adding a dual bike lane on the east side of Looney Road and adding individual bike lanes on each side of Clark Avenue without losing the on-street parking on Clark Avenue.
Einsweiler said that there are missing connections from the trail system, mentioning the difficulty of getting from the trail system to Kroger.
“It’s treated like an interstate,” he said about the trail system. Einsweiler later suggested adding small loops to the trail system.
Part of the goal of the transportation plan is also to work on suggestions for removing truck traffic from the core of the downtown area unless they are making local deliveries. On a preliminary drawing, suggested truck routes included utilizing Statler Road to connect eventually to Covington Avenue and County Road 25-A connecting to State Route 66. Intersection designs would also need to be reviewed in areas for those suggestions.
Code Studio and their team also offered suggestions for redevelopment ideas, from townhouses to mixed-use buildings.
Einsweiler suggested having additional housing product, specifically townhouses, for places like the former Bennett and Wilder school sites. He also suggested townhouses for the corner of Downing and Sycamore, where the city already owns the site of a former car wash with plans to turn it into a fire station. Einsweiler suggested that multi-family housing stock like townhouses versus single-family residential homes could be appealing for young professionals as well as empty nesters looking to downsize.
Einsweiler suggested parks and public open spaces as possible uses for former industrial sites in the Shawnee neighborhood as well as at the former Favorite Hill school site.
Einsweiler and his team also suggested mixed-use buildings as possible development ideas for across from Lock 9 Park on Spring Street and also across the east Main Street bridge as it connects to the downtown. Drawings of suggested buildings showed them against the sidewalk with parking behind the building.
Einsweiler also briefly went over a proposed transformation to the downtown outside of the Piqua Public Library, which he referred to as “the quad.” He suggested removing the small parking lots at the intersection of Main and High streets and adding greenspaces. Einsweiler also included the suggestion of adding a decorative fountain to the intersection of Main and High streets that would act as a roundabout or traffic circle.
From this point, Code Studio will begin drafting a transportation plan along with updates for the zoning and subdivision codes. The transportation plan could be up for approval from the Piqua City Commission and adopted as early as this fall, but the updates to the zoning and subdivision codes are not expected to be ready until next year.
For more information, visit CodePiqua.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org