Monday, May 13, 2013

Up-close and Personal with West Chester, PA

Last week, my wife and I went to a restaurant in West Chester Borough, the county seat of Chester County, where we attended a marketing event related to my current job.  Following that event, we took a walk around the borough and observed the scenery.

Over roughly the last 20 years or so, the borough has experienced a period of urban renewal.  Gay Street has become a hot bed for retail and restaurant use, boosting pedestrian activity.  Improvements to the streetscape such as wider sidewalks to accommodate sidewalk cafes and pedestrians, light posts, and flower boxes all boosted the pedestrian activity.

This street has quite often been used as a guinea pig in my urban planning classes I took at West Chester University when discussing urban renewal and downtown revitalization.  In my planning design class, we took a field trip to this street and pointed out the aspects used in this urban renewal project.  We acknowledged various design aspects like uniform setbacks, the historical architecture preserving the character of this historic borough, the tree-lined streets, landscaping, unidirectional traffic flow to name a few and how each of those combined to make for a very efficient public pedestrian-friendly place.
Here is our walk down Gay Street in West Chester Borough.