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Delta Township/Grand Ledge
Lansing Community College
Michigan State University
Out of Area
North Washington to open to vehicles
edited June 2007
Crews on Saturday will begin work to open the 200 and 300 blocks of North Washington Square to vehicle traffic.
I rode my bike through Washington today and saw them cutting down all the trees on the two blocks. I was just coming to the website to let everybody know, only to find out it had already been on here. Thanks sabatoa for posting this. It will be really nice to see the blocks opened up, I'm now hoping that maybe some ground floor retail can move in to these blocks.
I was relieved to read in the paper, today, that the new streetscape will include trees and raingardens. I wasn't ever really happy with the streetscaping (or lack there of) when they reopened the 100 north block back to traffic. It's very bare and sterile looking, and I'm happy to hear that these new blocks will include some greenery. For as poor as the pedestrian mall was for the area, the greenery was nice.
As for retail, there aren't too many groundfloors in that area that are physically capable of including retail.
To give a little perspective, here is an aerial I had put together a few months back, courtesy of Google Maps, showing the parts of Washington Square that remain a ped mall. The two southern blocks within the highlighted are what's currently being restored.
The upper three blocks run through the heart of the Lansing Community College campus, and were ceded, by the city of Lansing, to that institution in November of 2003.
Some views I got this afternoon of the reconstruction, which is well underway. They are wasting no time. I was instantly struck by how much this will visually open up the the northern end of downtown to the southern end. It's a much great effect than I'd even imagined. There was a time long before I was born where Washington Avenue had a "big city" feel to it. From what I've seen, continuing to open the mall lends some of that feel back to the square.
300 North Block
200 North Block
My only gripe is that even reopening the mall will do nothing to make up for the loss of all of the structures demolished along North Washington Square. There is not one historic building left in this entire two blocks, and
of the modern ones, IMO, are terrible-looking. Without the ability for ground-floor retail, and no residential along the block, there won't be much that can be done to revive the area until some of these structures are brought down, and that's still many years/decades off, IMO.
As the first block to be reopened, the 100 block of Washington parking stays pretty busy, but I think these 2 new blocks will show the emptyness after 5:00, especially in the parking. But maybe, as it gets closer to LCC, the parking will be used by students taking night classes.
To tell you the truth, I'm not so sure it will do that. I'm always surprised about how many spaces Cooley students take up, at night. You can be down on the square at midnight, and between the clubs and Cooley Students, you can literally have the 200, 300, and 400 blocks completely filled on the square, and 100 South and 100 North with a significant amount of cars. It'll be very apparent, though, on weekend afternoons. It'll still look much better than a perpetually empty pedestrian mall, though, I would think.
The key is that this opens up the street to be redevoleped with retail and residential. I think we'll see something relatively soon, like next year.
I'd been going to LCC for the last two years and have spent much time in Washington Square, reading class books and stuff. Its funny because although it was a nice place to sit, it did feel quite desolate and for the longest I was thinking it should be opened up. I was quite surprised to read one day that they were planning it. Its like they read my mind. The way I see it, it is kinda true that it would be hard to do much ground floor retail at this point but that's ok. It will still be a great improvement because of what it does. Just the not looking like some desolate man made concrete desert of nothing (at times lol) will be good. Moreso than that though I believe the opening up will be great because it can introduce some students more towards the businesses in the downtown area and maybe provide greater traffic flow in general. You guys talk a lot about the need for parking improvements so the additional conveniently located spaces can only help when things get busy. And because it has a few large buildings and later leads towards the restaurants/retail etc. that are more tightly knit in proximity to eachother it indeed "lends some of that feel back" that LMich has mentioned. And no leisure space will really be lost as there is a park nearby, etc. That's my two cents.
Welcome to the site!
I think many people shared your sentimate regarding Washington Sq, I'm still suprised it has taken this long for it to be reopened.
BTW, here are some photos of the square not that long ago:
An example of what we can expect from the 100 north block:
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