Federal Street in Youngstown, Ohio, was converted to a pedestrian mall in the late 1970s as part of an urban planning initiative by the city. With the intent of making the area more people friendly, motorists were no longer able to drive through this important area of downtown. The area soon lost a number of its businesses and the plaza concept fell out of favor with local residents and business owners. It soon became apparent that partial or complete removal of the plaza would benefit the city.
The city asked ms consultants to study the issues at the current location. With this project, they identified multiple goals for this urban revitalization project:
There were several challenges to revitalizing this downtown area. The first was the network of existing utilities that had developed over nearly 100 years. Another was the large number of foundation and basements that projected into the project area from below.
The third, and largest, challenge came in the form of establishing a centerline profile and typical section to accommodate the numerous door openings and finished floor elevations while meeting all established guidelines for local street design.
The project design employed many unconventional features. The first was angled parking along Federal Street. The second unique design application was the layout of the intersection of Federal Street with the Market Street/Wick Avenue corridor. Traffic engineers developed a layout where the left-turn movements were moved to the opposite side (left hand) of the island from where they would normally be located. This allows left-turn improvements to occupy a single phase thus reducing the signal from five phase to two phase.
This revitalization project has been a tremendous success for the residents of Youngstown and has given the central business district a new and positive identity that it lacked for decades. The design and construction were carried out on time and within projected costs, and the stated goals of providing additional parking and opening the corridor to traffic have also been met.