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WHAT IS STREETSCAPE?
The Streetscape Plan, adopted in August 1990, is a program which details those features of the Comprehensive Plan of Development that pertain to the Southbury Center Area. The Streetscape Plan primarily addresses the appropriate treatment of the right-of-way of Main Street North and Main Street South, from approximately CT Route 6 to CT Route 172, and the frontage portions of lots abutting the right-of-way. The intent of the Streetscape Plan is to provide a guide for implementation of the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
The backbone of the Main Street South Area is the street itself, having a generally straight alignment. When this street was a portion of U.S. Route 6, the State acquired substantial width of right-of-way for future improvements, but the improvement concept was made obsolete by construction of 1-84, and the State ceded the right-of-way in the Area for most of its length to the Town of Southbury. The street is a Town facility and responsibility, and there exists for most of its length a wide right-of-way (typically 125' to 200') owned by the Town.
The Main Street South Area is the primary entrance way into the Town of Southbury and in a very significant way defines the character of the Town. The Comprehensive Plan establishes as a goal for the Center Area of Southbury along Main Street North and Main Street South, the achievement of an overall landscape and streetscape design, including street trees, lawns, and other plantings, within and adjacent to the street right-of-way, sidewalks, building location, size and architecture and parking layout, that is appropriate for each portion of the Center Area and which unifies the whole in the character of a scenic and rural town.
The Main Street South Area will necessarily change and grow in increments over the years, but the street and right-of- way offer the opportunity for unifying those features that define the intended character of the whole. The Streetscape Plan for Main Street South is designed in support of already established goals and policies for the Southbury Center Area.
INTENT OF STREETSCAPE PLAN
The underlying intent of the Plan is that all of the Town-owned land and right-of-way for Main Street South should be used for streetscape purposes, including efficient vehicular movement, landscaping, pedestrian traffic, safe driveway access to properties and other community features.
The plan addresses the key components associated with transforming a nondescript thoroughfare into a vibrant, attractive and functional boulevard that meets the needs of motorists and pedestrians alike:
A. Visual Appearance
Travel way Definition and Limited Curb Cuts
- Utility Poles and Overhead Wires
- Building Architecture
B. Traffic Generation and Circulation
C. Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation
D. Implementation Program
A. Visual Appearance:
1. Travel Way Definition and Limited Curb Cuts:
- establish uniform roadway widths along Main Street South by installing curbing on both sides of street to create a defined pavement edge.
- minimize the number of driveways and curb cuts in order to improve traffic safety.
- reduce width of existing driveways or curb cuts to conform to Town standards.
- establish curb cuts that are appropriate to land use.
- encourage and/or require adjoining property owners to share common curb cuts or to have interior driveway connections allowing vehicular traffic to move between them without traveling on Main Street South.
- review overall physical design of Main Street South based on current traffic and land use.
2. Utility Poles and Overhead Wires:
- install all new utilities underground; eliminate and remove existing poles where possible; discourage installation of additional utility poles.
- modify site plan standards to mandate that all new utilities be located underground.
- locate and install streetscape trees to soften the visual impact of existing utility poles and overhead wires.
3. Building Architecture:
- encourage building designs appropriate for a scenic and rural New England town,
- when existing properties are improved, set buildings back from the street in order to create a more spacious Streetscape.
- no privately-owned signs should be permitted on Town right-of-way land.
- present sign regulations should be strictly enforced
- continue review and monitoring of sign standards in zoning, with special reference to support of streetscape concepts.
- billboards should be removed as soon as possible
- avoid general urban-type street lighting
- provide pedestrian lighting along sidewalks pedestrian; lighting fixtures should be uniform for the length of the street; no other lighting of any kind should be permitted on Town right-of-way.
- maximize green areas through the use of lawns, trees and shrubs.
- retain healthy existing trees wherever possible.
- provide an effective maintenance program in support of the landscape features of the streetscape plan.
B. Traffic Generation and Circulation:
- implement traffic control signal synchronization to improve traffic circulation.
- encourage use of alternate approach routes (Poverty Road and Old Field Road)
C. Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation:
- install five-foot wide Portland cement sidewalks, ramped at curb cuts to meet ADA requirements.
- consider striping and signage for a designated bicycle lane along the outer edge, paved shoulder of the Main Street South pavement.
When the Streetscape plan was originally adopted it was expected that it would be implemented over many years, but that when complete, the visual and functional improvements would have a beneficial effect not only on the Main Street South Area but also on the rest of the Town, its citizens and the business community. It was initially anticipated that the majority of the improvements would be undertaken by the owners/developers of the properties along Main Street South.
It became apparent during the first ten years following adoption of the plan that relying solely on private development would take an inordinate amount of time to complete those improvements that would result in a unified and cohesive landscape through the center of Southbury. In 2001 the Town was successful in obtaining a federal grant in the amount of $442,000 under the Enhancement Component of the Surface Transportation Program. This amount was increased by Town funding in the amount of approximately $800,000. These funds were used to complete work adjacent to Town property, to construct improvements in areas where private development will not likely take place for some time, to connect sections of improvements completed by private interests and to stimulate streetscape enhancements by abutting property owners. Virtually all of the Streetscape improvements were completed at the end of the summer of 2006. A major portion of the work has been either undertaken or overseen by Southbury’s Department of Public Works.
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