We like to think of 20th Street North as Birmingham’s living room. It’s our main street, where people come together from all over the city, region, and even the country for a distinctive Birmingham experience.
In the best of times, useful outdoor spaces are key to a vibrant and successful urban environment; the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased their importance.
With that in mind, the City of Birmingham’s Department of Transportation and REV Birmingham are planning a refresh of 20th Street North that will better serve pedestrians as well as the businesses that line our main street.
20th Street North is technically one very wide lane, but it has always functioned more like two. Traffic typically moves on the left and lots of other uses—from valet to delivery to construction supply storage—happen on the right.
Now it’s time to formalize the flexible usage of that right lane with paint and policy. The creation of a flex lane is an exciting and tangible step in the implementation of the 20th Street refresh plan.
What’s a flex lane?
A flex lane is a section of roadway that can adapt to different uses based on the needs of the community. The idea of the flex lane is to formally sanction the “as needed” functions of 20th Street North’s right-hand lane. This will create a buffer to make pedestrians safer, reduce vehicle speeds, and allow businesses to make better use of this sidewalk adjacent space.
Remember Parking Day 2020? That was us testing just a slice of 20th Street North for plans that could be rolled out to the whole street! We surveyed passers-by that day, and 100 percent of survey respondents said they loved the flex lane concept for 20th. Take a look back at an early rendition of the 20th Street refresh on a quarter block!
Soon the first section of flex lane will be striped with colorful paint in a vibrant geometric pattern on both sides of 20th Street North between 1st and 3rd Avenue North. The flex-lane-testing area is compact but, of course, is larger than the quarter-block section we tested on Parking Day. Starting small allows us to develop best practices and respond to feedback on the potential design and uses as the City and REV continue to plan for the larger project footprint.
Here are some of the ways that the new flex lane can be used:
- Passenger pick–up and drop–off
- Curbside pick-up zones
- Outdoor dining, like 2020’s Eat in the Streets (Temporary Shared Space Permit required)
- Parking for food trucks (with permit)
- Valet parking stands
- Loading and unloading of goods (no longer than 10 minutes)
Stay tuned to @revbham on Facebook and Instagram for photos of the colorful paint meeting the pavement—and share your thoughts and questions with us on social media!
Your guide to a family-friendly day downtown
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Family Friendly, Front Page, Get Involved, Small Business, Yaysayers
With summer just around the corner, kids will soon be out of school and insisting on getting out of the house. Luckily, Downtown Birmingham has an abundance of family-friendly activities that will keep your kiddos entertained and create lifelong memories.
We know taking kids out for extended periods can be challenging; that’s why we have curated a list of experiences designed to be enjoyable within a manageable 3 – 4 hour timeframe. This way, both children and parents can make the most of their time without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. These four experiences include lunch options and are tailored to different ages and personalities.
Get to know your City Center District Manager, Michael Symes.
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Front Page, Get Involved, REV Team, Yaysayers
Meet Michael Symes, the new City Center District Manager for the Business Improvement District (BID). As a long-time resident of Birmingham, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, having been an active member of the community since graduating from the University of Alabama. In this article, we will explore Michael’s journey and learn about his “accidental roots” in the city, as well as his passion for working with the Business Improvement District (BID) of the Magic City. Follow along as we get to know the person behind the job title and uncover the unique perspective he brings to the role.
Why your voice on historic preservation is essential
Filed Under: Front Page, Get Involved, Historic Preservation, Residential
President and CEO of REV Birmingham David Fleming writes about the importance of historic preservation and highlights the advocacy efforts that saved the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Forest Park neighborhood in Birmingham. The article concludes with a call to action, urging for new leaders and the implementation of various strategies to protect and celebrate Birmingham’s historic buildings and places.