Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Great things happen when you get a great group of people together. Staff from all Confluence locations met up in Cedar Rapids to transform a parking ramp and an alley into a pedestrian-friendly pocket park.
The goal was to alter the public’s perception of alleys in Downtown Cedar Rapids through the use of temporary interventions that transform an alley from a purely utilitarian space to an attractive, pedestrian-friendly public space.
Historically, Cedar Rapids alleys have served as service drives and one-way vehicular connections which has resulted in a network of desolate corridors that are not pedestrian-friendly. While alleys serve a critical function for the many shops, restaurants and offices throughout Downtown by providing a location for dumpsters and service vehicles; they can also function as pedestrian spaces capable of locating amenities such as outdoor seating, art installations and pedestrian linkages.
This installation acknowledged and rewarded existing pedestrian use of a selected alley, and involved injecting simple pedestrian-oriented amenities such as colorful banners and artwork, plantings and seating to transform this space into a linear urban park while preserving existing service functions.
Our hope is this temporary transformation will spark greater recognition of the potential role that alleys can play in promoting pedestrian activity - and that it leads to future permanent alley improvements throughout Downtowns in more locations throughout the Midwest.