Road-diet study to roll out

May. 13, 2014 @ 05:15 PM

Core city redevelopment advocates soon hope to have significant new evidence in making their arguments.

The results of an economic impact study for the Uptowne area will be presented in two public presentations on Monday. The City Project commissioned Asheville consultant Joe Minicozzi to study the economic impact of implementing the Ignite High Point master plan for Uptowne.
One of the major questions the study is expected to answer is what the effects would be of moving forward with a possible road diet of N. Main Street.
Architect and urban planner Andres Duany has proposed this as a way to spur business growth and increase property values.
Minicozzi’s study is separate from another study the city commissioned that will examine the feasibility of reducing part of the street from four to two lanes in Uptowne.
“It fits in nicely with what else we have going on,” said City Project Executive Director Wendy Fuscoe. “I do feel like, in light of Duany’s visit here and the continued controversy about the whole thing — these are numbers. It’s the best analysis you’re going to get, and if somebody wants to poke holes, they can poke holes. But it is what it is.”
Minicozzi, of the consulting firm Urban3 LLC, gathered data about current real estate and tax values of Triad properties to project what would happen to property values in Uptowne if it develops in the ways suggested in the Ignite plan.
Fuscoe said she hasn’t seen the study results yet.
One thing it will address is how street diets in other cities affected the surrounding areas.
“For example, Charlotte, when they dieted East Boulevard, they saw substantial increase in property prices,” Fuscoe said. “Whether that directly correlated to the road diet or not, who can say? You can’t control for every factor.”
The City Project hired Minicozzi for $15,000, using money left over from what was raised to hire Duany.
Fuscoe said the study will provide important facts and data that decision-makers can use if they want to pursue the street diet.
“We all need to get educated in this,” she said. | 888-3531

Two public presentations of the Uptowne economic impact study by City Project consultant Joe Minicozzi are scheduled for Monday. The first will be at noon at the String and Splinter Club. Nonmembers can attend but are asked to call ahead and make reservations. The other will be at 5:30 p.m. at the High Point Theatre.