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Escenario 3: Desarrollo a lo largo de la calle principal, Santa Elena
Scenario 3 : Development along main street, Santa Elena
Narrative a development along the main street in Santa Elena.
Narre un desarrollo a lo largo de la calle principal en Santa Elena.
Strategic planning--Costa Rica--Santa Elena, Monteverde, Puntarenas
Sustainable Futures 2007
t Sustainable Futures
Imagine a tree lined street with wide sidewalks an d benches for resting or watching the world go by. Imagine walking down Main Street with locally owned small businesses offering candies, home goods, and a bite to eat. Im agine being able to walk from the new shopping center to the new municipal building near the high school in 15 minutes without having to worry about getting hit by a car. Imagin e a place with a downtown plaza that hosts Friday night music shows and Saturday farmerÂ’s mark ets. Main Street the Concept The Main Street scenario embraces all the ideals o f a small town while concentrating development in one specific walkable corridor. The objective is to connect current nodes of development into a continuous pedestrian friendly p ath. Along Main Street places for shopping, entertainment, visiting friends and munic ipal services are seamlessly intermixed and easy to access. The new Main Street acts as a c onnecter between the new municipal center, complete with a library and small auditoriu m, and the new village shopping center on the hill. Main Street also has a definite conceptu al beginning and end denoted by a uniform streetscape that evokes a feeling of arriving somep lace special. But Main Street will be more than a center for commerce; locals will visit Main Street to meet friends and family and engage in cultural activities. People will stop by the new chapel for a quick prayer retreat. Locals who work downtown will enjoy lunch in the ne w plaza whether they bring their own or they dine at one of the affordable sodas with si dewalk seating. Structurally the main street scenario seeks to str etch the existing downtown area to encompass the new village shopping center on the so utheast edge of town. Downtown Santa Elena would stretch slightly in the other direction to incorporate a new compact municipal center on the main road near the existing colegio. Well defined, usable pedestrian ways act as circulation and connection components of the new ly expanded Main Street. For example, a pedestrian way is proposed to connect the new shopp ing center to downtown and allow for tourists departing the bus station to access both l ocations easily and comfortably. In addition, new roadways are proposed to improve the flow and c irculation of vehicular traffic for locals and tourists alike. The urban design of Main Stree t allows for coordinated cooperative growth between commercial centers as opposed to com petition between downtown and the proposed shopping mall. The New Municipal Center In this scenario municipal services are located at one end of Main Street acting as an anchor point. The new library is located next to th e municipality office buildings allowing the two buildings to share a small auditorium between t hem. The three buildings are placed in front of the current gymnasium facing the Main Stre et. This allows for better access by pedestrians, and it allows the new buildings to sha re the existing gymnasium parking lot. In addition the post office is relocated to be near th e other municipal services concentrating similar uses close to one another. Recognizing tha t the new municipal offices are located very close to the stream, efforts are taken to rest ore the natural vegetation by creating and maintaining a biological buffer around the stream. A pedestrian way that goes through the colegio land is created to connect the main street and clinic road where the new PT center and pool are located. In addition to allowing for easi er access for locals, the path is intended to run along the natural forest area instead of cuttin g through the forest and potentially harming the natural habitat. In this scenario as in the others, it is important to realize that the colegio is willing to provide some of its land to build a new municipal c enter. In the Main Street scenario, the development of the municipal center is on a very sm all portion of the colegioÂ’s land and it
does not require a new road that would cut the exis ting land in half. By placing the offices at the edge of the property it provides the easiest ac cess for locals as well as preserves the colegio land in the event that the colegio needs to expand in the future. Again the PT Center and community pool are also located on the colegio land but close to the existing clinic in order to keep buildings with similar use in close p roximity one another. Downtown Santa Elena Serving as the center of the new Main Street corrid or, downtown plays an important role for cultural, commercial, tourist, and recreat ional activities. The road on the east side of the triangle is redesigned to incorporate large sid ewalks, street trees and unified design typologies. Two story buildings and more dense dev elopment allows for the creation of a continuous urban fabric. For example, the corner w ith the orchid garden becomes an anchor point when sidewalks and a short stone wall are int roduced. Anchoring the other corner on top of the hill, the new chapel serves multiple fun ctions. First, it creates a new positive reality in a location where the past bank robbery o ccurred. Second, the chapel is set back slightly from the street with benches to allow for a public meeting space. Finally, the two story structure creates a strong visual anchor for this crucial Main Street corner. In the Main Street scenario the Santa Elena Cathol ic Church is moved to a new site in Los Llanos. In its place is a new commercial court yard building with a variety of businesses including a hotel, restaurants, and local stores. The center of the courtyard building acts as a downtown plaza with seating, tree cover for shade, and interesting public art. In addition, certain components act as places of interest for ch ildren of all ages. Here the property bumps out into the road a bit acting as a traffic calming element and framing the town square with street trees. The road that currently runs behind Bar Amigos is redesigned to allow for better vehicular and pedestrian circulation. Specifically the bar is moved across the street and the road takes up some of the old building space to all ow for a straighter road. The road reconnects to the existing road that extends from L os Llanos to Santa Elena. The new road is wide enough to create additional parallel parking s pots and allow access for the delivery trucks. Finally on the southeast corner of the triangle th e empty lot near the river becomes a commercial site as well as the new location for a p olice station. The store fronts and police station are on the second floor in order to be at s treet level. A bio-retention area for storm water management is also incorporated into the site due to its proximity to the creek. Most water from downtown runs downhill to this site crea ting a need for vegetation to slow and filter the storm water. In addition the introducti on of vegetation allows for a much needed buffer to restore the health of the local stream. Village Shopping Center In addition to having new commercial space, the vil lage center also houses the new bus station complete with a tourist welcome center and small history museum. The objective of this design is to deliver tourists and locals to a location with many amenities that is well connected to downtown Santa Elena. Combining the d isparate bus services into one universal location reduces confusion and downtown c ongestion as well. The village shopping center is connected to Main St reet with a newly created road and a separate pedestrian way. The road bisects the pr oposed shopping mall property with a roundabout in the center to create interest and slo w traffic. Moving the road allows for a safer vehicular path and relieves traffic from the two pr edominately residential roads. The pedestrian way begins near the new police station s ite, crosses the river, and continues on to the new village shopping center ending in front of the bus station. A hanging bridge is added
to allow for pedestrian circulation from the curren t residential areas to the new shopping mall. The bridge would span the section of road be tween the serpentario and the new shopping mall site. The design for the village center in this scenario is completely different than the design that has already been proposed for the shopp ing mall. In this design, parking is hidden throughout the complex by using small parking lots behind buildings and shared parking between stores when possible. The area is complete with comfortable sidewalks, plenty of street trees, and incorporated benches for seating. The buildings and streetscapes reflect the design of downtown in order to create a unified Mai n Street as opposed to two competing commercial centers. Advantages and Disadvantages As with all possible futures, there are advantages and disadvantages of creating a Main Street depending on different perspectives. T he following narrative illustrates the trade-offs of this scenario from the perspective of a tourist and two locals. Tourist: Wow, I love how this place feels like an authenti c historic mountain village. Getting off the bus I was able to easily find downt own on the pedestrian walkway and my hotel overlooks the town square. I think tomorrow I will spend the morning on Main Street getting souvenirs. This place must be so convenien t for the locals. They can easily stop by the Main Street stores for their shopping after wor k. Local 1: It is true; all the things we need including the l ibrary, city hall and the police station are within a short walk and close together. My fam ily and I come to Main Street every Sunday after we attend church in Los Llanos to see our friends downtown. Then we walk to the village shopping center for Â“sundaes on SundayÂ” while waiting for the local bus to take us back to our home in Monteverde. Downtown is much m ore pleasant now that theyÂ’ve moved the bus station and the old church. On the downsid e, development and growth has overtaken this community and it no longer has the same small town feel. Local 2: ThatÂ’s easy for him to say. He doesnÂ’t own a car so he doesnÂ’t have to deal with the fact that there are no parking lots for all these c ars. Everyone has to park on the street cluttering the area and causing congestion. Drivin g here is still really slow with all the development so close together. When we come to sho p we can never find a place to park since all the tourists want to park their cars alon g Main Street close to their hotel. Also most everyone lives in Los Llanos now and we canÂ’t walk to Main Street. There needs to be more stores in Los Llanos and the streets should have no parking or pedestrians so we can get places faster. Now that there is a downtown Main Street everything is so much more expensive than it used to be. Having the authentic village feel in downtown caused all the U.S. chain stores like The Gap and Panera Bread to flock here. All us locals shop at the village center because the prices are cheaper. The y say Main Street is for everyone, but really it is just another service for tourists. I wish theyÂ’d make a separate area for the municipal center and library that was quieter and n ot near loud tourists. Diagram