By December 9, 2015 Read More →

ArchitectureView – Bringing 10th St Back to Life


Bringing Tenth Street Back to Life
by: Barrett Lipomi, AIA

If you have been downtown over the past few months you likely have noticed city crews working on the block of Tenth Street between I and J Streets. However this isn’t your typical road project. This section of Tenth Street has been a significant part of Modesto’s history from the bustling storefronts a century ago, to teenagers cruising this block in the late 70’s. However in recent years vacant storefronts have replaced once thriving businesses and we are left with a block that has very little life. This is all starting to change however thanks to collaboration between the City of Modesto and the Downtown Modesto Partnership.

The Urban Design Group, part of the Downtown Modesto Partnership, has been working together with the City of Modesto over the past year to develop a plan to improve this block of Tenth Street. The goal of this project was not only to beautify the streetscape, but also to provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for pedestrians. This block is significant not only because of its history, but also because it provides the final link between the Modesto Center Plaza and the Gallo Arts Center.

The plan developed by the Urban Design Group and City of Modesto has now been realized on this block and addresses both the intersections on each end of the block as well as the mid-block area. At the corners of the block, the pedestrian zones were bulbed out into the street creating urban parklets in what was once unusable space. These parklets create fantastic gathering places that can be used by both the public and adjacent businesses. In addition to their function as a parklet, these “bulb-outs” also shorten the distance of the crosswalk making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross the street.

Trees in raised planter beds now line both sides of the street and they will mature to create a wonderful rhythmic canopy shading this block. Lighting will also be added to these trees to provide a pleasant place to walk during cold winter evenings. If you haven’t been down this block recently, I encourage you to take a walk and see the transformation. It is very promising to see the City investing in this block and in the future of downtown. My hope it that this project proves to be the catalyst needed to bring Tenth Street back to life.

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