Ann Arbor’s downtown Main Street has selected as one of the top 10 streets in America. The honor was given by The American Planning Association, which recognizes excellence in planning. Main Street, home to many restaurants and stores downtown, was among the top ten winners in its 2009 Great Places in America: Streets contest. Michigan netted two cities on the top ten list- Ann Arbor’s Main Street and Traverse City’s Front Street.
The American Planning Association said, “South Main Street is downtown Ann Arbor's center of activity and community gathering place. The continuous rhythm of detailed masonry building storefronts right at the sidewalk's edge contributes to an exciting pedestrian environment. The City of Ann Arbor's continuous efforts to preserve these buildings — most housing locally owned businesses — ensures that the street's unique appearance and character remain intact.”
Ann Arbor’s efforts to keep the city green by reducing our carbon footprint, as well as focusing on preserving historical features, both played a factor in the win. The city is focusing planning on increasing housing density, preserving historic buildings and increasing transportation choices in the downtown area.
Streets were judged on how well they balanced the needs of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, how they encouraged human interaction and social activities, and how they promoted the safety of pedestrians and vehicles. In addition, sustainability and green practices, making good use of natural landscape features, and “memorable character” all played a role in the selection of the winners.
Main Street is a popular destination for diners and shoppers, both those visiting from out of town, as well as residents from nearby downtown Ann Arbor condominiums and Ann Arbor houses. A slideshow of photographs from Main Street is available online.
Image courtesy Flickr: ifmuth