The Spring of 2012 marked the groundbreaking for the alleyscape and breezeway project in Downtown Longmont. This long awaited project revitalized the parking lots, alleyways and breezeways that are essential to the growth and development of Downtown.
So…why alleyways? Over the years, many projects have been undertaken in the downtown area to improve the economic vitality and the pedestrian experience. Recently within the city as well as across the country, downtown alleys have been identified as potential areas to further develop multi-modal transportation as well as provide new business opportunities for downtown properties. In the core of downtown Longmont, the majority of the parking areas are located in the blocks east and west of Main Street – often making the back door the first impression visitors have as they walk through the alleys and breezeways to reach Main Street. The alleys existed as utilitarian corridors with over head electric lines, visible trash receptacles and access for delivery vehicles. The breezeways had overhead structures and landscaping that hindered gathering. These areas create an inadvertent barrier for customers to reach Main Street as well as the cross neighborhood pedestrian traffic.
To address these issues the City of Longmont, in coordination with the Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) underwent a Capital Improvement Project to improve the downtown alleys and breezeways. The project focused on the six alley segments located between 3rd Avenue and 6th Avenue on the east and west side of Main Street. The project addressed drainage issues, utilities, alley pavement within the 20 feet wide alley right-of-way, trash enclosures and created a sense of place and identify for Downtown.
In 2012, demolition and construction began on the east side of Main Street. Enhancements included the undergrounding of wires and utilities, additional light poles, ornamental pavers with increased drainage capacity as well as construction of common trash enclosures. In the breezeways, Los Arcos de Longmont, the art pieces that mark the entry ways, were removed and reconstructed into small pocket-parks within the project. The roof structure and landscaping was removed, allowing for ornamental pavers to open the space for multi-purpose gathering. Parking lots were also upgraded throughout the process. During the process, businesses along the construction corridor were incentivized to improve their alley entrances during the project. The LDDA provided anAlleyscape grant which reimbursed 25% of their improvement costs.
Construction on the west side was completed in 2016 and the entire project is now 100% complete. The LDDA has seen a catalyst effect of the project, as many property owners in the area have improved their alley entrances to positively support the improved alleys, breezeways, and parking lots.