It’s fun to go back and review past plans and their projections to see how things are turning out. One of those plans is the NP and 1st Avenue North Corridor Development Plan completed by the Alfred Benesch and Company in 2010. The plan states, “Two way traffic will provide a significant, positive economic impact for the Downtown Fargo area that will provide for more opportunities for development compared to the existing configuration.” This plan provided an economic projection comparing two way streets to one-way streets. The plan stated that if these streets remained one-ways, this corridor would see an increase in development estimated at $5.7 million over 10 years and $33.5 million over 25 years. This is in comparison to reconfiguring to two-ways at $15.7 million over 10 years and $92.9 million over 25 years.
NP and 1st Avenue North were converted to a two way (2+1) configuration this past September (2013). In monitoring economic impact in this corridor over the past six months, there has been a total of five new business starts and expansions. This includes Bun Appetit (bakery), Vinyl Taco (restaurant/pub), Wurst Bier Hall (restaurant/pub), Your Day by Nicole (bridal store) and The Uptown Gallery (fine art gallery featuring local artists). Craig Properties are currently building the Alexandra Marie Apartments at the corner of NP and 8th Street North, a $3 million investment. In addition, there are plans to rehabilitate the former Union Storage & Transfer Company Building at 1026 NP by NP Avenue, LLC into a mix use development to include office, retail and apartment uses. An estimated $9 million to $12 million project.
Some would argue it’s too early to contribute these developments to the two way streets, but ask any smart business owner and they will tell you they rather be on a two-way than a one way street where people are looking at their storefront through their rear view mirrors. It appears the reconfiguration of these streets are providing a positive impact.
They say pictures are worth a thousand words and in presentations, I use the following two photographs as examples of what the community hopes to accomplish in re-configuring this corridor from one ways to two ways:
The corner of NP and 5th Street around 1:00 PM in August of 2012. Note lack of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Also, spaces where buildings once stood are now parking lots.
*The same corner as viewed in 1929. This is the type of development the community hopes to accomplish incrementally as the two way street pattern is restored along this corridor.
*photo courtesy of NDSU Institute for Regional Studies Collections
Check out www.downtownfargo.com for updates, events and information on Downtown Fargo.