South Bend Smart Streets Initiative
South Bend, IN
Toole Design worked with the City of South Bend to envision its entire downtown as a human-scale network of pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly streets that maximizes social and economic exchange as well as private investment. The result was the South Bend Smart Streets Initiative, a street, trail, and open space plan that revitalized the area. The plan included restoring all of the one-way streets back to two-way, using roundabouts to reassign traffic loads, changing all the streets into Complete Streets, and developing a waterfront park and plaza plan that is integrated with the bicycle and street plans.
The plan enjoyed a high degree of public and business support thanks in large part to four week-long charrettes, which Toole Design’s design and planning staff led. Toole Design created concept designs and presented them to a wide swath of the public, including City of South Bend and Indiana Department of Transportation officials, staff from the nearby hospital, historic preservationists, and residents. Toole Design also helped City officials secure state funding for restoring South Bend’s streets to two-way, and building wide sidewalks, separated bike facilities, and adding street trees.
When we choose to make a public investment in the streets, businesses feel more confident making a private investment, taking advantage of those streets… and the foot traffic and vibrancy that it brings to the downtown.Pete ButtigiegFormer Mayor, South Bend, IN.
“This isn’t just a traffic program, this is an economic development program. The City logged over $90 million in private investment from people who were choosing to invest in downtown business because they’ve seen what we’ve been doing in the streetscapes,” said Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “When we choose to make a public investment in the streets, businesses feel more confident making a private investment, taking advantage of those streets… and the foot traffic and vibrancy that it brings to the downtown.” This investment happened before the project was even fully implemented, which shows the power of a vision and a feasible plan. Since the project was completed, additional investment has continued, and Toole Design has continued its relationship with the City.