Currently, as one drives or walks down Blue Hill Avenue in the Grove Hill neighborhood, medians occupying the center of the street are largely overlooked. Although they have beautiful mature trees, the ground plane of the median strips are void of life; some are brown and muddy due to poor soil quality and some are paved with concrete. Greater Grove Hall Main Streets came to Payette to realize their vision of creating a vibrant, dynamic corridor and establishing a sense of place for this important stretch of Blue Hill Avenue.
Greater Grove Hall Main Streets (GGHMS) is a non-profit community organization that works to promote the economic success of its diverse business district while maintaining the historical character of the neighborhood. The new median design contributes towards GGHMS larger goals for the neighborhood by making it “cleaner and greener” through sustainability and enhancing the quality of life through public art and placemaking.
The Payette team provided GGHMS with renderings, plans and other documents that will be presented to stakeholders in order to gain support and funding for the overhaul and renewal of the median and to develop a design language to be used as precedent for improving other medians along Blue Hill Ave.
The primary drivers and constraints for the design were developed through a series of brainstorming sessions with GGHMS and other community partners.
Among the many goals were to:
Constraints the team defined included:
Inspired by a friendship braid, the design uses a taxonomy of materials and plants to knit the community together. The median’s design offers spaces for the display of local artwork, creating opportunities for community members to occupy and engage with the space and art. In addition, the beautification of the median improves the environmental benefits of the land by reducing rainwater runoff and mitigating urban heat island effect.
Light colored stones circle the median in a chevron pattern in order to buffer against salt spray in the winter and hazardous pedestrian j-walking. At moments, one side of each stone is painted with a bright color, shown in yellow, to lead your eyes through the composition. The painted thread begins at the head of the median on the north side near the commercial zone and crosses over the center of the median where sculptures are on display. The painted side of the stones face away from oncoming car traffic, so as not to distract drivers, but to offer a visual surprise for people walking through the neighborhood.
The unique design language of the median can be applied to other blocks on Blue Hill Avenue. These median renovations can help to define this district as a destination and provide a beautiful and sustainable amenity for the residents, contributing towards the larger community goals of GGHMS.
Greater Grove Main Streets: