by Sam Hieb
A giant chessboard stands tall near the Greensboro Children’s Museum.
Outdoor dining spots dot the sidewalks down Elm Street.
Bicycle paths cut throughout downtown.
These are some of the ideas being considered for use in the upcoming Downtown Greensboro Streetscape project. The $25 million concept aims to improve the pedestrian experience with more lighting, curbless sidewalks, better landscaping, public art and historic markers that entice visitors to stay downtown longer.
Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny and DGI Director of Operations Julia Roach, who are overseeing the project, are talking with mayors from other cities about how to bring people to downtown Greensboro and keep them there.
“Greenville, S.C., Mayor Knox White says as you walk along the street — every block — there should be about eight to 10 things that stimulate you,” Matheny said. “Whether that’s public art, the tree canopy or benches, there’s a stimulant there that makes you want to be happy and to be there.”
For all the emphasis on bike and pedestrian paths, Matheny concluded what’s really needed is —you guessed it—more parking on the southern end of downtown. The two new parking decks recently approved by the city will not serve that need.