Trinity, North Carolina`

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Full Draft of the Master Plan is Now Available

Click on the links to the right to download the draft for public review. To submit comments or questions, send an email to Adam Stumb, Planning Director or contact him on the phone at 336-431-2841.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 4 - Closing Presentation

The charrette team presented the preliminary recommendations of the master plan to citizens and stakeholders on Thursday evening. Full of plans and illustrations, the proposals showed participants a glimpse of the preferred future of the Old Town area if the appropriate implementing tools are engaged.

The fundamental premise is the creation of a walkable village in the historic and cultural center of the community - at the old Trinity College campus. From this point, the plan envisions the infilling of the surrounding area with walkable neighborhoods lined with mixed-use corridors. The first century of Trinity was marked by the presence of Trinity College. The second century followed with the old Trinity High School and what would become the Braxton Craven School. Now, with the advent of public sewer and the potential growth that will come to the area as a result, the 21st century will be marked by the creation of a true walkable and readily identifiable place for the entire community.

First and foremost, the plan recommends that NC 62 be immediately renamed as Main Street to better connote this area as as community street rather than as simply a state highway that you drive-through along. A future park is contemplated on City-owned property to form the southern entrance to the village center. Complete with walking trails, a playground, a veteran's memorial, and open lawn areas for community festivals, this property will hopefully serve the community for generations to come.

Surrett Drive, while expected to remain as an employment center for the City, should be upgraded with sidewalks, landscaping, and some new design controls to improve the aesthetics of the buildings. New buildings should incorporate brick in their facades and landscaping in the front yards.

And, at the entrance to the Old Town area from the south at Hopewell Church Road, higher traffic commercial development can be designed in a manner that is both pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically pleasing without making significant changes to the typical site layout.

The plan, though visionary in its proposals today, can be achieved through careful direction of the town leader through its development ordinances and infrastructure investments. Most of the plan will be implemented by the private sector through coordinated private development applications. Only a few key public investments will need to be made to achieve the overall vision.

The complete presentation and booklet of drawings created during the charrette can be downloaded from the the links to the right.

From this point, The Lawrence Group team will finalize the recommendations and create design codes to guide development into the future. Additional material will be posted on this site in the coming weeks. Stay informed and engaged. the future is now!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 3 - Idea Refinement

As we completed the 3rd day of the charrette, the focus shifted from understanding the area and unearthing the key issues to the creation of fundamental approaches. Not surprisingly, the focus has been on how to stage the next evolution of the heart of the community, the old Trinity College campus (present Braxton Craven School). The premise is now that with the hopeful addition of growth in this area, we can expect more people and more potential needs for goods and services. Therefore, the 3rd century should be one in which the center is finally created.

This begins with the creation of a walkable core of shops, homes, civic uses, and a central green. From this point, amenities should emanate out to connect surrounding areas and destinations (neighborhoods, schools, the city park).

Today also included the preparation of illustrations to take the actual conditions of the area and show how new development can help dramatically alter the landscape of the area.

The final presentation of all of the team's recommendations will be on Thursday night at 7 pm. Attend and hear about how Trinity is preparing for the 21st century. And don't forget to bring a friend or three with you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 2 - Testing Ideas

As Day 2 wrapped our biggest hope is that we were able to enumerate most of the "sacred cows" in the community. Specifically, we wanted to know the highest priorities for places to save/preserve so that we could adequately plan for development/redevelopment opportunities. We identified the following sacred cows:

1. Bell Gazebo - The specific location is not as important as is the fact that it is in a place of prominence on the old campus site.
2. New Gazebo - Not location specific - could there be a more accessible location?
3. Old HS Gym on Braxton-Craven School campus - Constructed/paid for by the community, it includes a nice mural on the north side. The building is not architecturally significant but it is certainly has a lot of public sentiment tied to it.
4. 19th Century homes
5. Early 20th Century home
6. Desire to locate the Veteran's Memorial and the City Hall on the existing City property

We developed plans for the area near the interchange that included some infill housing as well as some light industrial and commercial development. Also today, the team posted up a variety of options for how to master plan the city property. Finally, at the center of everything were 3 options for the creation of the new Village Center in the heart of Old Town. Ranging from re-use of the Braxton-Craven School campus building to their complete redevelopment as mixed-use buildings, this area was clearly identified as the most important piece to the whole puzzle.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more updates. And don't forget the closing presentation on Thursday evening at 7 pm.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 1 - Reconnaissance and Strategy

At the beginning of each charrette our team spends the first day learning all about the area. This learning continues through the end of the charrette but the key is to identify the most important issues early. Today we discussed history and transportation. We also did a windshield survey of the "Old Town" area to help categorize the actual development opportunities. There are certainly a few, but there are not as many as some people think. Overall, like in so many other communities, the changes will likely be more surgical than comprehensive, though a proposed streetscape plan will make a big difference.

We suggested a realignment of Meadowbrook Drive to High School Drive that would not only improve congestion in the area but could also create an opportunity for a village green in the center of the community. That idea could have some legs and we'll investigate it more tomorrow.

We also created an overall strategy map - it's a way to throw a lot of ideas on paper that help to organize our other efforts.

And finally, we started to create detailed drawings for infill opportunities. Today's focus area was on parcels around the Mendenhall and NC 62 intersection. We illustrated how you can organize a new neighborhood and some mixed-use development that respects the topography and creates a wide range of housing opportunities.

On Tuesday, we will begin discussions about parks and recreation in the area as well as create more detailed drawings that will illistrate the development potential for this area in the next twenty years. Be sure to stop each day 5:30 pm to get a wrap-up of the day and help craft the future of Trinity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Charrette Schedule is Now Posted

Click on the Charrette Schedule link to the right to download the schedule of events for next week's Center City Charrette.

Members of the community and all those interested in the future of Trinity are invited to stop-by the design studio throughout the week and participate in any of the focus group meetings. The design team will work on-site creating the plan and invites the community to offer continual input and monitor the work-in progress and will be available to meet with residents, answer questions, and further refine ideas. Come by for one of the specific focus group meetings or drop in anytime from 9 am until 8 pm each day.

Monday, May 11th
9:00 am Design Team Arrive and Tours Area
10:30 am Discussion of General Issues
1:00 pm Transportation & Circulation (MPO, NCDOT, and School Traffic Officer)
2:30 pm Historic Preservation (Mayor, Interested Residents)
4:00 pm Open Design Studio
5:30 pm Daily Project Update/Design Pin-Up
6:30 pm until 8:00 pm Open Design Studio

Tuesday, May 12th
9:00 am Greenway Planning and Development (City, County, Archdale, and Thomasville Officials)
10:30 am Parks and Open Space – City Hall Park Planning
1:00 pm Codes and Design Guidelines
2:30 pm Stormwater Management
4:00 pm Open Design Studio
5:30 pm Daily Project Update/Design Pin-Up
6:30 pm until 8:00 pm Open Design Studio

Wednesday, May 13th
9:00 am Real Estate: Developers, Builders and Brokers
11:30 am Available Time Slot
1:00 pm until 5:30 pm Open Design Studio
5:30 pm Daily Project Update/Design Pin-Up
6:30 pm until 8:00 pm Open Design Studio

Thursday, May 14th
9:00 am until noon Open Design Studio
1:00 pm until 6:00 pm Studio Closed to Prepare for Closing Presentation

Thusday, May 14th: Closing Presentation at 7:00 pm
The design team will present its set of preliminary recommendations for guiding growth, development and redevelopment in this area over the next twenty years.

Plan to attend as often as you are able. We look forward to seeing you there!

A Transportation Network for Trinity: Preserving the Local Character and Sense of Community

Trinity has a unique opportunity to define and create a City Center. Over the course of the next few weeks, a team of consultants will be working with the residents, Town officials, and stakeholders to define that Vision and understand how it becomes reality. It is anticipated that the City Center will be a place where citizens and visitors alike would meet, stroll the streets, eat at a café, shop, and watch the children play in the park. For all of these things to happen, the City Center must be served by a much different transportation system than the current conditions along NC 62. As we move into the charrette, the consultant team will be working with the stakeholders to develop a true “Main Street” concept for the City Center, a street that can be crossed by pedestrians and is comfortable for everyone who walks along its edges. The term “complete streets” will be used frequently, as it defines what we would envision “Main Street” to be: a street that serves all modes of transportation, whether motorized or not, and lends balance among those modes to create a place and not just a pass-through.

Very few communities have the opportunity to take a proactive position on growth and develop with intention. Like Trinity, Davidson, North Carolina has dutifully planned and has not caved into pressures to develop in a conventional manner. While Davidson’s neighbors were building commercial strip centers along busy, ever-widening highway corridors, Davidson turned away development that did not fit into the overall vision. Instead, Davidson planned its Town with close relationships among land use form, character, and transportation choices to facilitate the realization of the vision as a walkable, livable, and sustainable community.

Davidson preserved its natural and historic assets and has implemented growth on its own terms, with the goal of making a great place even better. One of the key elements that make Davidson a great place is the network of “complete streets” with bicycle and pedestrian amenities connecting with its core area. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street. This type of smart and sustainable transportation network has proven time and time again to create the highest quality “place”.

Like Davidson, Trinity has a rare opportunity to put transportation infrastructure in place that preserves the local character and adds to the sense of community, effectively creating a transportation system that supports the desired buildout Vision. With Trinity’s Center City Master Plan, there are opportunities to take a sustainable approach to transportation that will provide convenient access and mobility for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who are living, working and recreating in the new core area.

Trinity has already done a great job at planning an extensive network of greenway trails, and there are opportunities to build upon this good work and for these trails to interface with a network of sidewalks, multiuse pathways, and bicycle facilities throughout the Town. The vistas offered by the topography, ponds, and floodplain areas make walking and cycling attractive modes of travel around the community. These new bicycle and pedestrian connections can provide more opportunities for interaction between residents of the community and even enhance “the small town feel”. The transportation network can also knit the Town together and provide a nexus between the Old Town and New Town areas.

Trinity is conveniently located along the I-85 corridor. The regional transportation network provides opportunities for Trinity to attract residents and businesses to the area, supporting new developments of both housing and jobs. The quality regional transportation system can provide a strong foundation for an attractive, economically viable, and sustainable area. It is important, however, for us to make sure that we know where the “highway” ends and the “Main Street” begins, and this can be accomplished through careful, collaborative design during the charrette process.

The collaborative “design charrette” to be held at Town Hall from May 11th to 15th, 2009 will engage residents and stakeholders of Trinity to envision “win-win” transportation solutions that work for the entire community. The type of community-led design process is the basis of “Context Sensitive design”. Context sensitive design philosophy can be utilized to create a smart and sustainable transportation network for Trinity that blend holistically with the landscape, environment, or surrounding community. In the same way that Trinity’s greenway plan is being tied into the new sewer line construction, using a collaborative approach we may be able to identify projects that can be implemented jointly with other projects to expedite their implementation and save money.

Transportation is a key tool in shaping the built environment. In these changing economic times, the future vitality of Trinity’s Center City hinges on how well it is positioned to create the highest quality “place” and take advantage of market forces to realize an ultimate sustainable vision for the future. Trinity’s City Center can be a place where people work, shop, play, and recreate. The needs of all of these types of travelers will need to be met and balanced as part of Trinity’s upcoming planning effort.

Trinity, Davidson, and other communities big and small in this country are embracing smart and sustainable growth principals and designing communities with mobility choices. Trinity has an exciting opportunity to take a proactive approach in designing livable, context-sensitive transportation solutions as part of the upcoming Trinity Center City Master Plan.