The University District Plan focuses on the how the district is currently and gives recommendations for the future. These recommendations contain guidelines for land use and design guidelines, including height, FAR(ratio) and setbacks.
The current conditions covers what the neighborhoods, and historic areas are of the district, plus the previous planning of the district. The current conditions also hold the existing land use and zoning, from residential to commercial and industrial, and the population density. The population density was interesting because you can see how student housing is a lot of people in buildings. These land use conditions also include zoning, current demographics, and transportation. The land use has about 25% to OSU and most businesses along High st.
The end of current conditions has what the current issues are, so that land use policies can be updated. These issues are how the district was developed, with the influx of students, how student rented housing are more packed than other housing, this causes problems with parking and traffic. The last issue is how complex it is to regulate land use.
The recommendations for land use focuses around OSU. with principles of a Floor to Area Ratio, easy transportation, limiting parking, green practices, high density around high street and new developments fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.
The main difference with land use is that high street area will now be regional mixed use, and that there is standards for FAR, building height, parking and landscaping for each zone. There is also more standards for corner stores and natural resources and recreation. The design guidelines contain information on historic buildings, setbacks, door and window location, lighting, landscaping, parking, signs, dining and art. Capital improvements have the what funding should be directed towards with parks and nature being top priority.
View of The Plan
The Plan seems to be very realistic and will affect this team as much of the plan is focused around OSU. I feel like the plan is going to improve the university district and help create a sense of unity within different spaces in this district.This unity will be achieved with the design guidelines, with the FAR ration, setbacks and heights in particular. I also like that the development of high street area is now regional mixed use, because this will mean that we can have more diversity in the type of stores and opportunities around high street. The focus on natural places is also good because having nature in the city is something very important to this team.
Connecting The Plan to Reality
Through the eyes of an OSU student it is easy to see how housing and the area around high has changed. The plan had a focus on making the area around high a high density mixed use zone, and limiting the use of cars for shopping. This can be seen with the making of pricey student housing, target, and with some bars on high have been torn down, most likely to create more diverse options on high. There is also a lot of improvements happening for student housing near summit and 4th. The many there is a less seen in the non-automobile transportation, many sidewalks are damaged, and biking is still not a great option, with there not being room for cars and bikes in most places, so you get backups from bikes. So overall, you can see the goals of this plan in action.
Does The Plan Address Issues
I think that the plan addresses the land use issues I have seen around the district. This can be seen with the focus on student housing, parking/traffic, and the shopping experience. The student housing issue is being taken care of with FAR ratios, and encouraging non-car transportation. Parking and traffic are also addressed with non-car transportation to limit the need for parking. The shopping experience has been addressed with a focus on setbacks so more shopping by foot is encouraged.
Improvements to the Plan
One improvement that we would add would be an inclusion of a easy to understand summary or other format for the public and non planners to better understand the plan without having to read 88 pages. The next improvement to the plan is to include more about the homeless and poverty problem in the district and recommendations on how to improve this problem. Another improvement I am unsure if able to control at all, but focusing that the district has a good mix of different stores in each area. We have a lot of bars on high and think having more diverse shopping locations would allow more choice. Particular focus on corner stores, for example making sure there isn’t only fast food as the only food option around. The finally improvement is a greater focus on biking and walking in greater detail. This would include what sidewalks need repaired, what is the ideal sidewalk for each zone, and what are current biking lanes, where should protected biking lanes go.