Consulting firm holds master plan discussion

Residents, city officials discuss plan to make downtown more lively



Brian Douglas Scott, principal of BDS Planning & Urban Design, explains the components of the master plan aimed at renovating the downtown area businesses to attendees during a meeting at the Gladish Community and Cultural Center.

GEORGE ERALIL, Evergreen reporter

Residents and city council officials gathered to hear plans for renovations to Pullman’s downtown area at the Gladish Community and Cultural Center on Wednesday.

BDS Planning & Urban Design is developing the masterplan in partnership with Framework, E.D. Hovee & Company and Welch Comer.

Brian Douglas Scott, principal of BDS Planning & Urban Design, said the final draft of the masterplan is expected to be completed by February 2020.

Scott said the area of focus for the plan is an oval region extending from the Gladish Community and Cultural Center to the Brelsford WSU Visitors Center.

The renovations involve improvements that will help fulfill the city’s goal for a lively and successful downtown, he said.

He said this involves bringing together and better promoting all the existing businesses and institutions in the downtown area. The masterplan will also seek to protect these existing businesses by recommending zoning updates and laying out guidelines for future changes in the downtown area.

“The first major move is to connect, protect and add to the gems,” Scott said.

Philip Boyd, principal engineer and president of Welch Comer, said the second move is centered around making downtown more centric and accessible to people. This includes providing diagonal back-in parking spots on Olson Street and Main Street.

Boyd said the move also aims to improve biking accessibility around Pullman by connecting existing trails. The masterplan could have provisions for overhead “hawk” stoplights at major crosswalks and underpass options to facilitate pedestrian and bicycle movement.

“That could be an economic engine for Pullman,” Boyd said, “if [Pullman] becomes the epicenter of biking on the Palouse.”

Lesley Bain, principal and co-founder of Framework, said the masterplan would provide for the creation of more public spaces.

She also proposed the concept of a “cultural connector,” a pathway extending from the back of the theater in downtown to the train depot where people can put up art and other displays.

“It is the kind of wonderful thread in a town that can make a huge difference in how it functions,” Bain said.

Scott said a key part of the plan is the leadership initiative, which would involve collaboration between businesses and hiring a Main Street manager who would oversee the implementation of the plan.