UW students present Des Moines study

A project focusing on vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the Des Moines Marina District was presented by a group of University of Washington (UW) students at the Jan. 12 Des Moines City Council meeting.

Four students from the Community, Environment and Planning Program, part of the Department of Urban Development at the UW in the College of Built Environments, shared their ideas and thoughts on directing people to Des Moines’ many attractions.

“Boaters get lost when they enter the Marina and people on Marine View Drive don’t know it’s there,” Robert Franco-Tayar said.

Mathan Retik and Franco-Tayar presented the project to the City Council. Brian Greer and Kimo Jordan also contributed to the project, but did not speak at the meeting.

The project’s main goal is to provide pedestrians and drivers with highly visible signage directing them to various activities throughout the area.

After months of research and surveying, they noted the lack of signs for the Marina and Beach Park, a historic site. Strategically placed kiosks for pedestrians including a social ecology map, a calendar of events, and walking times to highlighted locations on the map were suggested.

They also discussed the lack of signs for drivers directing them to the marina or other activities in the Marina District.

It was also suggested by the students to include historical information about the city and to build off its nautical heritage with the placement of art throughout the district. A designated “center of town” was also mentioned.

“It hit the nail on the head,” Councilwoman Melissa Musser said.
Musser said the presentation represented the efforts the council is currently making to create a more vibrant Marina District.

“There is so much to promote during the winter,” Councilwoman Carmen Scott added, who thinks too many people only think of the marina during the summer months. She fully agreed with the need for activity calendars placed around the district.

Councilman Bob Sheckler mentioned a similar project, several years ago by another group of UW students that was unfortunately restrained by budget shortfalls.

“Maybe it’s time to do some of this stuff,” Councilman Sheckler said.
He also added that creating a walkway along the breakwater would add another attraction for people visiting the marina.

With the newly signed marina lease and increase in fees, the council has discussed building a walkway on the breakwater to save money. Public access to the breakwater would make it a no fee lease zone with the Department of Natural Resources.

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