Jane’s Walk, busking event bring ideas to Boulevard

On Friday, May 4, approximately 20 Kenmore residents and stakeholders strolled the sidewalks and alleyways of the Kenmore Blvd. The goal: to identify opportunities and improvements to make our “downtown” a more vibrant business-, pedestrian- and community-friendly zone.

“Jane’s Walk: Reimagine Kenmore’s Boulevard District” was led by Andrew Overbeck of MKSK urban design consultants from Columbus. The group was recently hired by Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance to create a community-driven plan for the area, with primary emphasis on the main commercial district.

Participating in the Jane’s Walk was Rachel Sweet, and her husband, Luuk, who recently relocated to Kenmore. She, like many walkers, noticed opportunities to creatively use things like extended sidewalk space at corners, alley spaces and parking lots behind boulevard businesses.

“I discovered new and exciting things” she said. “While Kenmore may be considered rough around the edges, people are excited and ready to put the work in for change.”

Longtime resident Jacob Ley mentioned the need for better lighting, particularly along the sidewalks. “Kenmore Blvd. seems to be lit primarily for cars,” something he hopes changes in order to bring more pedestrian traffic to the area.

In addition, KNA volunteers manned a feedback table outside of Live Music Now! during the Busk Until Dusk first Friday event. Residents marked on a map where they live, visit and avoid. They also considered and voted for their favorite of three street striping options for Kenmore Blvd., which – according to city officials – is set to be repaved as early as this summer. Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance is working with the city’s Office of Integrated Development to implement the most community-friendly option.

Other feedback will be used to help MKSK create concepts for community testing and feedback in July or August. If you weren’t able to attend the Jane’s Walk, there’s still time to make your voice heard via the brief community survey at www.betterkenmore.org/neighborhood-plan.

Jane’s Walk is an annual festival of free-citizen-led walking conversations inspired by community activist Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighborhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbors. For more information, visit www.janeswalk.org.

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