Lakewood: Public shares visions for downtown

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The plan for redefining downtown Lakewood is coming together, and the city hosted the last open house June 18 about the project.

The city’s Downtown Lakewood Connectivity and Urban Design Plan aims to not only better provide connectivity in the area, but also implement design standards to make it feel like a more unified downtown.

“We’ve established these goals for downtown like creating better connectivity and making sure people can find their way around downtown, now we’re synthesizing everything together,” said Mark Kopatz, of Stanley Consultants, which has been helping the city with urban design elements. “We’ve gotten some really great comments on how to streamline things and create a cohesive look.”

The area designated as downtown Lakewood encompasses the Belmar shopping and living area, Lakewood City Commons, properties on the north side of Alameda Avenue between Carr and Pierce Streets, the city’s civic center area and Belmar Park, and the living area south of Belmar to Ohio Avenue.

On display were maps and artists’ renderings of the urban design elements the city is considering, changes to crosswalks and traffic flow to make pedestrian travel easier, and wayfinding signs to direct people around the downtown area.

“Making wayfinding easier for people is a key aspect of this project, and we’re looking at all kinds of different forms to help people navigate,” Kopatz said.

He said that signage helping people know they’re in downtown Lakewood would be going up, including a few signs in Belmar Park, which Kopatz likens to Central Park — a beautiful park right in the middle of an urban area.

According to Beth Vogelsang, consulting project manager with OV Consulting, after the June 18 meeting, there will be one last meeting with the stakeholder groups, and then a document about how to implement the plans will be created.

“We’re hoping to have the document done by late summer,” she said.

The ultimate goal, according to Kopatiz, is to “create something special here — when you’re in downtown Lakewood, you’ll know it.

For more information, visit www.lakewood.org/downtownlakewood.