Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Storrs Center at 15
I recently wrote about Poundbury (here) and garden villages (here) in Britain, but there are also good things happening in the US.
Storrs Center, Connecticut is now built out!
Storrs is the central place of Mansfield Township, home to the University of Connecticut………..and lots of trees.
A few years back, the town leadership decided to build themselves a real town center, put together a master plan (approved 15 years ago), and then built it!
Storrs Center is a mixed-use, Smart Growth development, with a real town square, lots of retail and entertainment, and housing (see their website here). The agency that implemented the plan insisted on strict sustainable, New Urbanist design standards (available here) for buildings, streets, and open spaces. The result is a handsome and virtually complete town center. The center is heavy on retail, serving as the “college town” for UConn, just across the street, as well as for the surrounding area. But there is also intensive housing, with 618 apartments (with about 1,000 tenants), 32 townhomes, and 10 condos.
As I mentioned in discussing Poundbury, the transportation value of communities like this lies mostly in “being there already” – the sense that people are only a few minutes’ walk from most everything they need.
For longer trips, Storrs Center has a transportation hub – the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center – with access to buses serving the UConn campus, local communities, and intercity service to Hartford (about 40 minutes away), Providence, New York, and Boston. The Transportation Center also has parking, bike rentals, and electric vehicle chargers.
Storrs Center is a real success story in community planning, a story that I for one will continue to follow with great interest.