Not So Great Streets

Not So Great Streets

The phrase “great streets” gets a lot of lip service in downtown stakeholder circles.  This has been going on since 2000.  We’re all familiar with 2nd Street District, and I think we can generally agree that the City/AMLI knocked it out of the park with this one.  It’s a terrific pedestrian experience.

With the Great Streets Program available since 2000, not all buildings constructed since then have fully adopted the notion.  Two examples:

1) Hampton Inn

Sure, the New Orleans style terrace is charming, but if you’ve ever walked by the hotel you were almost certainly dodging valet podiums, bellhops, guests, and tiny bistro tables that are so crowded that nobody uses them.

2) Champions @ Courtyard Marriot

If you know this corner, you know there is a string of cabs parked along 4th street.  Here we see a hard fence forcing pedestrians towards the street, and creating an uninviting al-fresco experience for bar patrons.  The far end of this fence terminates into a round-a-bout entrance into the Courtyard.  A better alternative to activate this corner would be planters like we see at Annies, which would also provide an entrance to the the restaurant along 4th street.

photos courtesy of Mike McGill

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. The proposed shuttle is more for county workers, and would be more of an express bus service (meet at park-and-ride out in the burbs, ride together on bus all the way to downtown).

  2. Just heard about the “shuttle” that will cost city workers, $230/month. This city just let the Dillo die, how will the shuttle do anything more than the dillo?

  3. Well said, Jude. While both projects delivered something better than what preceded them, they both fell short of doing as well as they could have. I feel that the Hampton in will regret this once the property to their north opens up with Great Streets. It is a relatively small detail that most people couldn’t explain, but they will inherently feel safer and be more interested in the area that adheres to true Great Streets standards.

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