Client: City of Lancaster
Downtown Lancaster was platted by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the late nineteenth century as a simple grid of streets, much like many other California railroad towns. Over the next century, and while Lancaster became a sprawling suburb with Lancaster Boulevard as its Main Street, the City lost much of its traditional downtown character. The Boulevard suffered from high-speed traffic, poor pedestrian facilities, excessive parking and reduced retail activity. After initiating change with the completion of the Downtown Specific Plan in 2008, the City retained Moule & Polyzoides to redesign the Boulevard’s streetscape.
The Moule & Polyzoides vision focuses on establishing a new image for downtown Lancaster. It is centered on reconfiguring the Boulevard into a rambla and designing adjacent streets, plazas, paseos to generate a superior public realm. Among the Plan’s key elements are wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, awnings and arcades, fewer travel lanes, enhanced crosswalks, abundant street trees and shading, and added lighting, gateways and public art. Lancaster Boulevard has been transformed into an attractive shopping destination, a magnet for pedestrian activity and a venue for civic gatherings, which will help ensure long-term economic prosperity.
The revitalized Lancaster Boulevard has been instrumental in the turnaround of downtown Lancaster. Since project completion in late 2009:
“Well done. First two blocks are open!!” said Deputy City Manager Jason Caudle shortly after the project’s completion. “Thanks for your help. It looks spectacular.”