Central Beach Parkway
Alec Yuzhbabenko, Assoc. AIA; Yingfei Wang
The Central Beach Parkway plan defines the future of the Central Beach area of Virginia Beach by creating a sustainable urban-beach lifestyle for the community and a cultural destination place for the visitor.
The Central Beach Parkway is a response to an analysis of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort area's connectivity between the Boardwalk and the Convention/Arena District. Recommendations developed from the research were derived from a variety of resources throughout the community along with a thorough analysis of potential solutions for the area. The project assessed existing conditions in the development area, evaluated the planning goals of the City, and conceived design concepts to meet those goals.
This study included an analysis of existing and future planned developments in the Central Beach District area. This involved many mapping exercises, site visits, and coordination meetings between various agencies. The research component includes three primary elements: 1. Data: Mapping of roads, property ownership, walkways, bikeways, public transportation, utilities, parking, open space, and public infrastructure, 2. Planning: Mapping, understanding, and coordination of city planning and zoning documents along with future development plans. 3. Listening: Meeting with neighbors, businesses and city planning, transportation, economic development, and strategic growth staff to understand their goals and aspirations along with the challenges associated with the pursuit of their goals. The strategy synthesized the research and was developed on principles of environmental sustainability and preservation of open space, habitat, and buffers to minimize impacts to the ecosystem. These strategies have been carefully intertwined with vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian fabric of the surrounding area to create a connection between the area district and the boardwalk. The strategy also leveraged city-owned properties and right-of-ways without significant impacts on private property owners to create the connectors.
The proposal suggests that the City of Virginia Beach should focus on infrastructure issues including mass transit, pedestrian paths, and bicycle access to facilitate connectivity to the resort corridor along the beach. By utilizing the existing right-of-way easements of 17th, 18th, and 19th streets along with properties currently owned by the city of Virginia Beach, the connections to the boardwalk, and the surrounding community can be enhanced. By dedicating the 18th street corridor to create the new parkway, the area is provided a new park asset along with much-needed land area for storm-water management and a corridor to incorporate the future light-rail connection without disturbing traffic patterns or significantly impacting private properties.