Healthy commercial streets have a street wall that creates an intimate, walkable environment. This principle is called human scale and it is achieved when buildings frame a street at a 1:2 ratio and have active storefronts and interesting facades with active uses.
In this project, the team came up with strategies which addressed breaks in the street wall on Merrimack Street. These fragmentations of the environment reduce walkability, safety, and commerce. The Goecke deck and surface parking lot created the largest break in the street wall on Merrimack St. The project focused primarily on spanning 300 ft of the parking lot with active uses. The concept was created through input from the community, property owners, business owners and the City of Haverhill. Vibrancy in cities does not just happen, it is programmed. The Haverhill Better Block mixed live music, a beer garden, a theater, pop-up shops, bike rides, and food to create an experience that can be duplicated in the future. Mixing this program with a calmed street, new public space, and opportunities for entrepreneurs is what Haverhill needs to replicate to achieve an active street life.
A total of $5,300 of total revenue and $331.25 in sales tax was generated between 11 AM and 7 PM on an empty parking lot and an under-used plaza on a Saturday where weather was a negative factor in participant turnout.