The space under the I-59/20 bridges has been a topic of conversation for quite some time and has some history associated with it. Conceptual planning began in 2014 via a study conducted with REV Birmingham to analyze not only what could be done under the bridge to make this a great space for people, but also to create a fresh and vibrant space. The 2014 study only homed in on 8 blocks from 18th to 24th streets. Some of the ideas that came from this study were to create recreational and art spaces, green spaces, and classroom space, among others.
In 2015, the lighting scheme of the I-59/20 Bridge replacement job was incorporated into the construction plans. The lighting scheme included LED ribbon lighting along the outer edges of the bridge along with the provision of ambient and functional lighting under the bridge.
I-59/20 Placemaking Concept
Aesthetic Lighting Concepts
Public Space Conceptual Master Plan, Street Design, Lighting Design
Public Input Process and Programming
In 2016, the space was looked at again, except this time the footprint was larger and included approximately 10 blocks spanning from 15th Street North on the West, to 25th Street North on the East. The space is approximately 5,000 linear feet in length. The study now would focus on the space and how it would be transformed due to the new bridge construction overhead. The study involved a small public outreach component, which did provide the design team with criteria and program for the space, but not enough input was received. It was decided the sampling of participation needed to be larger.
In 2018, ALDOT teamed with the City of Birmingham to develop a process which was driven by the citizens of Birmingham and the surrounding community. A robust public engagement process was developed and executed. Several opportunities developed for public engagement, which included public input meetings, a project-dedicated webpage, social media outlet via Facebook, and additional outreach to neighborhood community meetings. The design of this unique space under the bridge will be based on the desires and the input from the community. Branded as CityWalk BHAM, this project will create a unique, vibrant public space full of programmatic elements and activities which will enliven and strengthen the space.