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Community Open Space Initiatives: Nihonmachi


Main Street Improvements

Design alternatives

Chiaki Nakajima

1) Basis of the future developments plan

Possibilities of New Development

Future developments on current vacant lots along the Main Street which boarders the historical area and proposed new developments should be carefully ex- amined mainly considering three points:

Ground level uses and design--Ground floor is en- couraged to be developed for retail use as much as possible in terms of context and safety. Ground floor building façades must not be monotonous and have to reflect Japan town store front feature.

Main Street was once a center of Nihonmachi. The streetscape of Main Street from 4 th Avenue to 7 th Avenue, where historical buildings along the streets still remain must be preserved. Further the pedestrian environment there should be improved. There are four parking lots and one vacant lot along Main Street.All of them are being considered for development in the near future. New buildings will present a strong impact on the townscape in Nihonmachi.

The goal of this project is to revitalize Main Street as a historical pedestrian-oriented street. The overall goal of the project is:

A) To show design alternatives for new development buildings and on-street parking issues.

B) To redesign the building - sidewalk – street relation- ship along Main Street. This also includes a proposal for ground floor façade design for future developments along Main Street.

Street wall--In general, historical buildings in this neighborhood cover 100% of their lot creating a strong continuous street wall. This street wall should be re- tained in future development design.

2) Community Alternatives

Building height and setback--The height limitation for new development site is 150 feet. This corresponds to a 10-story building, which is relatively tall compared with existing two to six-story historical buildings. Figure A shows how the streetscape of Main Street changes with and without a setback. Buildings in color are future development buildings. The first row is a streetscape without a setback, the second row is a streetscape with a ten foot setback above the third floor and the third row shows a streetscape with a ten-foot setback above the fifth floor. Setbacks make new buildings more com- patible with existing historical buildings and also make the pedestrian environment more comfortable.

Parking-lot study--The issue of on-street parking is also influence on the streetscape of Main Street. Fig- ure B is a study about on-street parking style.

Panama Hotel

Nihomachi Terrace

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