Designing Connectivity in Kecoughtan

On the subject of neighborhoods and connectivity… Thanks to Jeremy Hinton for pointing to the Kecoughtan Road Master Plan for revitalizing the Kecoughtan neighborhood, his old stomping grounds near downtown Hampton.

According to the analysis by Urban Design Associates, the residential component of the neighborhood is still sound. But the commercial strip along Kecoughtan Road, which once served as a major transportation artery, has fallen on hard times as retail activity moved to regional shopping venues elsewhere. The Corridor Plan envisions shrinking and repositioning the retail sector in order to build a more balanced, better connected, more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that takes better advantage of its waterfront.

The study lists six “guiding principles” that should frame public and private investment in the corridor:

1. Redefine the Kecoughtan Road Corridor primarily as a residential boulevard and neighborhood main street which will present an appropriate front door to the neighborhoods.

2. Create memorable places and events along the length of the Corridor which help reinforce the unique identity and history of the various neighborhoods.

3. Consolidate commercial land uses to the two existing neighborhood shopping centers as much as possible while still supporting viable neighborhood-oriented business elsewhere along the Corridor.

4. Eliminate non-neighborhood-friendly commercial uses while supporting commercial businesses which are truly neighborhood-serving.

5. Ensure that new development and redevelopment preserves and enhances the essential qualities of the neighborhoods: charm, water orientation, architectural styles, and the rich history of the area.

6. Establish connections to existing and proposed open spaces, the water, schools, and other facilities (my emphasis).


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2 responses to “Designing Connectivity in Kecoughtan”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    To illuminate the discussion of the Kecoughtan corridor, I’m appending Hinton’s comments from another post to this one.

    “As you can see, it was predominantly a grid. Kecoughtan road to the north had some commercial zones in the area (a small supermarket, some restaurants), but not a lot. I could (and often did) walk to the supermarket and grab some to-go Chinese, but that was about it. We did have some issues with cut-through traffic (Chesapeake was viewed sometimes an alternative to the busier and stop-lighted Kecoughtan), but as a neighboorhood we got together put forward some traffic slowing measures.

    “The neighboorhood elementary school and pool were all accessable without have to cross any major roads (but Kecoughtan for those on the other side).

    “At any rate, I think its interesting that many cities are looking at areas like this and realizing they are prime for the redevelopment of the “small town center”. The grid layout already in place makes this extremely effective and helps encourage the desired pedestrian usage. Olde Wythe itself is targeted for such redevelopment:

    “I personally laud cities for retracing their roots. Many of these mini centers were gobbled up years ago as towns were annexed by growing cities, and i think it quite encouraging to see the effort made to restore that pattern of land use. If it worked before, it can work again.”

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    We’ll see how this plan goes. I hope well. But, there are other factors than how the folks move around.

    I’d question how sound the residential component is. Wythe is where the old money used to live in Hampton. Some of the old money still lives there. But, homes with million dollar views of Hampton Roads go for less than a million because of location, location, location.

    Public schools aren’t good. So, that is a disincentive.

    The retail corridor is within walking distance to big crime and drug neighborhoods. Might effect how successful the project is.

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