8.28.2012

[creekwalk | engaging esplanade]

The creekwalk certainly offers a great pathway for strolling, but other than a few benches scattered along its length, it offers little else for users to engage with.  The creekwalk could benefit from layering additional uses that would act as additional draw for other users.  Lets take a quick look at the brand new EastRiver Esplanade in NYC for some great examples:


Aside from an assortment of benches and some picnic tables in Clinton Square and adjacent to the federal building, there aren’t many options for the downtown office worker to sit and eat lunch outside.  The Esplanade offers high seating, along a broad railing that doubles as countertop-like surface, so one can gaze out at the river while eating.  This strategy could be easily incorporated along the creekwalk, either in the same manner or perhaps in a reimagined way that is stepped into the slope down toward the creek.


The Esplanade also boasts a well-appointed dog park that brings neighborhood dog-owners together while Fido burns off some energy.  The 4-or-5 car shock of parking/pavement that was oddly added just west of the MOST comes to mind as a great location for this – although its wasteful to pull out new material, the size and proximity of this spot are perfect.  The addition of a dog park would of course add a bit of work for the parks department to maintain it, but the benefits to downtown residents [and their dogs] as well as the smiles of passers-by surely outweigh the maintenance.

There already are a few moments and events that draw people to the creekwalk, like the Loch West Monster and the annual creek float parade, but there could be far more.  How about a playground or two for children [and adults too – you know that you like the occasional zip down a slide]?  And a smattering of hot-spot nodes for laptop and gadget users to hang out?  Lets invite a few vendors to establish a summer pop-up food stand creekside.  Or maybe an engaging water feature?  There are countless possibilities – we just need to start realizing the full potential of our very own Esplanade, the creekwalk.

4 comments:

  1. Jason, I look forward to your posts about ideas for the creekwalk. Even though it is, I hope, only the beginning of a much more extensive system of off-road pathways in Syracuse and environs, it is a great start. Syracusans have generally regarded their local waters as tainted and uninteresting. The creekwalk starts to change that. The walk will become more useful and thought-provoking with added amenities and programming, along the lines of what you have been suggesting.

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    1. Thanks Vince. I share your hope that this is the beginning of a larger system of pathways around the city and beyond -- it seems that a lot of pieces are falling into place, albeit often too slowly, for such a network to take shape.

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  2. Yes, it is quite obvious that the mark was missed with allowing users of the creek walk to actually engage with the creek. Even when there are amenities, such as the few benches that you mention, they are on the far side of the path, and afford no actually view of the creek! The section between Fayette and Walton was also a missed opportunity to create a sort of incline path down to the water's edge. Or even in the least, a bump out of some sort with seating which cantilevers over the slope down to the creek (though I'd rather have the incline path down to the edge).

    One other thing, about amenities in Syracuse. The old covered bus seating and ticket sales booth on Salina would be an excellent location for a food cart bazaar of sorts, with undercover seating!


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    1. Frank, you've hit one of the biggest downfalls of the creekwalk -- lack of access to the water -- dead on. And coincidentally, this is the topic I'll be expanding on in my next post.

      Also, great idea with the food cart bazaar! It does indeed seem to be a perfect location -- and the food truck/cart (beyond the typical hot dog and salt potatoes) has been slow to grow and gain popularity in Syracuse, so having a place to foster their growth would be great.

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