Chico is a northern California college town with a rich tradition of compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. In 2001, New Urban Builders set out to emulate that tradition. Westside Green is the firm’s second Chico neighborhood.
To build public support, the design team planned the new neighborhood in an intensive three-day design charrette. Patrick Siegman led the transportation planning effort for the project, while a Principal with Nelson\Nygaard. In partnership with TND Engineering, he also completed the project’s traffic impact studies, taking into account the motor vehicle trip reductions to be expected due to the project’s pedestrian-friendly and mixed-use design, and the unique trip generation characteristics of its live-work units.
The resulting traditional neighborhood development plan includes residential types ranging from detached single-family homes to townhouses, bungalow courts, and live/work units. Porches and stoops engage the slender, leafy streets. Parking is hidden away on rear lanes. Carriage houses top many of the garages. To deter speeding, blocks are short and traffic calming features built into the design.
The neighborhood lies along Nord Avenue, a busy state highway. To respond to neighbors’ requests for a calmer, more pedestrian-friendly street, the team redesigned the highway as a multi-way boulevard. In the tradition of Olmsted's classic boulevards, the highway is now lined by a slow-moving, tree-lined side drive. Instead of a bleak sound wall, townhomes, with porches and stoops, front on to the street. At nearby major intersections, roundabouts are proposed to calm traffic as it approaches the neighborhood and a nearby school.
The neighborhood is now under construction, with sales of bungalows, rowhouses and live-work buildings underway.
Images courtesy of New Urban Builders