Type: Tactical Urbanism Demonstration + Charrette + Form-Based Code
Size: Citywide (59,280 population, 18 sq. miles)
On June 2014, The Street Plans Collaborative joined the City of San Marcos and Dover, Kohl & Partners in re-envisioning downtown utilizing tactical urbanism—yielding low cost/high gain, long-term change. Among several creative elements employed included converting two blocks of street from one-way to two-way traffic using temporary paint; installation of a temporary two-way cycle track; an adjacent block was closed to create a farmer’s market, and creating “pop-up” parks built onto parking areas.
This event kicked-off a week-long charrette by Dover, Kohl & Partners to develop a proposed form-based code. The team effectively engaged the city, the public, and transportation engineers. In the end, the City of San Marcos presented a recommendation of changes in full detail, with correct widths for sidewalks, travel lanes, and on-street parking-everything demonstrated, proven, and publicized in the SMTX project, ready for permanent implementation.
The City of San Marcos’ existing Development Code was adopted in December of 2002. Code SMTX includes updates to all regulations relating to land development concerning items like building heights, building materials, required landscaping, street design, lot and block size requirements, parkland dedications and stormwater management. Ultimately, Code SMTX expands the portions of the city where walkable urbanism (as opposed to drive-only suburbanism) is the default.
Code SMTX was awarded a Charter Award of Excellence for its Tactical Urbanism Intervention and Project Kickoff on the Block, Street, and Building Scale by the Congress for the New Urbanism in 2015.