HDAdvisors produced a comprehensive study of the corridor formed by Canal and Fleet streets in Petersburg, Virginia. This corridor is heavily traveled and connects the City and the growing campus of Virginia State University, serving as the southern gateway to the VSU campus for students and visitors. Likewise the Canal/Fleet Corridor connects the campus to the historic district of the City and the dining and entertainment opportunities in Petersburg’s downtown district.
The purpose of the report was to place all previous planning efforts over the past 10 years for the Corridor in context and recommend key development strategies for successful implementation of the concepts contained in many of these previous planning efforts.
HDAdvisors first compiled a summary of previous studies done on the Corridor. We then outlined current conditions including traffic, lighting, land uses, way-finding, and blight. We analyzed the market conditions in the study area, showing population trends, demographic conditions, housing, vacancy, tenure, and incomes. Next, stakeholders gave their input, which we factored into our recommendations.
HDAdvisors found that there is not sufficient buying power in surrounding neighborhoods alone to support retail and commercial development. The Corridor’s best opportunity lies with uses that build on and connect to the VSU community. Significant infrastructure improvements are necessary for revitalization efforts: sidewalks, bike paths, and landscaping, to name a few. We also recommend beautification and blight removal, focusing on vacant properties along the Corridor. Finally, visual appeal needs to improve by creating gateways that mark entrance points and preserving views.
The development strategy focuses on promoting a mix of commercial, residential, and recreational uses in the corridor. We urge a collaboration with VSU to create new construction and better serve the community as well as students and visitors of the University.