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How should road traffic in the city center advance its functions?

Allocation of pedestrians' road space should be considered to create more vibrancy and interactions in the city center.

Hakata Ekimae-Dori is a street connecting Hakata Station and one of the major roads in Fukuoka City. The city government is collaborating with the area's stakeholders to implement a pedestrian-friendly approach for the street, reducing the number of roadways and widening the sidewalks to create vibrancy. Pedestrian amenities are to be improved in order to stimulate the visitors to stroll around and stay longer in the area.

Hakata Ekimae-Dori is an 800-meter-long downtown street connecting Hakata Station and Kokutai-Doro Avenue, one of three main roads crossing east and west of Fukuoka City's central area through Tenjin, the city's largest commercial zone. And it also passes beside a big shopping complex, Canal City Hakata. Hakata Station and Tenjin where both have prospered as the business and shopping center of Kyushu Island. In both areas, the city's big redevelopment projects "Hakata Connected" and "Tenjin Big Bang" are now in progress.

In the late 2000s, the area's stakeholders, together with the Fukuoka City Government, conducted several experimental trials to create vibrancy on this street, such as installing benches and sidewalk cafés for a limited period prior to the redevelopment of Hakata Station with the extension of Shinkansen network to the south, linking all the way from Tokyo to Kagoshima in 2011. And these trials were successful. Hakata Town Planning Promotion Council and the area's stakeholders submitted a proposal for the development concept and direction on charming townscape formation to the city government in 2014. Based on this, Fukuoka City Government introduced a plan to use this street to create a vibrancy in the area in 2016, together with the Nanakuma Line extension of Fukuoka City Subway from Tenjin Minami Station to Hakata Station scheduled in the Fiscal Year 2022.

In this plan, the approach shifted to pedestrian-friendly. Without changing the street width of 27 meters, the roadways are reduced from five lanes to three, then each sidewalk on both sides is widened from 5.5 meters to 7.25 meters, and new bicycle lanes of 1.5 meters are secured on both sides. Wider sidewalks create the space to improve pedestrian amenities, such as placing benches for pedestrians to rest. The parking spaces for cars, motorcycles, and bicycles have moved underground around Hakata Station for passersby mobility and townscape aesthetic. This street is also designated as an urban landscape formation area in Fukuoka City Landscape Plan enacted in 2012.

For creating the street's vibrancy, the collaboration of private entities, such as landowners, developers, and retailers, is essential for this project, such as decorating the street with trees and flower pots along the road to make the walk pleasant and comfortable. And they collaborate in allocating cafés, restaurants, and retail shops on the ground level of the buildings facing the street. The street also accommodates parades and performances during big festivals.

Hakata Ekimae-Dori is also a part of three-axis areas of downtown; Hakata Station, Tenjin, and Waterfront, where the city government prioritizes the redevelopment plan to strengthen the city's international competitiveness. So this street is expected to attract more visitors, make them stroll around and the area, and create vibrancy and enhance the value of the area.

[Case ID: Urban Transportation UT-03]


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