What's Next for Downtown Lynn?

Link to MAPC website

Ideas for a thriving, vibrant, and economically competitive future

A Welcoming Appearance & Fewer Physical Barriers

The Lynn Department of Community Development began a Commercial Façade Program in October 2009, which has included grant assistance to downtown businesses for signage, lighting, and awnings.
Bernie's Place owner, Bernie Quintanilla, has gone the extra mile to make an inviting business with clear windows and thoughtful signage on his storefront, a clean interior, and friendly, bilingual customer service. Bernie's Place is located at 80 Central Avenue.
The 112 Market Street Eastern Bank branch, at the corner of Market and Oxford Streets, is open on weekdays and Saturday mornings, and the Blue Ox restaurant, located nearby at 191 Oxford Street is open Tuesday-Sunday evenings. There is little overlap in the hours of operation for these two businesses, which have successfully brokered a shared parking arrangement. Photo by Seth Albaum, Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association. Hours of operation accurate as of May 2014.
MAPC and other land use and transportation experts offer creative solutions for parking challenges. MAPC, along with the Department of Housing and Community Development's Massachusetts Downtown Initiative and the American Planning Assocation Massachusetts Chapter offered a day-long conference on parking in April 2014, when hundreds of planners, transportation professionals, and community advocates came together to discuss these innovative parking strategies.

Give Downtown Lynn a more welcoming appearance and reduce physical barriers to enjoying its amenities:

1. Continue façade improvement programs to address exterior property conditions. Update these programs when new design guidelines or other policies are established. The Lynn Department of Community Development has a Commercial Façade Program which has resulted in storefront improvements to more than twenty downtown businesses. This program should continue to be funded, which will likely require the City to establish new funding sources. Such a program could likely be managed through a Business Improvement District or Main Street program, as described in the recommendations for Business Vitality. Curb appeal matters, and storefronts should appear inviting.

2. Work with retailers and other storefront businesses to reduce clutter and improve visual merchandising of their products, to make their business inviting from the outside as well as appealing when potential customers enter the business. Again, these ideas can be explored in tandem with other Business Vitality recommendations. Many Massachusetts municipalities have participated in the Best Retail Practices Program offered by Retail Visioning.

3. Remove architectural barriers to enhance accessibility.

4. Encourage property investors and developers to adhere to design guidelines, and encourage existing property owners to update their properties accordingly.

5. Advocate for the establishment of coordinated street cleaning and other services that could be offered through a BID or special services district.

6. To promote a more pleasant atmosphere for walking and dining, eliminate garish flood lighting throughout Downtown.

7. Reduce surface parking lots, not only for municipal lots but private lots as well, as much of the land in Downtown Lynn is underutilized and there is a surplus of parking. Encourage shared parking agreements such as Blue Ox restaurant’s agreement with Eastern Bank. In place of pavement, add park space (depending on extent of contamination issues, if any) or infill development. Pursue a progressive parking management and pricing strategy.

8. Improve traffic circulation and make Downtown more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. Revisit previous plans such as the 2005 Downtown Traffic Study, 2008 Washington Street Gateway District Plan, and 2009 Downtown Market Street Vision Plan, which evaluate changing some one-way streets into two-way streets, offer recommendations for signage, and provide recommendations for widening sidewalks, adding bicycle amenities, and improving overall urban design. Pursue improvements in conjunction with implementing a progressive parking strategy.