ABC Ramps have been working under a renewed strategic vision established through the 2019 Transportation Options Study, 2019 Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel, and iteratively developed through pilot projects in 2019-2020. During this era of evaluation and strategizing, public art has risen as a key tool to improve ABC Ramps as a multi-modal hub and community asset. Since 2019, staff and the placemaking team have been building the groundwork for incorporating art into other temporary improvements. In 2021, previous barriers to permanent art installations were cleared, opening the door to establishing a long-term vision and framework for public art as a dynamic component of the ABC Ramps Mobility Hub.
Works of public art are part of the strategy to achieve the goals of ABC Ramps Mobility Hub including:
- Sustainability – Reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips through promoting flexible transportation options like transit, carpooling, biking, and walking. Public art helps improve the user experience of low carbon modes for existing users, thereby attracting new users to those modes and achieving more sustainable outcomes.
- Safety – Addressing concerns of customers and community members around the perceived and real safety at ABC Ramps through a holistic, activation-based approach. Public art is one of many tools that help increase the number of people in a space and show evidence of enhanced care that makes people feel safer.
- Neighborhood Connectivity – Creating pedestrian scale connections through ABC Ramps to North Loop, Downtown, Sumner Glenwood, and other neighborhoods. Public art can help break down under-activated and underutilized spaces at the street level and provide an enhanced experience while utilizing skyway connectivity.
WHAT IS PUBLIC ART?
The term “public art,” can mean different things to different people. When this plan talks about public art, it means creative ways of telling stories and sharing meaning in public space. This can include physical installations like murals, sculptures, and lighting installations; or experiences like art-driven events and performances. An important feature of public art is the PUBLIC part – that temporary and permanent art is free to all to enjoy and part of an inclusive, community-informed vision of an active public realm.
WHY DOES PUBLIC ART MATTER?
Public art addresses key strategic priorities by utilizing tools of storytelling, visual, and performing arts to speak to the things that matter most to users. Beyond the stories public art can convey, its presence in the space is a substantial contributor to providing users with a rewarding experience, which drives people to choose ABC Ramps Mobility Hub more frequently for their transportation needs. As more people use the transportation options at ABC, the facility will see an enhanced experience of safety for users and stable, sustainable revenues to support ongoing service.
ABC Ramps Mobility Hub is a gateway to the vibrant neighborhoods of Downtown, North Loop, the Roots District, and Sumner Glenwood. These neighborhoods have grown significantly since ABC Ramps was first built during the highway building boom and now it is crucial that the facility finds ways to make not only the transportation services a benefit to the neighborhood, but also support human-scale pedestrian connections between the neighborhoods, which can be supported through public art.