El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning StandardsHonor Award - Analysis and Planning
J2 Engineering & Environmental Design
The vision of a restored Gila River, serving as a catalyst for economic development in the Southwest Valley, was born in 1999. That vision has flourished through the cooperative efforts of Maricopa County and the Cities of Avondale, Buckeye and Goodyear. The El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning Standards provides these partners and their communities with guidelines to supplement current development regulations. These guidelines create a focus on techniques that increase awareness and appreciation of the Gila River. These design guidelines illustrate development options and solutions to developing in a floodplain, while maintaining access to the Gila River, improving the aesthetic quality of the river and its surrounding communities, increasing the availability of publicly accessible open space, and effectively utilizing planning efforts to maximize the potential of the surrounding area for development and economic growth. Purposes of this document include: • Communicate the design qualities expected within the El Rio area • Facilitate fair and consistent application of design objectives throughout the El Rio area • Protect investment within the El Rio area by encouraging consistently high-quality development • Establish a positive interface with the river by integrating the river into the future development potential along the corridor • Promote pedestrian and multi-modal connections to the river to foster an interconnected society • Promote the economic viability of this area for future development An overriding goal is that development within the El Rio corridor will provide an interconnected, multi-modal system with a mix of uses and green spaces. Development in the corridor will link to the El Rio Trail system and the river environment. This interconnected ‘ribbon’ of green will transform the El Rio corridor into a unified, cohesive setting where residents and visitors can connect with nature, pause and enjoy life, and allow nature and humans to flourish.