Birmingham Green, downtown’s signature street is about to get a makeover

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Birmingham Green
View of Birmingham Green—20th Street— from the Elyton Hotel. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Just in time for World Games 2022, Birmingham Green — 20th Street — downtown’s signature street, is about to undergo an exciting new makeover.

The 200+ day construction project begins October 11th, thanks to the City Center District Management Corporation (CCDMC), a self-help Business Improvement District (BID) funded by downtown property owners, the City of Birmingham and REV Birmingham,. 

Birmingham Green Refresh

Birmingham Green
Birmingham Green rendering. Photo via Rev Birmingham

Called the Birmingham Green Refresh, the project spans from the railroad tracks near Morris Avenue to Linn Park on 20th Street North.

Elements of Birmingham Green Refresh include: 

  • New native and drought resistant landscaping, consistent with the plant palette found in Railroad Park and Rotary Trail
  • Cafe-style seating
  • Expansion of the bike and flex lanes installed on a portion of the street in 2020 (Take a look at that project – HERE)

All businesses on 20th Street North plan to remain open throughout construction.

“On behalf of downtown property owners, the board of the Central City District Management Corporation is excited to kick off this long-awaited update of 20th Street,” said David Williams, Central City District Management Corporation Board Chair and President & CEO of Harbert Realty Services. “We think this kind of public-private partnership is the next big step to making our City Center even more attractive for new businesses and talent. A strong City Center – a source of pride and opportunity – creates growth in the whole city, metro and region.” 

Flex Lanes Birmingham
Flex lane on Birmingham’s 20th Street North. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

 The project will be implemented in four 50-day phases:

  • Phase 1: Northbound lane of 20th Street from 3rd Avenue North to Linn Park
  • Phase 2: Southbound lane of 20th Street from Park to Linn 3rd Avenue North
  • Phase 3: Southbound lane of 20th Street from 3rd Avenue North to Morris Avenue
  • Phase 4: Northbound lane of 20th Street from Morris Avenue to 3rd Avenue North

Signage will be installed on 20th Street to point to revbirmingham.org/20thstreet, which will be updated with construction information throughout the project. Frequent users of 20th Street are also encouraged to sign up for email updates on the page.

City Master Plan

Birmingham Skyline
Birmingham skyline. Photo via Jon Eastwood for BhamNow.

According to David Fleming, President and CEO of Rev Birmingham, all this work is an outgrowth from the 2019 City Center Master Plan.

“Downtown Birmingham’s unstoppable momentum continues,” said David Fleming, REV Birmingham President and CEO. “It is rewarding to be a part of the partnerships happening to implement recommendations from the 2019 City Center Master Plan designed to keep our downtown competitive.  A refreshed Birmingham Green, first installed in the 1970s, will give the Birmingham of today the vibrant signature main street that it deserves.”

Partnerships Make It Happen

Flex Parking
Volunteers from Freshwater Land Trust painting the Flex lane on Birmingham’s 20th Street North. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

As we all know, none of this would happen without partnerships.

The CCDMC partnered with REV Birmingham and collaborated with community partners to instigate planning and design for the project. 

PNC supported pre-development work. Landscape design partners Dix Hite + Partners, Golightly Landscape Architecture, Goodwin Mills Cawood, Macknally Land Design, Renta Urban Land Design and Studio A Design contributed pro bono conceptual designs. 

A demonstration project was completed in the fall of 2020 in partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects and supported by Hunter Trees, Shelby General Contractors and Vulcan Materials.

Follow the Project

For the next 200+ days, keep up with the “refresh” of the Birmingham Green at revbirmingham.org/20thstreet

Watch the makeover of 20th Street right before the World Games.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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