We could, and should, do a lot more to attract convention-goers to businesses in Shaw. Two things come immediately to mind, neither of which require significant investment. First, I think we should improve the wayfinding experience. For example, there is currently no signage, information kiosk or neighborhood map at the intersection of 9th and L Streets -- an important intersection for convention center foot traffic given the convention center's entrance/exit onto L Street between 7th and 9th Streets -- indicating the presence of retail north on 9th Street. Wouldn't it be great to install a kiosk with eye-catching signage that holds neighborhood retail maps, cultural tourism maps and the like for convention-goers to take?
Second, we should improve the appearance of nearby vacant properties. These vacant properties need not be community liabilities but could instead be community assets. Marriott's row of vacant buildings north of L Street (which are awaiting rehab for the two small convention hotels make the street), for example, act as a major deterrent to pedestrians heading north on 9th Street, as they give off the impression that the commercial corridor is not open for business and is unsafe. The buildings could be adorned with public art -- such as a mural on the south facade and sculptures on the 9th Street upper facades -- that would turn them into eye-pleasing assets.
Our wonderful restaurants, coffee shops, galleries, and bars could surely benefit from additional convention foot traffic. Do you have any ideas for ways to attract convention goer business to our commercial corridors?