Poughkeepsie, NY (1999-2000)

Client: Vassar College


Project for Public Spaces conducted a study of the Arlington Business District in the Town of Poughkeepsie at the request of Vassar College and the Arlington Steering Committee. Arlington is a mixed-use business and residential community that has the potential to become a vibrant town center, an asset for Vassar College, and a special community place. The process included interviews, surveys, a parking study, town meetings, a traffic analysis of Raymond Avenue, an economic analysis, and numerous presentations to the Steering Committee and other area stakeholders.

Recommendations for improvements to the area included traffic calming of Raymond Avenue, a state arterial that for years has cut off one side of the community from another; widening sidewalks; developing unsightly lots with uses that will help create a town center; shared parking areas to reduce the space devoted to asphalt lots; a better retail mix, including specialty shopping, to help create a destination shopping district; new public spaces, including a town square, passive park, and a network of lively secondary spaces; a farmers market; new gateways to Vassar College and the Arlington district; streetscape improvements, such as more seating, flowers and trees, more attractive storefronts and signs, and historic street lamps; and the creation of a new business improvement district.

As a result, a BID has been formed that manages storefront upgrades and provides leadership to implement other aspects of the vision plan; the farmers market has become one of the town’s most popular new destinations; and Vassar is beginning a redevelopment process for key properties for community and student uses that bring activity to previously underused spaces.


New York State DOT began construction on Raymond Avenue’s southern approach to the district in the spring of 2006, and opened this section of the road in the spring of 2007. Improvements to the roadway include a new roundabout, crosswalks, and medians.