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Downtown Frederick Streetscape Study RFP

Downtown Frederick Partnership and the City of Frederick are serving as the co-leads of a streetscape study process that will include many additional stakeholders. The Partnership and the City are looking for creative, thoughtful solutions that respond to the unique challenges and opportunities of Downtown Frederick.

Here you will find all of the information needed in order to respond to the Downtown Frederick Streetscape Study RFP. Click the buttons below to navigate to a particular section of the RFP.

Deadline to respond: Friday, February 26 at 5PM

A pre-submission meeting was held on February 19. This meeting included an overview of Downtown Frederick and the project background, as well as a live Q&A portion. View a recording of this meeting here.

Contact kara@downtownfrederick.org with any questions.



Project Introduction

Frederick has an opportunity to use the experiences and data collected during the ongoing pandemic to reimagine the Downtown Frederick public streetscape and reinforce long term recovery and continued growth. Downtown Frederick is the hub of culture, commerce and government in the City of Frederick and attracted more than 2 million visitors annually before the pandemic. The current streetscape was successfully implemented in early 1990s when the city undergrounded utilities. However, streetscape deficiencies have become apparent during recent years as downtown has experienced strong revitalization and as the current facilities have aged. Limitations in the current streetscape have been further magnified as result of recent COVID related needs and overall trends toward complete streets supporting multi-modal transportation, accessible pedestrian routes, social distancing, outdoor dining and friendly parking.

The selected consultant or consultant team must complete a robust, COVID-19 appropriate public engagement process to result in:

  • A list of prioritized goals and requirements to improve and enhance the Downtown Frederick streetscape
  • Creative streetscape design concepts that support the identified goals and requirements including short, mid and long term solutions
  • Identification of changes in City policy and/or code that would support the ability to implement streetscape enhancements
  • A high-level budgetary estimate of costs to improve the city streetscape, organized into logical projects or major facilities
  • Identification of short, mid and long term funding options for the solutions identified
  • Creation of a phased implementation schedule that contemplates differing levels of funding availability

Cumulatively, these elements together with robust outreach will result in the creation of a community supported Downtown Frederick Streetscape Strategy. While no strategy exists today, the community has a strong interest in improving streetscape, including sidewalk conditions, and determining how the lessons learned during the pandemic to date can result in an enhanced Downtown Frederick streetscape that better serves its multiple users.



Project Partners


Downtown Frederick Partnership (the Partnership)

Founded in 1990, Downtown Frederick Partnership is a 501(c)3 organization that serves as the official Main Street organization representing the residents and businesses who call the 40-plus block community known as Downtown Frederick home. The Partnership has a four-person, full-time staff who work hard to enhance, promote and preserve the vitality and livability of Downtown Frederick.

Kara Norman, AICP, Partnership Executive Director, will staff this project.

The City of Frederick

Founded 275 years ago, the City of Frederick today is home to over 3,500 businesses and world-class facilities. The City’s position atop the 270 Tech Corridor has strengthened it as an east coast hub for discovery and innovation. Award-winning adaptive reuse of historic properties translates a remarkable past into a vibrant tomorrow. A thriving culinary scene is enriched by local breweries and distilleries. Most of all, Frederick’s future is its people. They are proud of Frederick’s story, but they are ready to work together to build upon it – to make every next chapter better than the last.

The following City Departments will be available to the consultant team coordinated through Zack Kershner, PE, the City’s Public Works Director: Economic Development, Engineering, Historic Preservation, Housing & Human Services, Legal, Mayor’s Office, Parking, Planning, Police, Public Works, Risk Management and Transportation.



Project Background Information

Demographic Breakdown:

Downtown Frederick is located in central Maryland, less than 50 miles from Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Approximately 4,500 people live downtown and roughly 70,000 live in the City of Frederick. Downtown Frederick’s demographic breakdown includes (ESRI 2019):

  • Average household size: 1.8
  • Median household income: $64,908
  • Median age: 40.6
  • Race/Ethnicity: 74.1% White, 16.6% Black, 8.4% Hispanic Origin, 4.3% Two or More Races, 2.5% Other Race, 1.9% Asian, 0.5% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander

Commercial Breakdown:

Downtown Frederick is a dense, historically significant commercial district, with 500+ businesses located in an area of 1.5 square miles. The business community is diverse and fiercely independent. More than 250 retail, restaurant, art and entertainment businesses call Downtown Frederick home and more than 99% of those businesses are independently owned. The commercial breakdown of Downtown Frederick includes:

  • 19% independently owned retail
  • 18% food and craft beverage
  • 7% attractions and entertainment
  • 5% creative arts
  • 18% service and wellness
  • 33% professional


Downtown Frederick sidewalks, in general, are in poor condition with many tripping hazards and challenges to ADA compliance. While new developments construct compliant and safe sidewalks, existing neighborhoods like Downtown Frederick generally have deficient and non-compliant sidewalks. The City budgets limited CIP funds for ADA-compliant crossings and sidewalks. City-code places the burden on the landowner to construct, repair and maintain sidewalks. The public ROW downtown is about 60 feet. Multiple buildings, and accessory structures, such as stairs and cellar doors encroach into the ROW, further restricting pedestrian movement. Encroachment agreements should be in place for these structures but frequently are not. Years of deferred maintenance, a variety of different sidewalk designs (all brick, brick at curb line only, all concrete, etc), streetscaping and high pedestrian usage create a need to focus improving the sidewalk condition. 

Pandemic Interventions:

In response to the pandemic, the City of Frederick offered a variety of interventions into the Downtown Frederick streetscape to support outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries, distilleries and other food service establishments. Downtown Frederick traditionally allowed for sidewalk cafes. The pandemic response added street closures, parklets, use of public spaces and use of private property in new ways for outdoor dining. More information on these options can be found on the City’s website.

Additional Information and Guidance:

Several existing City documents provide additional information and guidance. The outreach process and the resulting streetscape strategy needs to align with and support these documents. Click on each header below to expand information about that document.

City of Frederick CommUNITY 2030 Strategic Plan

City of Frederick’s Vision: The year is 2030: Over 85,000 people call The City of Frederick home. It is a place where people have chosen to work, learn, innovate, and relax. Frederick is nationally recognized for thoughtful managed sustainable urban development. Prosperity is balanced with housing, employment, and cultural opportunities for everyone. Our vibrant downtown and livable neighborhoods welcome new residents and creative entrepreneurs. Employers large and small provide competitive employment opportunities for the City of Frederick’s workforce. Well-coordinated transportation choices allow movement around, within, and beyond Frederick to nearby metropolitan areas. Frederick is rich in the diversity of talents, cultures, and life stories that connect us with each other. All voices are encouraged and respected, fostering one of the most civically engaged cities in America. Steeped in history, Frederick is a progressive, welcoming, and authentically charming city. View the full City of Frederick CommUNITY 2030 Strategic Plan here.

See a summary of key Strategic Plan goals and objectives here.

City of Frederick Equity Resolution

In August 2020, the City of Frederick adopted a resolution recognizing equity as a fundamental value. This resolution provides guidance related to public outreach and future actions. View the City of Frederick Equity Resolution here.

City of Frederick Racism as a Public Health Crisis Resolution

In July 2020, the City of Frederick adopted a resolution concerning racism as a public health crisis. This resolution calls of the City to consider the social justice impact of programs. View the City of Frederick Resolution No 20-15: Racism as a Public Health Crisis here.

2020 City of Frederick Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is a guide for the location, character, and extent of proposed public and private development in the City. It influences the CommUNITY 2030, Capital Improvement Program, amendments to the City Code and Land Management Code, and zoning changes. In addition, it is prudent for the City to ensure all other plans, guidelines, and policy documents are consistent with the Plan.

The implementation chapter prioritizes the goals and policies to provide guidance to the responsible parties and the order of updates to the City’s regulations, ordinances, and zoning maps. The Plan’s policies and recommendations will be implemented over time by guiding the decisions of elected officials as well as members of boards and commissions.

The State of Maryland entrusts local jurisdictions with land use planning authority to guide growth and development through the Land Use Article of the Maryland Annotated Code. The statute outlines the responsibilities, roles, and functions of the planning commission and sets the ground rules for planning and zoning powers. As part of this Article, the Comprehensive Plan must be updated every ten years. This revision and update is needed to respond to changing conditions, unforeseen events and trends, and emerging objectives.

See a summary of relevant policies from the draft 2020 Comprehensive Plan here.

Flood Resiliency Study for the City of Frederick: Downtown Drainage Area Stormwater Improvements

The City of Frederick recently has engaged the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to provide the City data to implement projects for the safe conveyance of stormwater to protect property and infrastructure in the downtown portion of the City of Frederick. The stormwater system in this location, the Downtown Drainage study area, ultimately outfalls to Carroll Creek via several stormwater outfalls. This area is generally bound by East Street on the east, Seventh Street on the north, Bentz Street on the west, and Carroll Creek on the south.

USACE will complete a study to assess the drainage basin and calculate and analyze impacts of stormwater runoff for the 2, 10 and 100-year storms to the current built environment. Hydrologic and hydraulic analyses will also account for future growth and development within this area and any associated impacts. Areas which may lack sufficient infrastructure to safely convey the 10-year storm shall be identified along with recommended projects to address the potential flooding. Additionally, areas which are likely to experience catastrophic losses from the results of a 100-year storm event shall be identified along with opportunities to minimize those impacts through any combination of additional infrastructure, reduction in impervious area, or potential improvements to private property.

This study will be underway concurrently with the Streetscape Strategy process. It is not anticipated that the Flood Resiliency Study will be completed prior to the completion of the Streetscape Strategy process. See additional information on the flood resiliency scope of work here.

Frederick Town Historic District

The planning area is located within the Frederick Town Historic District. The Design Guidelines for the district can be accessed via this link. Chapter 8 of this document provides guidelines for streetscapes.

Complete Streets Policy

The City of Frederick adopted a complete streets policy in June 2016. See the text of this policy here.

Downtown Parking and Circulator Report

Completed in January 2021, the Downtown Parking and Circulator Report provides significant background information on the parking system in Downtown Frederick, background information on the various modes of transportation and recommendations for future improvements. See the text of this report here.

Frederick Freight Needs Assessment

This study assesses Frederick’s needs with regards to facilitating safe and convenient freight delivery to the curbside in Downtown Frederick while retaining—and potentially reclaiming—as much space as possible for other uses: parking, ride hailing “drop off zones,” “parklets,” and more. See the text of this report here.

Mobility Fee

The City of Frederick is in the process of developing a Mobility Fee to build new infrastructure/capacity. The initial Mobility Fee district under consideration would encompass nearly the entire boundaries of the proposed study area. More information on the mobility fee discussions to date can be found here (click Mobility Fee button mid-page).

Square Corner Redesign Workshop

In 2017, the Ausherman Family Foundation, Downtown Frederick Partnership and High Glen Gardens engaged a consultant to look at the Square Corner (the Market and Patrick Streets intersection). The goals of the project included increasing pedestrian safety/friendliness as well as significantly improving the aesthetic appearance of the intersection. The goal was to achieve a high quality urban environment that respects the historic downtown character.  Looking to the future, the project goals also included creating a framework for repeating new design elements in additional downtown intersections. While the project has not moved forward to implementation, the documents presented offer useful background information for the Streetscape Study. See more information here.



Project Scope of Work

The Partnership and the City anticipate a three month period to complete the community engagement process and develop preliminary design concepts. The review, refinement and ultimate adoption of the resulting Downtown Frederick Streetscape Plan may extend beyond this three month timeframe in order to coordinate with City staff and schedule meetings with legislative bodies. Both project leads are seeking creative solutions which respond to the specifics of the Downtown Frederick environment.

Community Engagement Process:

There are many competing needs for the Downtown Frederick streetscape represented by a variety of stakeholder groups. An effective Community Engagement Process is critical to listen to, evaluate and consider options/solutions for those often competing needs for the same space. For example, pedestrians want wide sidewalks free of obstacles and trip hazards, while restaurants want to maximize outdoor dining in the same area. Retailers and drivers want convenient street parking while the others would prefer a closed pedestrian mall. For public safety, health and welfare, the City wants and needs street trees, garbage cans, bike racks, streetlights and effective stormwater management.

The successful consultant needs to develop and implement covid19 appropriate ways to engage those stakeholders who may have different needs and desires for the physically limited streetscape. Key stakeholder groups include but are not limited to businesses, religious institutions, residents, visitors, bicyclists, the disabled and the disadvantaged. It is important to use the engagement process as a way to better understand the differing needs within each of these sectors. For example, the Downtown Frederick business community includes professional, retail, restaurant/craft beverage and personal service businesses. Each of these businesses have different needs, different customer segments and different ways they might want to use the streetscape to support their business.

The City and the Partnership envision the creation of a working group to provide input into the development of the streetscape strategy. This working group will be an additional sounding board as a part of the robust community engagement process. 

Beyond the project leads, the following lists potential groups to engage in the outreach process: Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, East Frederick Rising, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Frederick County Office of Economic Development, Neighborhood Advisory Committee 11, City of Frederick Parking Committee, City of Frederick Sustainability Committee and Visit Frederick.

Conducted within pandemic restrictions, the community outreach process is critical to the success of the resulting Streetscape Strategy. Varying opinions are frequently expressed related to the variety of issues and opportunities in Downtown Frederick. The community outreach process must be robust, getting beyond surface level feedback, to find a way to build consensus around projects to move forward to implementation. The consultant team must show a proven ability to build a lasting consensus with a diverse set of stakeholders. 

The community engagement process should identify a set of prioritized goals and requirements for the streetscape to assist with deciding which design concepts to move forward. It is important to evaluate needs of the stakeholder groups and consider their thoughts about the current streetscape (pros and cons) before proffering design options.

Design Concepts:

For the development of design concepts, the consultant should focus on two primary street segments: 1) Market St between South Street and Seventh Street and 2) Patrick Street between Bentz Street and East Street. East Street is anticipated to be addressed in a future City CIP and is not a part of this study process. The streetscape includes the physical area from building face to building face within these specific street limits. In Downtown Frederick, the streetscape serves many users including pedestrians, businesses, drivers, transit operators, bicyclists and skateboarders. The downtown streets are where people are eating, being entertained, shopping or walking. The streets also are gathering spaces where people come together to celebrate, mourn or demonstrate. In non-pandemic times, the streetscape hosts many downtown events. Functionally, the street is a critical component of the drainage system. Downtown Frederick is home to three fire stations and the streets are a part of their ability to provide quick response times.

The consultant also should consider the following factors as part of the process of creating design concepts:

  • Process will create design concept options for typical cross sections (not construction documents)
  • Resulting design concepts need to balance the following outcomes: 
    • Support a vibrant, active downtown streetscape that accommodates, supports and enhances the many stakeholders in Downtown Frederick 
    • Provide an effective urban street environment that has the flexibility and adaptability to accommodate multiple simultaneous uses such as: walking, dining, bicycling, gathering, driving, delivery, emergency service, shade, and stormwater management
    • Include short (immediate to three years), mid and long term solutions with the idea that the community potentially could do short term/semi-permanent temporary solutions “now” while raising funds for what is assumed to be a larger, longer term capital expenditures
    • Consider that a short, mid or long term solution could be temporary in duration and/or seasonal
    • Maximize flexibility in order to adapt to the changing needs of downtown overtime and new ideas not yet imagined
    • Reduce street clutter, a concern previously expressed in this community
    • Create visual unity, a clear visual pattern that identifies where Downtown Frederick is and isn’t
    • Support the tree canopy and considers the tree wells
    • Support storm water management
    • Consider the potential impacts of the recommendations on City operations including trash collection, snow removal, street sweeping, etc. including both modifications to operations and the potential need to purchase new equipment
    • Provides a better physical sidewalk condition and an accessible path in the broadest possible way; consider the local deaf community, seeing impaired and others
    • Consider the future impact of automated vehicles
    • Support local transit needs
    • Consider streetscape elements that can assist in mitigating risk – including during events/festivals
    • Provides specific description/depiction of design elements included in the recommended design concepts
    • Serves as a catalyst of investment

Questions to consider in the design concept process include:

  • Is it possible to use the parking lanes as a flexible zone?
  • Should there be infrastructure improvements to ease street closures?
  • How can the streetscape better accommodate bicyclists?
  • Should public art be a part of the streetscape design?
  • Is there a sustainability element that should be considered?
  • Could a functional downtown street network be developed if certain blocks of Market St are closed?

Regulatory Recommendations

The consultant team should identify changes needed in City policy and/or code in order to support the streetscape enhancements recommended for implementation. As needed, these policy/code change recommendations should be identified for each design concept recommended for implementation. 

Cost Estimates

The City and the Partnership are seeking a high-level, rough order of magnitude budgetary estimate of the costs to improve the city streetscape, organized into logical projects or major facilities. In addition to the cost of project implementation, it would be helpful to have a rough estimate of the consultant costs necessary to create construction or other documents needed to move to implementation. It is anticipated that improvements will be funded over time. Please provide sub-total estimate for each phase. Furthermore, please provide a projected cost escalator indicated over the next ten years.


Once design concepts for short, mid and long term solutions are identified, the consultant will be expected to provide specific suggestions for funding sources for the various concepts. It is important that the funding recommendations address the major capital cost anticipated related to improving the current deficient sidewalk condition. 

Implementation Schedule

The project leads anticipate that the funding available for the projects identified in the resulting Streetscape Strategy may be limited. As a result, the implementation schedule should be developed to consider the impacts of either a conservative or aggressive amount of funding available to implement the identified projects.



Project Milestones

Hold kickoff meeting with project partners

  • Provide additional background information related to the Downtown Frederick streetscape
  • Discuss/Finalize community engagement process

Complete initial community outreach

  • Seek feedback to develop prioritized goals and requirements for the Downtown Frederick streetscape
  • Gather input to use in the development of design concepts

Develop design concepts

  • Develop design concepts, based on community feedback and consistent with adopted City polices and resolutions, with a minimum of three concepts for each short, mid and long term solutions
  • Review with project partners
  • Seek additional community input related to the design concepts
  • Discuss cost estimates, funding alternatives and the draft implementation schedule as a part of the outreach process to partners and the community overall
  • Highlight potential regulatory changes necessary to achieve the optimal design outcome

Create a finalized Downtown Frederick Streetscape Strategy

  • Incorporates input from project partners and the community
  • Includes two to three funding strategies for each of the recommended short, mid and long term strategies as well as regulatory recommendations (if needed), cost estimates and an overall implementation schedule
  • Presented to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at both a workshop and a public hearing for adoption



Project Deliverables

  • A summary of the community input gathered during the outreach process
  • A list of prioritized goals and requirements for the streetscape
  • At least three creative, Downtown Frederick specific design concepts each of the short, mid and long term solutions in a document that is primarily graphic in nature with limited text to describe the concepts
  • A listing of regulatory recommendations (if any), cost estimates and funding strategies for each recommended design concept included in the limited text described above
  • An implementation schedule that contemplates differing levels of funding availability



Questions & Answers

As prospective applicants submit questions, they will be added to the Q&A document linked below. If you have additional questions not addressed by this list, contact kara@downtownfrederick.org. Additionally, a pre-submission meeting was held on February 19. This meeting included an overview of Downtown Frederick and the project background, as well as a live Q&A portion. View a recording of this meeting here.



Response Format, Content, Submission Requirements, Award & Selection Committee Guidelines

In order to provide all respondents with an equal opportunity for consideration, adherence to a standardized response format is requested and shall follow the following format:

  • Cover Letter: Identify your company and include the business address, telephone number and point of contact information for the individual authorized to represent the firm and to whom the Partnership should direct correspondence.
  • Project Narrative: Describe your vision for the project and why your firm is the best partner. Include a detailed statement that responds to the elements described in the project scope of work. 
  • Business Profile: Please provide a brief history and background of the involved firm, which includes the qualifications of the company, the number of years the firm has been in operation and the level of experience and capabilities provided by the individuals dedicated to this project, including their education, professional experience and length of time employed by the firm. Please note the percentage of time each individual will be assigned to this project. Please include samples of your work.
  • Qualifications and References: Please provide a minimum of three (3) letters of reference and the contact information for entities that have retained your services, which demonstrate the size and scope of the project being bid. References must include the dollar value, the entity name, entity address, contact person and contact information. One of the projects must have been completed in the last 3 years. 
  • Proposed Benchmark Dates: Outline the project approach from start-up to completion, including key milestones. The Partnership and the City are seeking to complete the community engagement process and develop preliminary design concepts within a three month period.
  • Price Proposal: The Price Proposal shall be submitted and include a firm fixed price for the contract. All non-labor costs including but not limited to travel, transportation, lodging, meals and printing and presentation materials shall be included in the fixed price for the term of the contract. The budget to complete the scope of work identified in this RFP is $50,000. The consultant may propose additional project components/elements and should provide a cost for each additional project component/element proposed.
  • Pre-Submission Meeting: A pre-submission meeting was held on February 19. This meeting included an overview of Downtown Frederick and the project background, as well as a live Q&A portion. View a recording of this meeting here.
  • RFP Preparation & Submission: Please send an electronic copy of your application as a PDF to kara@downtownfrederick.org. Submissions are due by 5PM on Friday, February 26. Any and all responses not received by the Downtown Frederick Partnership by the Submission Deadline shall be deemed non-responsive. The Partnership assumes no responsibility for delays or errors in the delivery of any response.
  • Review for Responsiveness: The Partnership shall perform an initial review of each response to determine its responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this document. Following the initial review, the Partnership shall distribute the responsive proposals to the Selection Committee to be evaluated and scored.
  • Selection Committee: Representatives from the Partnership, the City of Frederick and Visit Frederick will serve as the members of the Selection Committee.
  • Evaluation Criteria:
    • Understanding & Ability to Meet the Requirements of the RFP (including a detailed description of the proposed outreach process) (30%)
    • Experience & Capabilities of the Business (including previous work in downtown environments) (20%)
    • Qualifications, Experience & Capabilities of Key Staff (including work in building community consensus) (20%)
    • Price & Project Schedule (30%)
  • Selection Committee Evaluation & Scoring: The Selection Committee shall evaluate and score each responsive proposal to determine the ability of the respective Respondents to perform the services and establish a list of the highest ranking Respondents.
  • Interviews: Following the evaluation and scoring of all responsive proposals, the Selection Committee may require an interview either over the phone, online or in person with the highest ranking respondents, each of which who may be required to make a presentation. Following interviews, the Selection Committee will score each respondent interviewed and select the preferred respondent for implementation.
  • Binding Response: All responses to the RFP shall remain binding for 180 calendar days following the submission deadline. Responses may only be withdrawn by written notice to the Partnership at least 15 calendar days prior to the expiration of the current 180 calendar day period. 
  • Confidentiality: Downtown Frederick Partnership and the City of Frederick agree, to the extent permitted by law and in accordance with the terms set forth in this RFP, to hold all confidential information and material belonging to the respondent in strictest confidence. The respondent shall specify in writing to the information and / or material the respondent deems to be a trade secret or other confidential information and / or material. Written notification also shall contain the reason such information and / or material is considered to be a trade secret or confidential. 
  • Contract Award: It is the Partnership’s intent to award a Contract to one (1) Respondent Team; however, the Partnership reserves the right in its sole discretion to award the Contract to multiple Respondents in whole or in part. If for any reason, the Contract is not executed within thirty (30) days following formal award, the Partnership may withdraw the award and award to another respondent, or solicit new responses. 


In the event the Partnership receives only one (1) response in this solicitation process, the Partnership reserves the right, in its sole discretion to proceed as a negotiated purchase with the respondent that submitted the response. 

Award of this RFP, if any, shall be to the responsible respondent whose response conforms to this RFP and is in the sole discretion of the Partnership. 

Each year, the Partnership tackles strategic initiatives to bring more residents and employees to Downtown Frederick, offers an exciting season of events and works closely with downtown businesses and partners to continue to strengthen and improve Downtown Frederick.