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A Grand Boulevard for Columbia: Assembly Street Improvements

416 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I have devised a plan for the redevelopment of Assembly Street and I'd like some input, please. Assembly Street is the major North South thoroughfare in downtown Columbia and it is an extremely wide street. It supports 6 lanes of traffic and parking on each side PLUS parking on each side of a concrete median. Merchants along Assembly Street have opposed plans for redevelopment because it would involve removing the unique middle of the street parking. For those of you unfamiliar with Columbia's history: prior to 1950, the State Farmer's Market was actually amazingly located in the middle of Assembly. Columbia is obviously much bigger now than it was prior to 1950.

Here is my plan that satisfies the merchants' objections and provides Columbia with the grand boulevard that it deserves. It could begin as soon as the Lady Street, Five Points and Main Street beautification projects are completed:

-Remove the concrete median the entire length of Assembly from Elmwood to Rosewood Drove.

-Remove the middle of the street parking (it's dangerous to park and cross, anyway

-replace the side of the street parallel parking with angled parking, which should replace about half the number of lost spaces from the middle of the road.

-There would still be room for 6 lanes of traffic AND a parklike median lined with Palmetto Trees and flowers, etc. (I realize the first few blocks South of Elmwood already have a beautiful median, this would just expand that)

-Bury the power lines

-Slightly widen the sidewalks, add decorative features and line them with Palmetto Trees, etc.

I believe there would be enough room for all of these features because there are currently 6 lanes of traffic, a median and 4 additional lanes for parking. I would PREFER to see the on-street parking removed entirely (wouldn't happen b/c of merchant opposition and a couple of new parking garages added with very frequent trolley service taking people from the garages to their destinations around downtown and the Vista. This option would allow Assembly Street to become an 8 lane boulevard, even better than the 6 lanes it is now. I envision a Paris-style boulevard. South of Blossom the plan would have to be revised somewhat, but it would result in a beautiful gateway from downtown all the way to the stadium.

Edited by waccamatt

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Posted

P.S. I'm off work tomorrow and I will take some pictures of Assembly Street.

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Posted

Dude... I'm into it. You should email this stuff to the city council. I've been hitting them up a lot lately. All their email addys are on the website.

I love the plan, man. Burying the powerlines... bonus! And restoring human scale is so important along the sides of the street and in the center. I think it could be seriously snazzy.

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Posted

This is mostly great. I think a human scale on Assembly is essential. I'd like to see the street lined with trees like the northern two or three blocks are if they are going to be tree lined. That really helps remove the paved football field effect from the road.

I don't like Palmetto trees becuase they don't provide enough shade and they aren't really that attractive IMO. I know they are the state tree and all. Maybe just at come key corners and intersections.

I like the idea of the trolley too. I think that Assembly would be a great place for an LRT line :)

Assembly from around the Library (Hampton) and the State House (Senate) has the potential to actually have some stores and restaurants and be an active part of the Vista. I think that widening the sidewalks here is key to that happening.

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Posted

This is mostly great. I think a human scale on Assembly is essential. I'd like to see the street lined with trees like the northern two or three blocks are if they are going to be tree lined. That really helps remove the paved football field effect from the road.

I don't like Palmetto trees becuase they don't provide enough shade and they aren't really that attractive IMO. I know they are the state tree and all. Maybe just at come key corners and intersections.

I like the idea of the trolley too. I think that Assembly would be a great place for an LRT line :)

Assembly from around the Library (Hampton) and the State House (Senate) has the potential to actually have some stores and restaurants and be an active part of the Vista. I think that widening the sidewalks here is key to that happening.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hear you about the Palmettos, but they can be interspersed with crepe myrtles or something like that for additional shade. If there are enough Palmettos, the shade isn't bad, though. They just aren't as big as some other types of trees. I have Palmetto and Mexican Palms surrounding my deck and they supply a decent amount of shade, but nothing like a big hardwood. There's just something (for me) about our state tree, though...I love it! :)

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Posted (edited)

I don't like Palmetto trees becuase they don't provide enough shade and they aren't really that attractive IMO. I know they are the state tree and all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:oBLASPHEMY!!!

Stone the transgressor!!! :P:D

Waccamatt, your plan sounds groovy. I think it will really complement the portion of the research campus to be built along Assembly, since the campus will be built on a human scale as well.

And I absolutely LOVE Palmetto trees. They're our signature. They look AWESOME in Orangeburg's downtown, which underwent a massive streetscaping (massive for Orangeburg anyway) a few years back.

Edited by krazeeboi

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Posted

:oBLASPHEMY!!!

Stone the transgressor!!!  :P  :D

Waccamatt, your plan sounds groovy. I think it will really complement the portion of the research campus to be built along Assembly, since the campus will be built on a human scale as well.

And I absolutely LOVE Palmetto trees. They're our signature. They look AWESOME in Orangeburg's downtown, which underwent a massive streetscaping (massive for Orangeburg anyway) a few years back.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with Krazeeboi, Marvelous idea. The only problem I forsee, Waccamatt, is that USC was permitted to encroach on the right-of-way at the corner of Blossom. Taking the renovation all the way to Rosewood is right on target.

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Posted

It is a grand idea. Meeting Street would look so much better with a tree lined median. Perhaps an overhead monorail could work in some places.

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It is a grand idea.  Meeting Street would look so much better with a tree lined median.  Perhaps an overhead monorail could work in some places.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Monorail: now we're talking!

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Posted

I hear you about the Palmettos, but they can be interspersed with crepe myrtles or something like that for additional shade. If there are enough Palmettos, the shade isn't bad, though. They just aren't as big as some other types of trees. I have Palmetto and Mexican Palms surrounding my deck and they supply a decent amount of shade, but nothing like a big hardwood. There's just something (for me) about our state tree, though...I love it! :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:oBLASPHEMY!!!

Stone the transgressor!!!  :P  :D

Waccamatt, your plan sounds groovy. I think it will really complement the portion of the research campus to be built along Assembly, since the campus will be built on a human scale as well.

And I absolutely LOVE Palmetto trees. They're our signature. They look AWESOME in Orangeburg's downtown, which underwent a massive streetscaping (massive for Orangeburg anyway) a few years back.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Guy's, please don't misunderstand me here- I like Palmettos just fine. They are asthetically pleasing, but for the purposes of providing shade, they just don't cut it. They simply don't have a large enough crown to do any good.

I do like the idea of having them mixed together. I like it when they are in a spot of pominence.

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Posted

^Understandable. I was purposely giving you a hard time. ;)

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^Understandable. I was purposely giving you a hard time. ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Oh I know :P but I still didnt say what I meant very clearly

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Posted

I'm surprised this hasn't been done already. After all, it is named Assembly Street because it was designed for military parades and, well, assemblies. That's why it's as wide as it is. If nothing else, those overhead power lines need to be buried. That'd make the whole street a lot more attractive in itself.

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I'm surprised this hasn't been done already.  After all, it is named Assembly Street because it was designed for military parades and, well, assemblies.  That's why it's as wide as it is.  If nothing else, those overhead power lines need to be buried.  That'd  make the whole street a lot more attractive in itself.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think Assembly is named after the General Assembly. Both it and Senate Street have the same width, the only difference is Senate put in a grass median because it didn't need all those lanes. Those two street are the center lines of the original grid that the city was laid out on

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Posted

So waccamatt, have you informed Columbia city council of your vision? ;)

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I think Assembly is named after the General Assembly.  Both it and Senate Street have the same width, the only difference is Senate put in a grass median because it didn't need all those lanes.  Those two street are the center lines of the original grid that the city was laid out on

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Exactly. Assembly for the General Assembly and Senate for the Senate :) They were originally supposed to be the two major thoroughfares in Columbia, being 150 ft accross whereas the others are all 100 ft. Also, if you check the addresses, Assembly and Senate is the start of the 1000 block going north and Assembly going east on the grid system. Don't forget that Senate used to actually be a contiguous road, not all broken up like it is today. The State House used to only occupy the one block contained by Gervais, Richardson (Main), Senate, and Assembly so that intersection wouldn't have seem so out of place like it does today.

Building the bridge accross Gervais caused that to be the main E-W thoroughfare.

I think that Assembly St is a great name! Its a unique name and it has a certain "grandness" about it, so the size of the road fits, IMO.

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Posted (edited)

Guy's, please don't misunderstand me here- I like Palmettos just fine. They are asthetically pleasing, but for the purposes of providing shade, they just don't cut it. They simply don't have a large enough crown to do any good.

I do like the idea of having them mixed together. I like it when they are in a spot of pominence.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Fantastic plan for Assembly Street, Waccamatt! But Spartan, when putting trees into a main street for the capital of the state, I think really think that the palmetto is the best choice. As far as a practical tree, you're right, palmetto trees miss the mark with the lack of shade when they are young and new. As far as making the street more attractive, these trees would really enhance it, though. And I'm with Matt on the palmetto...I love it as well! Wherever they're planted, they give the place a sub-tropical feel to it. Over the years, those trees get wider and provide enough shade, too. That's just IMO. ;)

Edited by Charleston native

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I guess my thing is that its not a natural tree to Columbia, and it feels out of place to me (being a coastal tree and all). I do like to see them around though, and they could line the center of Assembly and look really nice. And realisticly Assembly won't be a pedestrian corridor except right around Gervais, Lady, and around Richland and Blanding too (because of the governnment offices and courts in that area).... so why not make it look good for the drivers? :)

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There ya go Spartan! Get on the Palmetto bandwagon! ;)

Speaking of Palmetto trees, why do the ones lining Main Street look sickly??? When I'm in Orangeburg next weekend, I will definitely have to take some pics and post them here to show you guys how awesome they can look in a city's center (especially in a streetscaped environment). I don't have a digital camera yet, so I will have to actually get the pictures developed and scanned, so you guys will have to bear with me. ;)

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There ya go Spartan! Get on the Palmetto bandwagon! ;)

Speaking of Palmetto trees, why do the ones lining Main Street look sickly??? When I'm in Orangeburg next weekend, I will definitely have to take some pics and post them here to show you guys how awesome they can look in a city's center (especially in a streetscaped environment). I don't have a digital camera yet, so I will have to actually get the pictures developed and scanned, so you guys will have to bear with me. ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Palm trees aren't built to be frozen, which is why thay are tropical, and that happens a few times a year in Cola, which is why they die, and another reason why I am not the biggest fan of them being used everywhere. It woudl be really bad if we had these thigns everywhere, looking sick :ph34r:

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You're right, and I don't advocate them being placed everywhere, just the one or two main thoroughfare(s) through a town.

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So waccamatt, have you informed Columbia city council of your vision? ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I wanted to wait on the input here before presenting the plan to City Council. :)

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Palm trees aren't built to be frozen, which is why thay are tropical, and that happens a few times a year in Cola, which is why they die, and another reason why I am not the biggest fan of them being used everywhere. It woudl be really bad if we had these thigns everywhere, looking sick  :ph34r:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Once established, Palmetto Trees winter quite well in Columbia. I have a Palmetto, 3 Windmill Palms, 3 Mexican Palms and 2 Pindo Palms in my backyard and they all do quite well. Only the Mexicans turn somewhat brown during the winter.

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I like your ideas. As an engineer thought, the angled parking would never work. Traffic flows on Assembly are too heavy, and the vehicle movement required with angled parking would prove too dangerous.

Other than that, I think it's something that should be done. Removing the overhead powerlines and sidewalk beautification would be great.

Also, putting the stoplights on mastarms instead of overhead lines would greatly improve the look of the facility.

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Posted

I'd like to see pedestrian brides across some of the wider/busier streets in the area. Huger and Assemby immediately spring to mind.

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