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johnnydr87

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Everything posted by johnnydr87

  1. It was pretty far out anyways. Glad to hear they're exploring other options. NLR is really starting to fill in. If development is steered properly, I could imagine a small tram replacing the river rail in 20 years....i.e., by perhaps converting 2nd to tram + pedestrian/bikes only.
  2. Yeah, I guess I wasn't familiar with the issue. Does seem odd that they would worry about crime increases considering they're elevated.
  3. No worries. Rebsamen road, you mean where literally my favorite destination in Little Rock, the Big Dam Bridge, sits? You may have been right, but I'd like to think that the area took a much better turn with more trails and the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Where else can you get such gorgeous views of a river and small mountains in the background, all while being in city limits? Certainly not anywhere else in middle america. My family took our out-of-country visitors (my parents are immigrants, after all) to the bridge. So I'm looking at Google Maps to see where this Rebsamen road extension would go--and I have to say, it seems like an awful idea on paper. The riverside area past Big Dam Bridge is very narrow--its width goes from the river until you hit the steep hillsides. And that narrow strip of level park is where the pedestrian trail goes. I'm not sure how extending Rebsamen would be possible without wrecking that awesome trail. Here's a street view of what I mean: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=34....,117.07,,0,2.18 Past that yellow pike is the old road which is used by bikes and pedestrians. The trail is literally one of the best things going for Little Rock. It's a must see if you live in LR. I've built up a love affair with it---it's really gorgeous and so surprising that it's in a major city metro.
  4. Let me just state upfront: I have no realistic expectations of this happening, ever. I was just mulling it over. No, 100' wouldn't make it a world class park, but developing it would. Right now the riverfront park towards the western edge is really just enough space for a walkway with some buffer. It's nicer at the east end with the river market, but it tapers off and dies pretty quickly once you start heading west. Unfortunately, parks don't work quantity-demand scale. You can't simply turn things into parks--as this discussion shows. Great parks are built by foresight--land set away from development--or luck of circumstances. When enough people move in to start "demanding" a park, chances are the property values have risen and the area's too developed for a large park. Per your suggestion to "go to a larger city and observe how that works": It just happens that I live in a pretty large city (St. Louis), and I live by one of the greatest urban parks in the nation, right up there with Central Park in NYC: Forest Park. It's 2 square miles and right in the middle of the city--it hosts museums, a zoo, and lots of other public recreational activities. It borders a major university, which I attend. Obviously, St. Louis is tons bigger than LR, so we can't compare them straight up. But there are some key differences. First, your point that major urban thoroughfares interact with "great parks" is obviously true--but it's not true for the way Cantrell interacts with the Riverfront Park. Cantrell is a chute, interstate-like highway that constitutes about as much land as the park itself. There are no broad boulevards lined with trees and the park is pretty much sealed away. The park as it stands is a walkway with some lawn on either side. And while we're on the topic, Little Rock seems to be pretty lacking in a broad-sized park, although it has some pretty awesome river front around the big dam bridge. MacArthur Park is the closest I can think of, and War Memorial. MacArthur Park is undersized, underdeveloped, and suffocated by the Interstate. War Memorial is mostly concrete and unimaginative. Was Rebsamen always a golf course? Was it purchased by the city? It seems strange that the largest portion of prime park lands along a river would be devoted to an esoteric sport enjoyed mostly by people in the upper incomes. Murray Park, on the other hand, is size of three holes on Rebsamen. Anyways, my (other) point is that Little Rock lacks great boulevard-style park, and it's too bad that there was not enough foresight to develop one. And there's basically no chance that a great one will be injected into the urban fabric--unless a billionaire pops in and decides to buy property/convert it to a park. As many of you whizzes here would keenly observe, "That is highly unlikely!!" (That said, it would be amazing if said billionaire bought up some land east of I-30, connected to Heifer/Clinton Center, and built a heretofore fictitious park with museums and such. Highly unlikely, however.) Another Q to jog the ole' melon: how unlikely is it to remove the interstate ramp that splices the downtown Little Rock area, from 1 unlikely to 5 unlikelies, where 5 unlikelies is exactly 5x as many unlikelies as 1 unlikely. I don't like it, personally.
  5. I agree with Skirby--I sort of wish the La Harpe area was added to the park as well. That's prime real estate and it's a shame that the western downtown of LR is laid out so that the river is basically off limits beyond the Peabody. I think building a world-class park would be good reason to explore alternatives to Cantrell. Just imagine that ugly concrete turned into world-class greenspace with excellent landscaping--an extension of the incredible work at the children's park they already built. Is there an alternative to the Cantrell thoroughfare? I don't know, but it's worth exploring.
  6. I figured when I saw the building frames...... I'd say they're decent, but they are way out of context in downtown NLR. Too suburban of a look.
  7. I've driven around Little Rock and coming in from I-30, the skyline is starting to look very dense with these towers. The towers look equally stunning coming down on third from the Capitol... Thanks for the pics btw, they revitalize dying threads...
  8. I wonder how these projects will age. They don't look the same quality as similar types of development in Fayetteville. Granted, I'm looking at pictures prior to completion.
  9. Those are bike racks? They look neat, but it looks like at max they fit two bikes each, one on either side, which would be pretty impractical. Plus, it looks like the bodies of the bikes would extend out into the sidewalk and possibly obstruct it.
  10. I'm liking the density. The design of the hotel is pretty unremarkable, IMO, but the density's nice.
  11. I don't know....maybe I need to see the final product, but that design looks like it will go out of style fast.
  12. Courtesy of Hanke Bros, Siding and Windows, Inc. "Buy Siding and Get Windows FREE" Deal. This bodes well for the stereotype of Arkansans as cultureless, unsophisticated boars: a ramshackle "nature center" on the most prime real estate in the state. I must say though, the windows do add a nice touch to the classy siding. (But what's with the gap in windows--did they run out of money two fifths along the length of the back?)
  13. I didn't realize there was a final rendering of Hampton Inn in the River Market Towers rendering. (So THAT's what Turbo was referring to...) And no, I wasn't making my final decision based on the rendering, just what it was starting to look like according to Skirby's pictures... Hampton Inn is at the left. Hmm...it's attractive in the sense that a new hotel would be attractive (anywhere, 'burbs or urban area), and it fits well with the rest of the surrounding architecture. But it's nothing special--still very generic in that sense. I'm certainly not complaining though--it will still be a nice addition to downtown, and it fits. It looks somewhat like Embassy Suites in Hot Springs, with a red brick finish instead of white brick.
  14. I was speaking of the Hampton Inn, not the River Market Tower.
  15. Pretty generic, but at least it adds density.
  16. Yeah, I'm very underwhelmed. And that walkway is an eyesore. ew.
  17. Wow, that is impressive. For some reason, I always conceptualized Des Moines as being a step above Little Rock as far as quality of life...
  18. Pie-in-the-sky. There are better more traveled routes, like that between the big cities in the upper midwest, west coast....etc... edit:// wow, I realized I used the exact same quote as the AT without even looking at its blog post.
  19. Was that my cue? Where did this E-STEM school come from? It seems like it came out of nowhere--and I thought I read AR news decently regularly. Anyways, I don't think it will make too much of an impact in the race for students (with respect to ASMSA). Probably only a handful of ASMSA students come from Little Rock anyways because most can still go to excellent schools like Central, PA, or whatever. This new school only solidifies that fact. Most ASMSA students come from podunk towns. I'm interested in knowing what classes the "Engineering" component of the name signifies. I'd say ASMSA covers the other three (Science, Technology, Math) pretty well, in addition to the humanities. If anyone's interested, here is the course listing at ASMSA: http://asmsa.org/Academics/CourseCatalog.pdf . In its first few years, I doubt E-STEM will be able to recreate the breadth and depth of ASMSA, but that's fine b/c it serves a smaller population (LR Metro), not the whole state. Comparing my WashU course listing to the one at ASMSA: those kids are lucky as hell. Documentary Film Making? Studies in Genocide and Human Rights? Literature of the Contemporary South? That's just the humanities.... I'm a homer, I know.
  20. Ugh. Motor coach? Like RV?? I'm not too keen on that idea in an area like downtown Little Rock. I suppose that area East of I-30 is underutilized...but still, it's proximity to the epicenter of Little Rock means it should be aiming for something grander. Motor Coach and Entertainment Park. What the hell does that mean? I was under the impression that a Motor Coach park amounts to a parking lot for RVs. Would it have been too obvious that it's a parking lot for RVs if they hadn't added "entertainment" to the name?
  21. I'm not overly impressed... I guess once the gaps between the stores fill in with more stores, main street will be a pretty lively place. I don't really get a sense of density or pedestrian traffic. The sidewalks are too narrow too, but that's a problem in downtown Little Rock as well. One step at a time...
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