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organsnyder last won the day on June 1 2012

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About organsnyder

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    Grand Rapids: Garfield Park

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  1. Nobody works downtown anymore. It's too crowded.
  2. We had problems with our Comcast service dropping out due to a bad coax cable. Getting it replaced was a PITA—it was an underground run that is longer than they're willing to do now—and required getting Comcast's "escalation department" involved (via Twitter, IIRC). They ended up installing a new pedestal on our side property line halfway back to the pole. There's a thicker trunkline-style cable that runs to there, and then the regular service line to the house. We've had zero problems since.
  3. Uverse is a very different animal compared to true fiber-to-the-home (FTTH): Uverse is fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN), with legacy copper going the last mile. Those old wires often have various issues that cause signal loss. FTTH would have an optical path the entire way, which is much more resistant to interference. That being said, I'm highly skeptical that AT&T could deliver a product that I'd be satisfied with. Unless they offer a competitive price, responsive customer service, and truly unlimited data, I'm not signing up. I'd much rather see one of the emerging local/regional players (Lightspeed, Spartan...) build out in my neighborhood. The big media companies simply have too many competing interests to really be focused on serving my needs.
  4. With all of this growth, any thoughts on how our congressional districts might be reconfigured in 2020?
  5. Wouldn't they also be doing this for human drivers?
  6. The emotional reaction (especially after the first tragedy grabs headlines) will definitely be a hurdle. However, the lower accidents-per-mile figure of autonomous vehicles will win out—especially in the insurance industry (do you really expect actuaries to ignore the data!?!). Good point. Let's look at it from the developer's standpoint: If I was looking to develop a parcel of land, why would I dedicate it to parking that I'd simply be renting out for public use? A typical parking space is at least 160 sqft. Add in the driving lanes, etc., and 200 sqft is probably more accurate (likely still quite a bit low). I'm not sure how much people are willing to pay to park downtown, but my hunch is that $400/month is probably the upper limit today. What developer would focus on projects that could only be leased out for $2/sqft? Of course, developers need to include parking to make office and residential projects feasible, but there simply isn't an economic incentive for any private developer to build public parking facilities.
  7. It absolutely doesn't change our current needs. And I agree that it's probably not as close as some believe—in the software development field, a common adage is that the last 10% of the work takes 90% of the time. However, if I were a lender (the reason I brought this up initially), I wouldn't be funding any private parking development, in case the optimistic estimates turn out to be true.
  8. When it costs double (or more) to own a car vs. calling one as needed, patterns will change.
  9. The impact depends on how the ownership model changes. If everyone continues to own their own vehicles, then the vehicles will indeed need places to park—though a vehicle could easily park itself a mile or two away without inconveniencing the passengers, so lot location becomes much less important. If the ownership model changes, then there will be a much larger impact. Imagine a company like Uber (hopefully one with better ethics, though) that has a fleet of self-driving vehicles. You call one from your phone—like you do with Uber or Lyft today—but it's much cheaper, since there are no human drivers. The cars are constantly in use: after they drop you off, they're immediately on their way to their next fare. So, no parking is needed (other than a large lot outside the city, probably connected with a maintenance facility, to store vehicles during off-peak times). In this model, little parking is needed near human-centered destinations. I think that the latter model will win out, in time: owning a personal vehicle that sits idle 95% of the time will be an expensive luxury, compared with the much lower cost of on-demand renting. Of course, it will take time for people to get comfortable with this idea, but the cost savings will win out for most people. Note that all of this does nothing to address congestion concerns (which we don't talk about much in this thread): single-occupancy vehicles are still horribly inefficient. I'm hoping that autonomous vehicles also help people to be more comfortable with alternative transportation (personally, the existence of Uber/Lyft already makes me much more comfortable taking the bus somewhere, since I know I can always get home with a couple of taps on my phone).
  10. Square feet don't need parking spaces—people do. Given the insane growth of downtown over the past decade, I don't see how we ever had any kind of equilibrium. With the hype around self-driving cars right now, I'm guessing that the availability of private capital for building parking structures is quite low, worldwide. If I were a lender, I'd certainly be hesitant to fund that sort of project, unless the developer had a plan to recoup the construction costs within just a few years. Also, it strikes me that our current downtown market makes developing new offices and residences much more lucrative than parking structures. Of course, many projects require a parking component to make the product attractive, but building parking for public, non-tenant use is never going to make financial sense.
  11. I don't understand this line of reasoning. Are you saying that density is bad? Should we also not be building any tall buildings, since they'll be serving more people per acre? I'm not going to argue that 25 Ottawa isn't too dense (as a worker there, I'd certainly prefer more space and less noise), but it's certainly not uncommon (unfortunately), especially for software development and other IT jobs, which tend to attract many of the people most excited about working/living downtown. I don't know the exact specifics, but I do know that Spectrum did not get a parking space for each and every worker—in addition to the carrot of the "cash out" incentive, there was the stick of limited availability. I don't have any broad data, but anecdotally I do know that two colleagues (on my five-person team) relocated downtown, and many others (including myself) are using alternative means of commuting. Also, I know of some colleagues that park at those virtually-empty DASH lots west of the river. I remain unconvinced that our current "disaster" is anything more than growing pains; regardless, Spectrum's move did not cause it. It may have accelerated the trend, but it was already well underway.
  12. The owners are local. They moved in down the street from us last year.
  13. Grabbed a pic of the carnage this morning.
  14. It's crazy how windy it is. Next door (25 Ottawa) we can feel the building rocking. Probably the windiest conditions that Arena Place has experienced so far. Given the shoddy siding, not surprised that it's having issues. Another minor piece of damage: at the entrance for the parking ramp, the overhead clearance sign has been swinging wildly, and appears to have dislodged a mirror that was there for helping to see around the corner.
  15. From a tax revenue perspective, it would be no different than the Wealthy Theatre, no? I find it unlikely that this building would be able to house a for-profit business in the foreseeable future. There are plenty of other developable properties nearby. I'm fine with it being owned by a non-profit (religious or otherwise), as long as the facility serves the community throughout the week. I have no affiliation with this church (I really know very little about it), but I'm happy to see them taking an interest in the building. They seem (from what I've heard) to have the right mindset when it comes to envisioning how the building would fit in with the neighborhood. Also, regarding the Kroc: In almost every way, it's a suburban-style facility. From the perspective of Burton Heights, it might as well be on 28th Street. Nothing wrong with that, but it's nowhere near filling the same need as what the Four Star Theatre has the potential to fill.