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Jippy last won the day on September 4 2013

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  1. The GRBJ has grown much more partisan over the last year, and the opinion pieces have grown increasingly bazaar. Most weeks now include a poorly articulated editorial concerning an initiative in the urban area of GR.
  2. Maybe where they instruct the crew how to mount the type of window they will be installing?
  3. Which parties would oppose changes to code that would require parking garages from being screened? This really seems to be a GR-thing (or a Concept thing?), as I rarely see this type of garage design in other cities. GR has decent requirements from screening parking in surface lots...but screening requirements apply to all parking types? Most growing cities (vs ones that are begging for any development) have code requirements that require a level of architectural treatment to screen garages....most stringently the requirement is an active use (meaning a parking space can not be adjacent to the facade), others require a combination of active use, or architectural or art panels. Architectural panels are commonplace in Chicago.
  4. I haven't really gotten the sense that we are seeing an overbuild situation in apartments in Grand Rapids, even if everything that has been proposed actually gets built. Overbuilding apartments will only lead to lower asking rents, which will allow an even greater share of the population able to afford the units. Additionally, some developers may have plans to convert their product to condos if values reach a certain price threshold. Grand Rapids has lagged in population and economic growth for decades. We may have turned the corner, where GR now attracts population and economic growth that historically went elsewhere. If that is the case, then outside real estate investment is a great macro-economic indicator.
  5. This garage design should be criminal. I honestly can't understand how they think this is okay. I also don't understand how the City continues to allow this to happen.
  6. This is a common practice for launching car-sharing in mid-size markets.... I have not seen the details here, but often Zipcar requests a revenue backstop for the "proof of concept" period. For example, as a condition of entering the market, $xxx,000 of revenue needs to be generated in the community, or the contract holder (i.e. the local government) needs to make up the shortfall. Yes, this is private company but car-sharing is also a valuable tool to lower car ownership and use....not by requiring it, but by giving the choice. Zipcar offers some fairly compelling statics for societal impacts in other communities as far as increases in transit, walking and biking, lowered car ownership, etc after they enter a market. I'm hoping though that GR is not actually getting into the carsharing business, but is contracting with Zipcar....it is so much more convenient to be able to tap into a brand and a platform that is already shared by the majority of other cities in the US....including Chicago and Ann Arbor.
  7. Back in Sept 2014 I made the following prediction which turned out essentially correct: "(Since this is now) an Orion project, to what degree do the pretty pictures evolve into a valued-engineered mass of functionality?" bummer
  8. I am not so sour on the situation. Thankfully Grand Rapids is not in a position where it needs to be shoved into a "take it or leave it" proposal with no hopes of a better project. Yes, the current site is blight but I think the GPNA was right to say "thanks, but no thanks. we will wait for the next proposal" The proposal was awful. Just awful. There is no sugar coating the renderings shown to the community. They are suburban. Dated. Banal. Lacking in transparency, urbanity, and brick. They basically looked like a stretched out mcmansion....otherwise known as a nursing home. Dwelling Place is run by some pretty bright dudes. They know what constitutes good, community enriching, design. This was not it.
  9. It is true SLC MSA has mountains, but GR has a gigantic lake so that doesn't really negate the comparison. West Michigan has a lot more lakes and wetlands in general which shifts development towards itself. In fact, Grand Rapids is 2.6 times more dense than SLC. X99 does bring up a good point regarding parking differentials. Based on my cursory search, downtown SLC has 32,000 parking spaces. GR has 20,000. Not sure how that differs based on the uses in each city. Regarding retail, SLC has a large urban mall that was constructed about 5 years ago. However, it was entirely funded by the Mormon development company. Not sure Tanger would have been the right fit for downtown. Wrong demographic. I truly believe retail will follow at the appropriate pace. I don't think we need a mega retail development. Urban Outfitters is often the first larger national retail that goes into places (other than the pharmacy and grocery) like DT GR....but it has to be part of a retail cluster. Michigan ST? West Side somewhere? Fulton and areas around St Mary seem to be areas that could evolve to be more retail centric. The core is not necessary the right place unless some serious demo occurred. Not sure how feasible that is over the next 10 years. I'm not opposed to more parking downtown, but don't think supply is the leading issue. It is a perception issue. It is a communication of parking issue. It is a parking policy issue. I like the idea of variable rates based on when we want more folks downtown, including if that means free/dollar an hour kind of deal at low-point times, but personally I really don't think existing rates are all that unreasonable.
  10. Totally agree with X99 that SLC is the city we should emulate for transportation policies and investments. sub 200,000 population / 1 million MSA / relatively low density / conservative religious base with a liberal center. Grand Rapids? Nope. Salt Lake City With all the demographic similarities they have over 100 miles of light rail, street cars, BRT, and commuter rail. Including (wait for it).....transit park and rides in the fringes!!! Let's copy Salt Lake City!!!!
  11. It's weird. I have never had a problem finding a parking spot downtown. Ever. Transit is a game of margins. Moving small percentages of the people away from SOV at peak times can lead to significant reductions in congestion. It is an exponential function. But I agree with X99 that messaging is key. We need to demonstrate that we are open for business and have ample parking for the choice driver....I would just deviate that there is always parking available it is just a matter of where and how the where is being communicated. This is also a matter of planning, planning for the time when there are twice as many people living downtown. Twice as many people visiting downtown. Twice as many workers downtown. If that also means twice as many cars, then there certainly is a diminished quality to what has been and is being created.
  12. These renderings look like a nursing home in Byron Center. Hopefully this is just a first swag?!
  13. Reducing on-street parking rates would have the perverse effect of driving more parking into garages, including private ones. The only ones that would then have access to on-street parking would be the first ones there. Thus, instead of the regular turn-over of vehicles the store clerks and restaurant workers would take the spaces, and thus push customers to less convenient parking locations. I would raise on-street parking rates and lower garage parking rates in effort to maximize parking usage to about 90% throughout the main parts of the day. Variable parking rates that are very clearly communicated to a driver maximize the asset, increase the ease of parking, and consistently make on-street parking spaces available. The thing that usually gives drivers the most angst is pulling into a parking space, lot or garage and not knowing the cost. The cost should be visible from the street in big numbers.
  14. So let's talk about the policies. Which policy suggestion of the seven listed by DRGI do you think is too progressive for a small city like GR? Three of the 7 directly have to do with improving parking. The DASH helps support parking downtown and improving it in anyway is not forcing anyone to do anything. It makes sense to improve the efficacy of a program to the extent possible. Car- and bike-sharing are another option that is not forcing anyone to do anything. Both are very low cost as well. So I guess we are down to "Developing incentive programs to encourage willing people to choose walking, biking and transit." Curious to hear the opposition on this one. GrDad, I absolutely agree that we want to keep this forum filled with clean decorum, but it is not just how we treat each other. The folks working for the city are real people who care a lot about their communtiy. I would much rather have debates on the policy aspects but often a few of the folks on the forum have more focused on the people working at the City and how they are apparently idiots (e.g. "Are these people this tone-deaf? ...obsessed with attracting these gods known as "young professionals"). It gets under my skin when folks can't have reasonable discussions on the whats and instead focus on the who's.
  15. I quoted you, so I am not sure how to respond to this. Please explain that one. I would love to know what we are supposedly missing. Again, if you think the following are too draconian, I don't have much to offer: Adopting a "Parking and Transportation Demand Management Ordinance" to improve urban mobility through new development. Deploying a car share service for people who have the occasional need to hop in the car and go longer distances. Deploying a bike share service for people traveling short distances around the urban core neighborhoods. Pricing valuable public parking properly to manage the growing competition for space and maintain certainty for customers. Expanding the public parking supply where it makes sense. Rebooting the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) service to function as a proper urban circulator and more easily connect, say, the Spectrum employee to the DowntownMarket for lunch. Developing incentive programs to encourage willing people to choose walking, biking and transit. I know that I am coming across as a jerk, but come on....the above solutions do not warrant the sharp criticism that you are offering. I am not worshiping anything, I am pointing out that your sharp reaction to a very innocuous set of proposals is out of proportion. If we can't agree on the above set of improvements is worthwhile for downtown, then we have nothing to debate. The listed solutions are Transportation 101 policies shared by the majority of bustling downtowns. Heck, the majority of Florida and Arizona large downtowns, the champion of sprawl, share the majority of these solutions.
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