Spartan

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Spartan last won the day on May 27 2015

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  1. That whole article is probably intended to just get people talking about the possibilities. CATS is going to initiate studies for the north corridor, west corridor, and uptown rail connections, and I'm assuming they will take about a year or so to complete (that's just a guess), so we won't know about the alignment, much less the cost or how it would be funded for a while yet. The possibilities are really interesting though, and if CATS is really open to bold ideas then we could see some really cool/unique things come out of this. There's no reason they can't build on completely new alignment going to the north. Statesville Rd would be a perfect corridor for a North Tryon type of treatment. And at $2b/line, they would probably have enough to do it. I think that bold ideas like moving on all of the remaining lines at once and start building is the kind of thing that will set Charlotte apart in the future. It will be interesting to see if the Camacho administration continues to fund transit projects, and if the all-knowing NC general assembly will allow funding to be spent on transit. For the record, I'm not convinced having Cooper in office will have much impact on urban issues (even though I think he will help reduce the craziness).
  2. It does sound like a cool concept.
  3. The city should buy that land at the top of the hill and turn it into a park.
  4. When I look at how urban a place is, the last thing on my list is height of buildings and how dynamic the skyline is. Charlotte unquestionably has a better skyline, but the urban fabric is lacking (albiet improving). You can compare to a place like Charleston which has very few high rises but has a rich urban environment and is incredibly walkable. Raleigh has a more spread out/naturally occurring restaurant scene and I think it's to their benefit they they don't have to retrofit lobbies to make it happen. I think the fact that they weren't a boomtown in the 60s/70s/80s really served them well in terms of preserving some of their core/historic building inventory (though not as much as Asheville, which was virtually untouched). Raleigh's downtown does have a lot going for it - with their lack of an equivalent to I-277 being one of the biggest advantages - but at the end of the day we still have more going on. They might have a cool natural history museum and a greater variety of restaurants right now, but we have tons of sports and entertainment options that they don't have. Our restaurant options are rapidly expanding and our residential population is going to grow quite a bit by the next census. We also have the 1st ring neighborhoods and transit connections that they don't. You can't compare 440 to 277. It would be more accurate to compare it to Route 4. North of Wade Ave is incredibly suburban, and SW of NC State's campus isn't exactly an urban paradise. I wouldn't call either of them area that could urbanize at all. Generally the best way to compare the areas that feel urban is to look at the side of each city's street network around 1950. That's when the transition to cars started to go strong and America in general moved away from walkable places. IMO, it's going to take a lot more to make those places truly walkable.
  5. @westsider28 I generally prefer more individual topics to make it easier to find discussions. If we ever get to the point of having so many participants that it becomes unmanageable then we can start consolidating. I generally don't plug other sites with forums similar to UrbanPlanet, especially the one that the founders of this site split off from. However, Emporis does have a good database of highrise buildings. The heights are listed as estimates, but the seem somewhat close: Denny's = 250ft AT&T Communications Tower = 225ft Schuyler = 166ft Montgomery = 138ft AC Hotel = 128ft Marriott = 115ft QS/1 = 76ft https://www.emporis.com/buildings/map That being said, if Schuyler is actually 116ft and not 166 then it would drop down the list a few spots.
  6. Point of clarification - the Urban Design Division in the Planning Dept already exists (and has for a while) - they are just going to have the more visible space on Camden at some point. They already do a good job pushing the envelope... it's just hard for the general public to see the direct impact. Keep in mind that urban design does not affect architectural style. A long time ago the Library did a listening session to discuss the future, and they kept referencing Seattle's library (which I guess was fairly new at the time). I went to Seattle a couple of years ago and I wasn't all that impressed with their library aside from the natural lighting. One of the other significant changes that isn't being discussed much is their book storage and distribution network. Right now all books that are transferred between library branches have to go through the main library. By moving that operation somewhere else it creates an opportunity to re work that space and create a more efficient system. I think they also want a coffee shop on the street and a plaza space that is better utilized.
  7. My apologies. I was using 'Vespa' as a generic term rather than a brand-specific term. My point is more that there are a lot of retail options in PM (regardless of quality of said establishments)
  8. It should help regulate traffic speeds too.
  9. 1- I don't disagree that a tube system without shops might have some merit when a company takes up multiple adjacent office towers. I do think that the overall system should be broken up (mainly at Trade St) over time. 2- I walk to lunch all the time in all month of the year. It's not that bad. You probably would see more people staying closer to their office, but I also think you'd have more options to choose from close by.
  10. Unless they are going to widen the sidewalk, I think they are being too generous on how much pedestrian space there is going to be. That said, I love this project and I'm excited about the opportunities for the retail spaces.
  11. I personally agree with this statement, but do you think the average person in PM fee;s the same way? IMO, Plaza-Midwood is one of, if not THE most complete urban neighborhood in Charlotte. It has the most retail services and options (including a Vespa dealer), a grocery store, a library, ABC store (soon), and a dollar store along with all of the bars and restaurants that we know and love. Noda and Dilworth are probably tied for a close second place. Given that it lacks retail, it's actually not that bad from an urban design standpoint. It has active ground floor uses - even if it isn't the most ideal design. In terms of the overall building architecture, I'd say its' about average for Charlotte.
  12. Re: All of the posts on Overstreet Mall The network of hamster tubes are bad for Charlotte, and it's not about what it is; it's about how it could be different. Overstreet Mall is a vampire that sucks the lifeblood out of Charlotte's uptown retail scene. As an urbanist, I want to have all of the businesses that are in the tubes - even the chain stores - as a sidewalk-fronting business. Overstreet Mall doesn't "impede" foot traffic on nights and weekends because its closed. It does, however, corner the uptown daytime market. It allows for suburban workers to drive into uptown, park in a garage, use the tubes to get into their offices, buy a coffee, eat lunch, get their phone repaired, go to the dentist, optometrist, fill a prescription, and go back through the tubes to their cars and drive home - all without ever setting foot on the sidewalk. That is the essence of the problem. It's not that the mall precludes people from walking on the sidewalk. It's that it encourages uptown workers to never venture out onto the street and see what's out there. To that end, Center City Partners has counted pedestrians up there a few years back and there were about 13,000 - 15,000 people per day that use the Trade St tube. That's a lot of people that could be out on the sidewalk. I have a friend who recently started working for Wells Fargo. We met up for lunch at Queen City Q after about three months of him working there, and he said that it was the first time he had gone outside of Overstreet Mall for lunch. I'm not making this up. This is a very real and very common phenomenon. Center City Partners uses the uptown worker population (which they claim is around 100,000) as part of it's marketing pitch for attracting more retail businesses. Sure, people go outside to walk to lunch on nice days, but that's in every city. But if there is no reason for anyone to ever leave their office, then they are much less likely to actually go out on the streets and buy things on a day-to-day basis. That affects the market reality compared to how it's sold to retailers who would be interested in uptown, and hampers the growth potential of real retail. Further - all of those businesses in Overstreet Mall are obviously in demand. What if the mall had never been built? Clearly they all want to have access to the uptown worker market... So, what if all of them had individual storefronts on Tryon St, Trade St, College St, etc instead. Then, imagine if all of those people who exclusively use Overstreet had to brave the elements and walk outside? It would be a dramatic difference in the appearance of vitality of Charlotte's retail scene and daily level of street activity. I bet Latta Arcade would be filled to the brim. What if uptown had a Caribou coffee that was open on Saturday? Or Chic-fil-a? The mere fact that those businesses don't think it's worth their time to open on a Saturday speaks volumes. Can you believe that up until Pearl Dentistry opened on 5th St, uptown didn't have a single dentist or optometrist with a store that fronts a sidewalk? Can you believe there is only one barber shop in uptown that has a sidewalk entrance? Does anyone remember a couple of years ago when 4th Ward Bread Co burned down and Amelie's closed their Tryon St location and the only places to get coffee in uptown on Saturday morning was Starbucks and Dean & Deluca (edit: sorry, I forgot 7/11)? Even then, Caribou remained closed. That's why I blame all of this on the hulking/life sucking retail vampire that is Overstreet Mall. Things could be so much better if people had to get outside and walk a little and it would be a different experience for people who live and work in uptown. It does connect via Epicenter to CTC. Agreed. Latta needs to be open nights and weekends. It's such a huge opportunity.
  13. It's basically lipstick on a pig. That corner of that building is horrible, and they are essentially just making a 'design overhaul' to add a very large sign. I don't know what's in that corner of the building, but I would be much happier if there were a way to cram some retail space in there. I think all of the large blank walls on that block should have a huge Charlotte-themed mural. Or just paint it teal an purple. Or silver and black. False. Everything in Overstreet Mall is by default worse than everything outside of Overstreet Mall. That being said, Epicenter is only marginally better than Overstreet Mall by virtue of not being Overstreet Mall. Also, that CVS always feels grubby for some reason.
  14. I doubt it. It will force HT to get their prices in line with other stores and find ways to compete. Exactly. My first thought was Gateway Station or the Polk State Building site. There are also other locations in uptown (and 4th ward) where there could be hypothetical buildings with hypothetical grocery stores we just don't know about yet. I think it's important to consider the context of each of these stores relative to HT. Right now, the only store that actually serves uptown residents is HT. The reason is because it's the only store within a reasonable walking distance to the bulk of Uptown's residential market in 3rd and 4th Wards. There are a lot of people who drive there too, but the pedestrian traffic is actually quite high. The city installed the traffic signal at 6th & Pine because it met "pedestrian traffic warrants" - and that's a technical term for a ridiculously high volume of pedestrians crossing the street. You almost never see a traffic signal get installed because there are more pedestrians than cars. Additionally, HT replaced the three cashiers near the pedestrian entrance with 6 self-checkout stations to help deal with the hoards of people. Pedestrian traffic is key for the Uptown Teeter. TJ's, BJ's, and Target are all outside of the loop. They are convenient to uptown residents who choose to drive, but it's not likely that many uptown residents walk there outside of maybe some in 1st Ward. Personally, as an uptown resident, I rarely use those stores for groceries because HT is so much more convenient, and parking is a pain in the ass (especially at TJ's). Whole Foods will have a lot of drive-to traffic (because it's Whole Foods) and most pedestrian traffic will come from workers who are taking the LRT to the south anyway and just stop off for some expensive groceries. IMO, this store chose its location more because of proximity to the interstate and Dilworth than they did because there are people living uptown. I'm not saying that's wrong - but I think the market for WF is different. Case in point, as an uptown resident, I don't have much interest in walking all the way over there to buy $14 asparagus water when I can walk to HT in less than 5 minutes. Publix, on the other hand, is in a good situation to compete with HT for the uptown grocery market. It probably won't attract as many 3rd Ward pedestrians as HT, but 1st Ward will finally have a store within a reasonable walking distance. From that standpoint, I could see HT wanting to open up a full-size store in uptown as well. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Regardless, it's great to finally see more functional urban retail. There are two - one on MLK across from RB Park and the other is on Cedar at Gateway Village.
  15. That should certainly help make up for the 15 years that we missed out on NCAA events due to the confederate flag.