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Everything posted by Spartan

  1. This is more of my point. It doesn't technically matter where its located since the core of their operations is patrol cars driving around the city - I just like the idea of government being focused in downtown, and I don't consider anything west of the tracks as downtown. IMO its a pretty hard border. Yes, downtown is quite small. Go 0.6 miles in any direction from the Square and you're beyond what I would call the walkable core, and out of, what most would consider downtown (which IMO is bounded by the railroad to the north and west, Henry St to the south and Pine St to the east). So Maybe not technically out of downtown on the east, but very close.
  2. No, NCDOT is split into Divisions. I think 14 in total, but it might be 12 and I'm too lazy to look right now. Ours is Div 10, which as you likely guessed is based in Albemarle. Why? Because NCDOT. There is, however, a Charlotte office off of Orr Road, and they do coordinate with the City regularly. The City has a lot of opinions and influence with Division Staff, and are able to advance more progressive ideas than other divisions in the state for that reason - and in part because they have really great staff dedicated to this effort. But ultimately the City does not have the final say in the work NCDOT funds. The City can fund "enhancements" to State projects if they want (and that happens A LOT). That's part of why the City has taken over so many local streets over the years (ie: South Blvd), and why state roads function more like highways and less like city streets. NCDOT is only concerned about vehicular capacity and throughput. Pedestrians aren't technically ignored, but they are hardly a priority in any sense of the word. NCDOT argues that an interchange like the one they built at Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd & Brookshire is the best thing since sliced bread. For non-transportation nerds, this intersection design is called a CFI, which sadly doesn't meant what you think. A Continuous-Flow Intersection processes a ton of traffic, and creates shorter crossing segments for pedestrians. From an engineering standpoint its great. It "unclogs" the intersection for cars and makes it safer for pedestrians. It also makes it about 600ft across, which is wider than a city block, so nobody in their right mind would every walk across there unless they have to. Which, to be fair, if no pedestrians ever cross the intersection then the likelihood of a crash decreases significantly. So, from the standpoint of UrbanPlaneteers, NCDOT is not helping the cause of improving urban form and function at all. Anyway, point being, its not controlled from Raleigh. It's very much a lack of attention to detail or priority over how to do multi-modal transportation in an urban environment. All I can do is assure you that the City is aware of it, but you have to choose your battles. Hopefully next go around they will mill and resurface instead.
  3. Its somewhat mind blowing to me that people would rather deal with an HOA than a City Council.
  4. Wow. The transformation in that area is bordering on unbelievable. If you ever needed an example of what good urban development looks like, this is it. Are there things that could be better? Sure. But the fundamentals are there. Now if we can get a successful transformation for the County Admin building and the triangular block between here and there, it would be a really nice walk all the way into downtown.
  5. Its a raceway. If it weren't a state highway, we would likely have traffic lights at 7th 8th and 9th which would help slow traffic considerably. IMO the most annoying thing is that they keep repaving it without milling, so the sidewalk is only 1" above the road. Feels very unsafe to walk/drive/bike there.
  6. Why are the putting the Police HQ way over there? I guess it doesn't matter... Just feels like that should be a thing that's in downtown.
  7. It's a good idea in principle, but interlining with the Gold Line would be essentially impossible. The platform heights are different, so you'd have to have a special area just for the streetcar vehicle, and the combined length probably wouldn't fit in one city block. Maybe you could alternate blocks, but when you start to look at alternating stop spacing along with real world factors like topo, parking garage access, turning lane requirements, etc. it gets real complicated real fast. You would also have to rebuild basically all of the tracks through uptown because the existing stops aren't designed to accommodate LRT vehicles. The only way it could conceivable be interlined with Gold is if you close all of the interlined track portion of Trade/Elizabeth to ALL traffic. The tracks ARE designed to support the LRT vehicle weight, which is a plus, but good luck convincing the hotels and BofA to give up their parking access. This is incredibly dumb. ULI is supposed to be a force for good. I agree saving $$ is good, but surely there's a better way. Feels like cutting off your hand to spite your face. Operational hurdles, providing good service, and creating development opportunities should trump saving bankers in Matthews 5 minutes of walking. JMHO. So now the rich people get a direct shot into uptown but a worker going to the airport or to Matthews has to make two line changes. Feels like an equity issue to me. I'll also add that I'm not a huge fan of the dual hub system design for that reason, too. The portion around uptown doesn't have to be elevated and you don't have to rebuild 11th St (which is what makes that section $1b). That's an engineering choice made to accommodate NCDOT. Change the stuff that affects the design factors and you can easily save a lot of $$. Correct, which is one of many reasons why the original alignment was chosen.
  8. Will they annex in to the city? Seems unlikely that any significant road improvements will come, and I'm not confident in the County or SCDOT's ability to address the long term situation (see western Spartanburg County)
  9. Done. I love everything about this. Using up wasted space on the library site, adding a great destination in the middle of downtown? What's not to like!?
  10. The switchbacks are for ADA access requirements. I'm assuming based on the slope of the lot that we're looking at the Liberty St side at Silver Hill St. Basically it looks like they're making the ground floor level with the parking structure behind it instead of the street it fronts, which makes the ground floor higher on the downslope side. OR they are making the primary entrance on the uphill side of the site. It's hard to tell without a site plan. Ideally I'd like to see the building adapt to the slope a bit better but this is what you get with slab on grade construction. Not terrible, but not great either.
  11. I think for me its more nuanced. City Hall is actually a really great example of that style of architecture, as is the current County Courthouse. I think the nature of "futuristic" "bold" and "progressive" have changed over the years. When that building was built, most of the city had and what we would consider now to be an older style of architecture, so the inherent contrast was in part what made it stand out and be a forward looking style. Now, after decades of purely suburban growth we have a built city that largely lacks any distinctive character outside of downtown and a few neighborhoods, and that is largely because of the disposable architecture that was implemented in the 70s-90s and arguably through today, too. What made modernism stand out was contrast. What we need is fabric. City Hall could still be a statement piece if they wanted to be, and I hope that it is. But it doesn't have to look like the Jetsons to be significant to our city, and it doesn't have to be retro to be "good architecture." That said, our former president decreed that public buildings should be built in that neoclassical style, so it seems probable that we could get a modern interpretation of that even though it doesn't apply to local government. The problem with the current building - as with most buildings of that era - is that they didn't age well. The architects chose form over function and it created a lot of spaces that are not comfortable to occupy as a human. Older buildings, as with newer ones, recognize the importance of connection to daylight and nature, and allow for flexibility due to current construction methods.
  12. As long as its not 50s/60s modernist garbage it will be an improvement. The good (ironic?) thing is they will have to follow the downtown code, so no matter what they choose to do it should have a positive impact on the city. I would expect something somewhat conservative in style. Maybe not the County Courthouse, but I would be surprised if it was anything beyond a contemporary looking office building. I hope I'm wrong and they choose to make it a statement piece.
  13. Ohhh them's fightin' words haha. I love RJR. I always buy some when I'm in town since the only thing they sell outside of town is Son of a Peach. I just recently learned about Holliday Brewing, in Drayton, so I hope to make it there soon. I've been to Plankowner(?) - it was decent but its in Boiling Springs so... But yeah, a new brewery option in town would be great. I hope some potential investors are reading this haha.
  14. I could get behind this. Or make the whole thing out of cross laminated timber and let it be exposed on the exterior. https://www.firstpost.com/world/touchwood-all-you-need-to-know-about-worlds-tallest-timber-building-coming-up-in-switzerland-10587181.html
  15. Nice! I had not heard about that one. I still contend the market doesn't exist in Spartanburg... but would be very happy to be wrong!
  16. 5' buffered bike lanes are ok. A 10 ft buffered cycle track like westsider is talking about would be much better though. You don't need 4 lanes for traffic on that street and likely never will. Take the extra space and give it to pedestrians an cyclists!
  17. Great pics! DMA needs a road diet!
  18. Its amazing to see the the progress on the Northside. Really appreciate the pics!
  19. What about the sky bridge over Converse St? Did that get cut?
  20. It's probably more accurate to say that the market doesn't exist to do something different at this point in time. You're only just now starting to see suburban town centers in the Upstate, including that large one in Mauldin. True mall conversions require substantial investment to raze/rebulid. I think Raleigh is the smallest market I'm aware of that has seen a mall redevelopment into an urban product (North Hills). Anyone aware of something similar in a smaller market? The City's plan is a good one, and it's good that they are thinking about that inevitable future. Sooner or later, something like that will have to happen. That location will continue to be the primary suburban commercial center in Spartanburg. In the mean time, Westgate will continue to gradually evolve/devolve - but the area around it will also have to change in the long run.
  21. This is fantastic. Sometimes you have to take baby steps to convince people that some streets can just be for people and it will be ok.
  22. Does this project have a real name yet? I'm still not in love with the architecture at all, but after looking at the architect's website I'm more confident in a well done project. I'm somewhat skeptical about all the internal retail, but I suppose in the long run it could work out, especially if it can help create more activity on Broad Street.
  23. Agreed that it would be nice if they tear it down, but I also agree it doesn't seem likely. Hopefully they'll at least renovate it so it doesn't look like a Wendy's.
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