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ertley

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About ertley

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  1. Um, shouldn't this be in the History of Charlotte thread?
  2. ertley

    Ballantyne

    I totally understand that this intersection is not appropriate for pedestrian traffic. I wasn't actually advocating for trying to turn it into a neighborhood area or intersection, only improving its appearance by adding buildings at the corners, each of which would simply be an addition to its discrete shopping area, and wouldn't necessarily have to 'interact' with any of the other three. Each building would simply be additional retail, or even office, square footage, 'supported' by the existing parking lots, and would have low likelihood of encouraging people to cross either road; I highly doubt individuals driving to that area would be inclined to do anything but drive from parking lot to parking lot if they had business in several. I still simply think that intersection is the opposite of...contributing, in any visual or even substantive way, to making Ballantyne appear than anything other than an overgrown office park, and I still contend that constructing sidewalk-adjacent buildings at each corner of that intersection would be a strong visual, as well as substantive, way of making the area more than a planned 1990s, car-centric space.
  3. Since I'm sticking around the CLT area beyond the holidays, trying to ride out the potentially harsher mid-Atlantic January, I was able to actually drive around the city the other day for an hour or so, seeing in person the spots I most often check out online. I failed the UP community, though--I apologize--and didn't take any pictures, save one. My excuse is that I was alone, and ironically, not in traffic, so I had few occasions when I was legitimately stopped to take any pictures. I may strategize better and get some pictures later in the month, if there's a nice, clear (warm) day that I can repeat or even expand the route. The one picture I did manage to take was of the new (affordable housing?) development on four of the cleared blocks west of of the now-completed separation of North Tryon. I was genuinely impressed with both the facades and massing of the buildings. They've definitely managed to make it look like a nice urban neighborhood, preserving a lot of the (Willow?) oaks along the streets, and hiding the parking lots within the cores of each block. When you drive along every street, with the exception of Pine, you pretty much see substantial rows of three story townhouse-looking apartments that don't look cheap (thus far). This view is NW, towards the extension of 25th to Catalina. (I also got to see in person the (non-contiguous, obvs) progress of the bridge construction connecting 25th between Brevard and Davidson, which is at least halfway done, I would guess, from the passing view I got from Brevard.)
  4. I think the clearest advantage to the mill itself being converted to offices is that the entire parcel will truly become mixed use, automatically TOD-CC--and if the resuscitation of the old trolley line is actually ever realized, even a low level TOD-TC--making this site more significant as an employment center in addition to a residential and leisure area. I think it's potentially, hopefully going to be even more significant because of the contiguous northward extension it creates of the employment/enjoyment-focused revitalization of the Tuckaseegee Road area, virtually to Rozelle's Ferry Road. It may have seemed ridiculous some years ago to suggest it, but I think this could then spur a sooner-rather-than later transformation of Rozeelle's Ferry Road similar to what's currently going on at Tuckaseegee. Eventually there's very likely going to be unbroken corridor of mixed employment, leisure as well as residential bases all the way from Wilkinson Boulevard (once the Silver Line is built) to, at a minimum, the Savona Mill complex, and quite possibly all the way up to Brookshire (with a slight bottleneck, obvs, between Savona and Rozelle's Ferry). This, IMO, would be amazing because it will create almost a second (medium sized) city's worth of economic activity barely a mile west of Uptown, with highly desirable neighborhoods emerging within and on all sides. And this is near west Charlotte, which not too long ago was as removed as it could be from the other side of the city. Now I'm thinking about how the city could better facilitate north-south movement within this future corridor...
  5. Just as long as they don't cut down that magnificent magnolia on the corner! I hope their architects can realize that they've had provided to them, for free, what Crescent had to purposefully engineer at Ally Center, and can look to it as an example: A mature, classically Southern tree at the corner, which can serve as a focal point for a neighborhood, pedestrian-oriented plaza, lined by shops, etc. Fingers crossed.
  6. I was already thinking this yesterday, when reading the airport thread about route and hub consolidation--so another Cross Tab--but the obvious answer for both that and rural public transit are the same: Revitalization and expansion of passenger rail. My maternal grandmother was as hard right as one could get, except, ironically, her vestigal support for FDR's New Deal policies--the only time I can remember ever hearing her contradict contemporary Republican orthodoxy about anything was when some commentator criticized the "socialism" of FDR's policies, and she exclaimed, "People would have starved!!" I will admit that my grandmother's rail evangelism probably underlies a lot of my support for it She was ARDENTLY in favor of rail transportation, and if I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, that "the country" had made a huuuge mistake in abandoning rail transportation. Truth be told, her grandfather was in the rail business, so she probably was raised in a particularly pro-rail household, but it wasn't just talk: Her father worked in Greensboro through the week and took the train to and from the tiny village of Kings Creek (in Cherokee County) every weekend, and when my grandmother finished school she worked in Gastonia, and took the train to and from daily. She talked over and over--virtually every time we were in the car for a trip longer than she could abide, as well as any time we crossed a railroad track or saw a train--about how the ability to take a train wherever one wanted to go was helpful to everyone, and was far easier, cheaper and more convenient than having to drive everywhere. Sadly, though, we've let too much time elapse in our efforts to revitalize passenger rail, and nearly everyone like her, who could recall the ease and glory of the rail days, are gone and can't be voice for the truly conservative argument of returning to early 20 century practice. So, we're going to have to reinvent the proverbial wheel, in terms of rural passenger rail, if at all.
  7. I realize I don't know even 5% of what's going on, and what's necessary to understand it, technically, in City of Charlotte planning, but this baffles me. If the Silver Line is still being considered for the south side of Independence at this point, the setback of that building seems needlessly close to the Independence right of way. I realize CATS can probably still manage to fit a dual track between the building and the roadway, but it would sure be a lot easier, in addition to allowing for a potential pedestrian path and bike trail along the track, if the building weren't so close. Maybe everyone's fine with tearing down this building in 10 years, in anticipation of an apartment building or mixed use structure, but that just seems needlessly wasteful. When I was in Charlotte at Thanksgiving, my sister and I stopped there to get gas, and without my prompting--my sister is interested in design in general, but more domestic than urban, so I don't bring up city planning observations with her--she volunteered that she thinks this development is poorly conceived and underwhelming. I remember it because I have always thought the same thing. The part farther south near Conference Drive seems better executed, but I cannot for the life of me understand why the buildings at the Idlewild and Monroe intersection are so far from the street and sidewalk. It's like a mid-range 1990s development, IMO. But again, maybe it's *all* temporary in anticipation of a future Conference Drive Lynx station. My hope is that CATS doesn't get persuaded to run all of the Silver Line north of Independence, for the paramount reason that the envisioned transformation of Monroe Road can't really happen without having readily available mass transit within a few blocks. For no other reason, the redevelopment of the Coliseum and Ovens complex, centered on a Lynx station, is sole justification for a south routing. But with two major TOD-UCs, at Coliseum and then Conference Drive, Monroe between them can absolutely flourish as a TOD-centric area, with that Oakhurst Commons functioning as an intermediate TOD-CC. So, I'll just hope that wiser heads are prevailing and that I simply don't know the other 95%. But Yay for an ABC store. Is there one at Cotswold?
  8. It *looks* to me as if it's merely a simple distinction between years. What this timeline made more evident to me is that clearly Charlotte has specific "boom" periods, early '20s (predictable) and, perhaps most significantly, the early '70s. It's crazy how many buildings that are still significant and recognizable date from the early '70s...and then the OPEC crisis and recession hit. If I could cross-tabulate, something like this would be a fun option for a greenway trail, perhaps separate from Charlotte history (maybe on linking trails), and a visible way of not only putting Charlotte's growth in perspective, but 'memorializing' those structures that have been torn down, and perhaps, just perhaps, engendering an appreciation for architecture and urban design in general.
  9. The great thing is (or could be) that the city and county have so many greenways and trails planned--basically every creek seems to have one planned along it--that a master plan could be devised assigning a discrete theme and installations for each greenway or trail, based on length, terrain and overall usage. Those with heavier (including commuter and serious biking) traffic could have something less appealing to young kids et al., maybe focused on history or even just art, and neighborhood or connecting trails could feature paleontological history, for example so kids of all ages could throng without creating too much ire or friction among more serious trail users and the kids' moms (perhaps occasionally named Karen). I'm not someone who necessarily puts "equity" and "diversity" automatically at the topmost of every list--although, do not get me wrong, I believe they are always inherent considerations--but I really do think the paleontological installations should (or rather would) be placed as centrally as possible--not up in University City or down in south Charlotte, so all children in the city would have equal access, and hopefully create all kinds of added benefits for children everywhere and help encourage an all-inclusive community a little bit more. The others could be more dependent upon terrain, length, cost, etc.
  10. Both Ally and Legacy's garages would be ideal for a green wall, for hearty plants and/or vines, because both are south/southwest facing, with unfiltered afternoon sun exposure. Maybe someone should pay true homage to local heritage and plant some kudzu on either or both. Both garage faces would be completely covered by this time next year! (To evince my true, deep roots in the Southland, I scan still remember Lewis Grizzard's bit from the '80s about kudzu, and unwitting folks going to sleep and night and waking up in the morning to find their houses engulfed.)
  11. While walking on my local trail the other day--in lieu of being able to go to the gym--I had an idea: What if Discovery Place, affiliated organizations and arts groups worked with the parks and rec department to create a series of meaningful installations along each greenway in Charlotte? Specifically, utilizing the linear nature of the trails to convey important narratives with proper scope and scale, in regards to time or distance. I specifically mention Discovery Place because I think a great one to start with--and which I recognize could be a victim of its own success if it ends up clogging the trails with too many tykes and families--but maybe you widen the trail?--would be a Paleontology trail, charting the story of dinosaurs, with accurate measures of time, in feet, to convey to kids the scope of paleontological (?) history. (Obviously, this being the South any mentions of human evolution would have to be avoided.) Younger kids could be awed by (accurate--with feathers!) statues of dinosaurs from different epochs, and important geological and climatological events could be represented therein, like the Yucatan meteorite, etc. Another trail could present the solar system, again, in accurate scale--both the sizes of the planets and their distances to one another. Yet another could be more 'pedestrian'--but chronologically presenting local history--I know the statues by the greenway on the western edge of Elizabeth (I refuse to type Midtown) present local figures--but either independently or re-positioning those statues, telling the story of Mecklenburg, so many feet by so many feet. There are of course many other things that could be presented, but the paleontologocial and universal ones were the first ones to come to mind.
  12. ertley

    Ballantyne

    My fondest wish for Ballantyne is that they would re-move--literally, put them somewhere else, another intersection or park area that could use some sprucing up--the four "gates" at the Johnston Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway intersection, and instead build four decent buildings that are sidewalk adjacent (and they'll still have those ample parking lots behind them). That's the surest way they can make Ballantyne appear to be more than an '90s relic of suburban sprawl. They may or may not inspire actual pedestrian activity, but regardless at least it'll *look* like an actual place rather than a corporate park with housing attached.
  13. This is a terrific vista, and makes the Honeywell tower look its best, IMO. If Lincoln Harris gets the structure on this corner right--something that doesn't blend with either structure but provides a nice contrast to both (even just a pure glass tower, a la LU 2--the intersection of Graham and Mint is going to be a surprisingly great experience. For all of the b-------g that goes on here about parking garage structures' screening, for me, at least, the one that's the worst never gets its due: The LU garage. (I realize that it may had its day in the complaint shade and the Ally garage is just newer.) But I will take 10 Ally garages, even in its present (unfinished?) state over this one. I hate, hate, hate this screening more every time I see it. I know they actually spent a little bit of money on it, but this vast expanse of grey mesh just totally ruins this side of Legacy Union for me, and it really does no favors for the Honeywell building. The view from the Deloitte corner, whereby the garage is barley discernible, is tolerable. (And of course I love the Deloitte building.) Even a giant advertisement for the Panthers or Legacy Union or anything else covering this would be preferable, even no screening at all. I think it's that bad.
  14. Looking at background of these two pictures, I think it would be wonderful (but yes, totally unrealistic) if the city would widen the sidewalk (even if only this side) on the bridge across 277 Belk to approximately the width of the sidewalk in front of Legacy 2, to both symbolically and physically strengthen the (pedestrian) connection between Uptown and South End.
  15. I really think all that needs to happen is for *ONE* good example of this to be created in Charlotte, and then people can see for themselves how great they are. This is exactly the kind of thing where good governance should come in: The city should allocate funds to do this somewhere, and then the general public will realize it's not some goofy otherworldly idea, it's easily achievable, and then expectations will be raised in general, including for private developers building parking garages... One thing I'm ultra reactionary about is graffiti--I despise it in all forms, anywhere, anytime--and I would love to see this deployed in graffiti-prone or -susceptible areas. And since it's good for air quality (and maybe even a little for runoff and rainwater absorption--too soon??), it's a win-win IMO.
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