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About jthomas

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    Greensboro, NC

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  1. With any luck, "highway visibility" will get consigned to the dustbin of history as a relic of 20th century thinking. The best parts of any city are away from the highway, and are best experienced on foot rather than through a windshield.
  2. This is good stuff. Depending on election results in November, it's possible that federal transportation funding could place a much greater emphasis on rail. I'm glad to see that the state is well into planning projects that could be accelerated by more federal money. It helps that the biggest projects for the state (S-line/SEHSR, and maybe Charlotte-Atlanta too) would likely be high priorities in a scenario of large-scale federal rail investment.
  3. Yep - I'm thinking the ramps would be steep, drive-only (no parking on sloped sections), and ideally removeable. Say, for example, a garage with a 150'x200' footprint, where the center 30'x100' is a speed ramp at 15% slope. Parking space gets converted to other uses from the top level down. As you convert each level, the ramp is removed, leaving behind an atrium space.
  4. Here's another idea for a solution. What if the TOD zoning district mandated a minimum floor-to-floor height for all structured parking? This minimum would be set at a height (say, +/- 14 feet) that would facilitate adaptive reuse of the parking structure. This would incentivize building owners to reduce the number of people who drive to their buildings, because as parking demand fell, they could convert parking levels to leaseable space. There are a few buildings in other places that have incorporated this concept - Google the 84.51 Center in Cincinnati for an example.
  5. I would love to see companies who are already in town relocate to downtown. There will always be a market for suburban office, but it is a shame that more of Greensboro's big employers aren't in the center city. I think downtown is currently at a bit of a competitive disadvantage. The geographic center of Greensboro is actually Friendly Center, not downtown. And the airport and Lake Jeannette areas are much closer to the affluent northwest suburbs, making those areas more attractive for white collar workers. I think there are a couple of strategies that can tilt the balance in downtown's favor. First, as I mentioned above, invest heavily in residential right now, in order to make it a more complete district of the city. This is the approach that has worked in South End in Charlotte. Residential came first, and now that it has hit a critical mass, office space is taking off - several of the towers proposed there would be the tallest in downtown Greensboro. The second strategy follows closely after the first. Suburban office locations will always be more convenient via automobile than downtown. Downtown can't compete with this, nor should it try. In fact, the more successful downtown is at turning into an urban district, the more difficult it will be to drive there. Transit investment is needed now, and also in the future, to ensure mobility within the core and access to it from outside. I don't see Greensboro winning any major corporate relocations in the near term. We know Greensboro is a great city, but regional peers have big advantages in transportation (CLT airport) and established business sectors (Charlotte - banking, Triangle - tech, etc.). There is no concrete plan for this to happen right now, but true high speed rail serving Greensboro would be a game-changer. With travel times on the order of 45 minutes to Charlotte and Raleigh and 2.5 hours to Atlanta and DC, the equation would change tremendously. It would be feasible to commute to the other NC cities, and the competitive disadvantage caused by the relative lack of flights at PTI would be lessened. Greensboro's livability and compact size relative to peers would also become more of a selling point to individuals and companies looking to relocate.
  6. Galyon Depot in Greensboro. Such a pleasant way to travel, and great gateway to the city.
  7. I picked both, but think residential is much more important at this point. A bigger full-time population will support greater activity 24/7, as well as a more diverse array of restaurants, retail, and other neighborhood amenities. If downtown’s residential population were to double or triple, it would be a noticeably more vibrant area.
  8. Business 40 through downtown W-S to reopen this weekend: https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2020/01/31/business-40-to-re-open-after-15-month-rebuild-6.html?iana=hpmvp_triad_news_headline It's a shame that the freeway wasn't removed entirely and replaced with a surface boulevard. Perhaps if this project was only in the planning stages now, there might have been a chance - attitudes towards urban freeways seem to be changing quickly. But now that this investment has been made, the gash in Winston-Salem's urban fabric seems destined to remain for another generation.
  9. Parking deck construction in full swing today.
  10. Amtrak Piedmont at High Point yesterday.
  11. Links: http://www.drpt.virginia.gov/rail/transforming-rail-in-virginia/ https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2019/december/headline-850120-en.html http://drpt.virginia.gov/media/3008/map-program-highlights.pdf Virginia is buying the portion of the abandoned S-Line in VA, the Buckingham Branch between Doswell and Clifton Forge, and 1/2 of the RF&P ROW between Richmond and DC. They will also have trackage rights on CSX between Richmond and Petersburg, and VA will own the new Long Bridge over the Potomac, which will be exclusively for passenger use. I can't quite make out how the RF&P portion works. It says VA is acquiring 1/2 of the entire ROW and 39 miles of track. I'm guessing that CSX retains the existing double track, and VA gets any existing additional tracks as well as any additional track in the future (there are an additional 37 miles planned as of now).
  12. The one on the left is owned by the city; the one on the right is owned by Lincoln Financial and is used for their employees (towers on the right) as well as for residents of the Center Pointe tower (center). I wouldn't expect either to be able to accommodate additional structure on top. IMO, the ground floor of the Lincoln Financial deck could be converted to decent retail space fairly easily, but I don't see that being a priority for the owner. It's a shame how these two decks kill the streetscape of an entire block.
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