urbanaturalist

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About urbanaturalist

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  1. Well I finally did it. I took the metro train and bus from D.C. to Baltimore during rush hour. I left from New York Ave station on the Red Line at 2:30 pm and got to my destination in Northeast Baltimore by bus at 5:40 pm. A little over 3 hours. Damn!!! The longest part of the trip was waiting for and riding the bus from the terminus station, the Greenbelt Station, on the Green Line up to BWI-Marshall, this took a good 80 minutes. Once the bus got to 295 BaltWash Parkway it was moving, but just to slow obviously because it was rush hour. When I got to BWI-Marshall Airport, I had to get a new ticket, an all day pass. I got on the light rail terminus for Baltimore's system, which had us waiting for a good 20 minutes until it left, because we had to wait for the other train to come before my train left. Surprisingly, the light rail got us to Camden Yards which is essentially downtown Bmore in about 20 minutes, even though its like 8 stops in between. I got to my stop at Cold Springs Rd light rail station in about 40 minutes from the airport. I've always been a critic of light rail as to slow, which compared to heavy rail it is, but I have to admit it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be even with more stops. The bus trip from Cold Springs light rail station to my destination in Northeast Bmore took about 30 minutes, again because of rush hour. The trip back to D.C. took 2 hours and 10 minutes. Mapquest says that by car under the optimal conditions it should take 1 hour and 5 minutes to go from D.C. to Northeast Bmore, which is 45 miles. So my impression is this is that, the system is good, but in order for people to really want to make D.C. and Bmore completely integrated is for that GREEN LINE EXTENSION to BWI to get underway. There would have been no waiting for the bus or waiting in traffic on 295 if the extenstion was available. Thats a lot more cars off the road potentially, and more room for better TODs at the extentsion's stops. Of course, I know this is obvious logic, but actually experiencing using mass transit to go from D.C. to Bmore was kinda mind numbing. I can drive from D.C. to Bmore in a lil less time than that during rush hour....usually. I know there is Amtrak and MARC too which would have been a hell of a lot quicker, but when you consider all the people that are coming to the area between Bmore and DC in the coming years, it stands that a Green Line extension is so necessary. Also, there needs to be a light rail or heavy rail train route into Northeast Bmore, which I believe is on the drawing board. Those two things would have reduced my trip time enormously. BTW.....round trip was $13.
  2. urbanaturalist

    Triangle road & traffic thread

    Chief thats a great rendering. Maybe THEY can add some trains to it in future. There is no reason geographically speaking that Wake County, all 700 some odd number of square miles, can't be the place where 2 million people rest their heads and vote and pay taxes. I'm just sayin.................Wake County is not JUST Raleigh, ........THUS.....there are a lot of municipalities that could yes, believe it or not, have the stability and earth shock absorbers to hold down or hold up a building taller than 25 stories of a material mixture (maybe in need of a sustainable building material makeover) that could reshape the skyline. The thing about density and taller buildings that come is that it may in some ways be a sort of "shock absorber" for sprawl and out of controlled growth across the county, and to be a BIG SHOT, and legislatively and unconsciously the whole state. If the Raleigh and Wake County, can ever start to be a litte more pro-active in comprehensive devlopment and for that matter conservative in the idea of protecting the rural areas from Superheros of Sprawl, then a tall building where it fits want be such a doozy on the mind of people and will really help protect an eagle or a fox or turtle or snail or just a nice tobacco barn in the middle of a field somewhere across the state. Really though, the blue shaded "office" area is a good part of this. Nestled nicely between residential and commercial and a greenspace somewhere up there, as opposed to out smack in the middle of a vast gray car oriented parking Siberia. Where, OF COURSE, you have to drive there, now maybe somebody might walk to work in North Raleigh......lol.
  3. urbanaturalist

    Triangle road & traffic thread

    Thats a good rendering. All they need are trains.
  4. urbanaturalist

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    As someone that graduated from Shaw U, I spent a decent amount of time downtown b/se of its close proximity. Whether walking to the bus station, to the clubs off of Glenwood, going to the bank, going to City Market for an expensive slice of pizza, attending festivals near the Capitol, or even walking to NC State, etc. So I guess if I had a magic wand I would definitely first all want Shaw Univ. to expand a few blocks east and north before the developers take over, and then definitely get that TTA rail station up and running, with some mixed used development all around it. Also, I think Central Prison needs to move from its location and make room for other developments, and also b/se a path could definitely be connected from the old Dorothea Dix into downtown. More residential space with a grocery store, cafes, and restaurants on the street levels. Lastly, I would probably vouch for all new developments downtown as much as possible to have green roofs.
  5. I hope Kaine finds his "cojones" and rejoins the progressive thinking people that help get his Lt Governor hindparts elected and take the tunnel boring company up on its offer to build the tunnel. Hell, it looks like the tunnel boring company would actually reduce its own cost to make it happen, so they basically seem to be attempting to do whatever it takes to get those 4 miles of tunnel completed "more cheaply" than the above ground proposal. In all his eco-sounding rhetoric about land use planning, I just don't see how he in his position could not see the VISION!. Its clear as day.
  6. would be nice if all transit routes everywhere were always built as heavy rail. The problem is, we're not really talking about "Penny pinching" here, we're talking about "Multiple Billions of Dollars pinching". The current BRT/LRT plan for the purple line makes pretty good use of existing infrastructure. (Tunnel under Bethesda, Georgetown Branch ROW.) Change to HRT, and you have to start COMPLETELY from scratch, and do basically the whole thing in a tunnel. Yeah, great for transit fans for us. But in the real world, not possible OR necessary at all. To the folks still arguing for the Purple Line to be heavy rail: this train has left the station! I would like to see the Purple Line built as a rapid transit line (in the early-1900s US sense). This concept is quite compatible with light rail. That would mean that at no point on its route does it need to stop for traffic lights or mix with traffic. But unlike heavy rail transit, grade crossings are fine. Access to platforms is not restricted with physical barriers (gates). Fares are collected on a "proof of payment" system (where transit cops periodically check everybody's tickets.)
  7. The Purple Line could not possibly in any practical way go to Annapolis. The Purple Line is supposed to be the suburban circle, rail parallel to the Beltway, connector to the inner suburbs of MD and VA, or any circular representation you want to give. The Purple Line SHOULD NOT AT ALL be a light rail. It is TO SIGNIFICANT OF A ROUTE to be a relatively slowing moving, smaller capacity light rail line. It would optimally go thru Tysons Corner, National Harbor, Silver Springs, Franconia-Springfield, and Largo Town Center among other inner suburb stops. The distance is to far and the route to important to be "penny pinchers" and revert to the cost saving analysis that goes with propagating for a light rail. I'm not an idealist completely on this subject, because I know a completed Purple Line would be mighty expensive, underground, grade level, or elevated, or all of the above. Although like the Tysons Corner "underground saga" it is becoming clearer that with the latest technology it is not as expensive as it once was. Not to mention the fact that, two (2) bridges or tunnels will have to be built so that the Purple Line crosses the Potomac twice. Most of the Beltway is in Maryland, and the Purple Line will mirror just that feature about perfectly. So once a preliminary draft study of a completed Purple Line is done, it will allow Maryland and VA officials to see about what percentage each state should be paying, and then allow room for maybe DC and federal government financial support to help out as well. Purple Line needs to be Heavy Rail. Dig in those pockets and find the dough, and get some politicians that understand the larger multigenerational vision of how the Purple Line would enhance the DC metro enormously. I will say though that the Green Line to BWI is a bigger priority in my opinion for now, but once the Silver Line (hopefully with underground in Tysons) is underway, and the Green Line gets its money together, the Purple should be a project that MD and VA can work together, obviously. So yeah, once the Green Line is under construction, the Purple should be very next priority.
  8. urbanaturalist

    Triangle road & traffic thread

    I concur. I going to piggyback off a couple of previous posters. Its also the basic lack of comprehensive smart growth planning and zoning in the Triangle that is making it worse and worse for future traffic and development patterns, which of course by having a TTA rail system manifested as a template would make even more viable. I agree too that the TTA should work on getting a metro wide bus system in order and advocate for a metro wide sales tax to show some leadership, authority, and initiative to the feds and Raleigh politicos.
  9. urbanaturalist

    Southeast Raleigh

    Its funny how willrusso, the photographer, took all those pictures of the area between SE Raleigh and Downtown, but somehow forgot to include more pictures of Shaw University, the 2nd oldest historically black college/university in the nation, which is right at the doorstep of downtown. ALL those pictures form a loop around Shaw, but he failed to even get a good campus view picture of the campus..... www.shawuniversity.edu. St. Augustine College (another HBCU), is not far from that Bojangles picture either, so Southeast Raleigh is not all gloom and doom. Anyway, SE has its issues definitely, but it still has a high concentration of blacks of all income levels, but there is room for improvement much like any other place in Raleigh. Also, those pictures are the most "urban" or closest to downtown part of Southeast, there are plenty of sprawl friendly developments a few miles away. Also, there are plans to put some condo highrises in near Wake Med. Besides that, vice takes place all over Raleigh, just because it has a manicured lawn in front of it doesn't it mean "illegal" activity isn't happening. I'm done.
  10. urbanaturalist

    IN PROGRESS: 360 State Street

    Good for New Haven, keep em coming.
  11. urbanaturalist

    Atlanta Beltline - Emerald Necklace

    The city should pull out its wild card, throw its eminent domain card out on to the table. This Beltline project is bigger and cast a much more perpetual legacy than one man and a few buildings. At first he was all charitable, donating parkland and all, but know its like he's being possessed with "evil developer" syndrome. I don't live in ATL, but I've followed the story. Show dude to the eminent domain gallery and exorcise (exercise) some city power.
  12. urbanaturalist

    Atlanta Beltline - Emerald Necklace

    I really hope the beltline turns into light rail and not streetcars or buses. I would probably prefer subway (MARTA trains), but I'll heed to light rail. However, one of the things I don't like about light rail are those damn wires and electric cords , it just looks tacky to me and takes away the visual of the street scene personally. This is from someone that is not a spring cleaner. Nonetheless, I was reading this forum issue, and thought why can't the trains be by powered by the sun..... . I know it can probably be done, why not. So I googled "solar powered light rail" and this is what I got. No strings attached, excuse the pun and no petroleum. http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/sto...ewscolumn7.html I'm not from Atlanta so maybe one you ATL heads can go to a board meeting on the beltline and bring it up. It can't hurt.
  13. urbanaturalist

    Dorothea Dix Property

    Dorothea Dix would make great parkland. Close down Central Prison turn that land into residential, commercial area. Dorothea would be a great place to have fireworks displays and other events. Is there a park like that in Raleigh? thats downtown at that?