Padman

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About Padman

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    Hamlet
  1. Padman

    Downtown Norfolk Progress

    There are many reasons why Norfolk hasn't prospered in terms of potential, but the one thing that keeps coming up is the relative lack of an economic base. Norfolk produces and exports very little to the world. True, we have a great harbor asset and many other natural amenities, but we are not home to any major financial, technological, manufacturing, or entertainment industries. We do have some research and production related to military institutions, but those industries are severely limited to sales to domestic government consumption. Than there is the conservative Virginia mindset, which let the banking industry slip away to Charlotte and Atlanta, and largely denies the need to take a visionary approach to planning, and allows only limited local control to cities. Nevertheless, our region is a good place to live
  2. Padman

    Virginia Beach Light Rail and Transit

    What sometimes gets lost in these discussions is the tendency for operation and maintenance costs to add up over time. Subsidies may be available to cover some of this, but over time we will really be the ones footing the bill for much of this project. With that in mind, I think it's really important to get the system built to the Oceanfront and to the Naval Base, with several well placed park and ride lots, a feeder bus system, and compatible land use plans.
  3. Padman

    Waterside District

    Younger leadership may or may not be helpful, youthful energy definitely would be helpful. Mason Andrews was a dynamo, physically nothing youthful about him though. I think Norfolk has lately just fooled around trying to be all things to all people. They've got something like 75 neighborhood plans sitting on shelves, and they don't have their priorities straight. An idea on Charlotte--maybe a crazy one, maybe not. I noticed in the late 60s-early seventies that Charlotte was just blooming all over with young women (many of them college students--not just pretty). Charlotte's economy exploded in the 80s, when banks merged and literally rebuilt downtown Charlotte. This was the period in which women participated more fully in the labor force and two earner households became more common. I think that financial deregulation was only one factor in Charlotte's rebirth, although it was a big one. How can we better take advantage of our demographic and economic characteristics? I'm guessing that there may be a large number of ex-military retirees in the labor market over the next decade. How well can our universities help them, especially at the post graduate level?
  4. Padman

    Waterside District

    I agree with the last post. I've always found Norfolk's waterfront scenery much more interesting than Baltimore's harbor. We just can't draw from a huge megalopolis the way Baltimore can. I'd like to see at least one fine restaurant with a waterfront view in the Waterside complex, or something like the No Frill Grill there. For me and for my family, Phillips WAS Waterside, even though it was a little overpriced.
  5. Padman

    Waterside District

    I think the City might want to think about short term and long term outcomes with this problem. Short term, they are cash strapped and investment is reined in by frightened lenders. No one really knows when that will change, but I'd bet on a at least a couple more years of tight money. They could treat Waterside as an extension of Town Point Park. They might try to land a finer restaurant overlooking the water, bringing back the best of the Phillips era, then open up much of the lower level for indoor festivals and concerts--especially useful during inclement weather. I don't see how they could compete with the mall for retail, but there might be some limited shopping that is geared towards day workers, the cruise ship/Nauticus complex and cultural events. A few services for residents, such as gyms might work. Kayak and canoe rentals might also help bring some new activity (if allowable). Long term, mixed use is the flavor of the day. Perhaps we'll see some river oriented commercial on lower levels, with hotel and residential on upper levels of some new structure. I hope that public uses remain, but that should be an easy location to sell someday.
  6. Padman

    Norfolk Development 2

    The obscenely inflated salaries of a few sports figures, entertainers and CEOs is theorized by micro-economists to be because there are no real substitutes for these people. You and I, regardless of our true ability or potential worth, just aren't perceived as being irreplaceable by the general public. It's an interesting aberration of free markets, a kind of merit-based lottery system.
  7. Padman

    Norfolk Development 2

    There's also the issue of negative equity. The stadium may cost more to create and to run than it would gain. Economic multiplier effects (those would be positive) would be captured mostly by the host community, but not spread to the region. It would be hard to formulate a fair plan for a regional sports facility, but I guess anything is possible in theory.
  8. Padman

    Norfolk Development 2

    Virginia Beach is making no such claim for an NBA team as of yet. The Pembroke Study is a long range land use plan in which a site near Witchduck Rd. was identified as being one possible location for a sports facility. An initial thought apparantly was to maybe build a football stadium, but that was downsized somewhat. A stadium could just as well be built in Norfolk, Chesapeake or even Portsmouth someday. The Pembroke Study is to be a general guide, with some specific ideas regarding uses that might be appropriate for certain subareas. It's also only in rough draft form, not published yet. But I can tell you that some of the graphic work will be fairly exciting, without being overly ambitious (I've seen the draft, but I didn't work on it).
  9. Padman

    Norfolk Light Rail and Transit

    A simple on-campus survey might help to settle the question about LRT potential use.
  10. Padman

    Virginia Beach Development

    I was there. There were no cookies and it was a little hot. I was really in the mood for a snickerdoodle. The plan, I think, is nicely done and should serve pretty well as a strong suggestion for future development in the Pembroke Area. You can see it on the Vbgov.com site. No big changes since it was last discussed, but I was glad to see a bit more emphasis on green space, parks, bikeways and references to things like Leed standards. LRT would be a big factor in design guidelines, two I-264 flyovers would improve access, including pedestrians bridging over to Trashmore, and a gridded roadway system would replace today's hodgepodge of diagonal and dysfunctional streets. Graphics were subdued--no really tall buildings were depicted other than the Westin. A sports arena was depicted just east of Witchduck. Perhaps a bit too much "something for everyone" but that's the process.
  11. Padman

    Va. Beach Town Center project 2

    I was surprised to see the intensity of development split between the west and east segments of the plan, which makes good sense, taking advantage of access at Witchduck and at Independence. Note the use of green space and the integration of Thalia Creek. A flyover would connect pedestrians and bicyclists to Trashmore. I doubt that we will have so many LRT stations in there--maybe two for starters (don't want to slow the train down too much). The stadium, as pictured was intended for football, I think, and would be a bit smaller as an arena, but who knows? Height of buildings could go either way. This really is a downtown plan, not an "edge city" development. Given the difficulty and expense of dealing with all of our water crossings, it might make sense to have two major downtowns on the Southside. Town Center is pretty accessible, and LRT will make it more so. p.s. could we call it something else? Pembroke would be better.
  12. Padman

    Waterside District

    +1 on trying to obtain some private ownership. I don't see innovative and profitable things happening to that property as long as the City owns and manages Waterside. It will probably just limp along, at best. That doesn't mean that there couldn't be a public/private partnership. But I'd rather see them tear it down and extend Town Point Park and the "Riverwalk" than continue with what thery have there now. Here's an idea for compromise. The main problem with City ownership is the pressing need for full public inclusiveness. Something for everybody just doesn't always work. Who is Waterside for? Old people, sailors, young people, well-to-do, poor, children? I guess you could turn it into a full-fledged community center, with swimming pools, tennis courts, meeting halls and so on. The growing,downtown residential population needs that, but they already have the Y. It could become a kind of city-wide community center and also include some nice restaurants.
  13. Padman

    Norfolk Light Rail and Transit

    I saw some of those comments on the Pilot. The usual stuff-from uninformed rants to idealists. Some of the negativity is probably right--gives us something to think about. I'd still rather have LRT than a pro basketball team, even if I don't use it very often. We have that rail corridor running all the way to the oceanfront, why not use it? When the faster technology arrives in 25 years or so, we will have a relatively straight, right of way in place, ready to transition to the faster and better technology, whatever that is. And we can start to cluster development close to LRT stations now.
  14. Padman

    Fort Norfolk Plaza Progress

    This is the most wretched piece of drivel I've seen in a very long time, like a bad movie that isn't funny enough to become a cult favorite. With this taste in architecture, what kind of jazz can we expect in that nightclub? I see feathered boas and poor renditions of Sinatra tunes coming. O.K. I got out on the wrong side of the bed today, but really.
  15. Padman

    Virginia Coffee House

    The problem with the thrust of this specious thread is that the Obama campaign appealed to voters who are were better educated, whereas many of the the Mc Cain voters tended to be less so. It may be that many Obama supporters were pulled in by the star quality of the candidate. I find it a little scary when I see the hyped adoration on the faces in an Obama crowd. Some of those people will probably be let down by Obama's cautious, conventional approach. I find it reassuring.