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G W North

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About G W North

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  1. >>I like the idea of The New Urbanism. My only complaint is the manifestations we're seeing our cities: huge buildings which mimic what a group of many buildings would once have served in order to provide for mixed uses. It is not a durable way to build a neighborhood, because old and obsolete buildings can't be removed and replaced piecemeal as time goes by. When that huge neighborhood-mimicing building becomes old and obsolete, the only way to replace it is by tearing out the whole neighborhood and displacing hundreds of peoples' dwellings or jobs. << If you look at older buildings within downtowns, you often find many old buildings on a single city block crammed together, each with a tiny footprint. You unfortunately don't see much of that anymore. Most new developments tend to consume at least 1/4 of a city block, if not more (unless that city has unusually large city blocks). It would be nice to see more new buildings on plots of land less than 30 feet wide, but probably because of economics, you don't see much of that anymore. As for parking requirements, all they do is needlessly inflate the price of real estate to the point where some people can't afford to live in an urban area who would otherwise be able to because a single space in an underground garage can cost $20,000+ to build.
  2. The net loss of retail is not a good sign, no matter how good the new development may be. I don't know how big the old mall was, but obviously it was bigger than 53,000 square feet.
  3. MAH is funny. I've probably seen him brag 20 times about how Miami Beach has multiple locations of certain retailers (The Gap, Sunglass Hut, etc.). I've seen boast I don't know how many times about South Beach's 4 Gaps, but when I checked the Gap's website, there shows only 2.
  4. It's interesting how long most cities seem to have gone without new malls. The first large-scale fully-enclosed regional shopping mall in Canada supposedly since the 1980s(!) is under construction in suburban Toronto. There have been lots of new small malls connected to skyscrapers and subway stations built in Toronto since then, but no large regional malls with department stores et. al. In the last 20 years big-box "power centres" have been built in spades instead. It seems to be the same everywhere.
  5. Are the areas around where the stations would be densely built up right now, or are they sparse with parking lots, suburban densities, undeveloped land, etc.?
  6. Building new HOV lanes is stupid. It's not going to convince people to stop driving (or to stop driving by themselves), because it won't increase congestion in the regular lanes. In fact, if the new HOV lanes were successful, it would decrease congestion in the regular lanes, encouraging more people to drive alone. They should be doing whatever they can to encourage most new development (all kinds: residential, retail, office, etc.) to be within walking distance of new rail stations, and to get people who do drive to carpool. What they should do is convert on existing lane in each direction to HOV (physically seperate it with a wall if need be). This will encourage carpooling much more than new lanes, because it will not only make carpooling more attractive, but make driving alone LESS attractive. New lanes only equals new sprawl. My solution may have some growing pains, but in the long-run it would encourage (even force) smarter growth.
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