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About foo_gr

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    Grand Rapids - Garfield Park
  1. If I remember correctly, the post office was prohibited from moving before the war. It was in the GR Press.
  2. I love the river shot and the zamboni shot. Great pics!
  3. Excellent. So there is demand across the board. Thanks for finding that GRDad.
  4. So, now I'm wondering if my own argument works. According to the GVSU/Rapid schedule: GVSU has grown from one straight route connecting two campuses to four routes serving almost 15,000 riders per day. According to someone I know who works at GVSU, the buses run every 8-9 minutes. I wonder how much of the record ridership is due to the students?
  5. I don't think this argument works in light of the record bus ridership that we are currently experiencing. Clearly, people are using and are interested in using mass transit. I think the challenge with mass transit is (pretty obviously) getting people where they want to go in a timely manner. One thing that has changed over the last century is our transition away from manufacturing and, more specifically, jobs concentrated in our city core to jobs spread around the periphery of the city. I'd be curious to know how the current ridership is using the bus system we have. I think a lot more people would use the system if they could see a way to get to-and-from their jobs in a timely manner. I think the danger with the proposed street car system is that it could become a downtown tourist gimmick and not the first step in a larger system.
  6. I'm not saying North Monroe doesn't need any love at all. I'm glad it is beginning to thrive, and I'm excited about the area it will develop into. I think that it may also have an impact on the Belknap Hill area, which is also a really neat area. But, I think that putting a streetcar system from downtown up North Monroe is almost like putting one from Downtown into the Heartside. You can pretty much get there by walking. I think that the NMonroe area seems like it is a long way away because of the evening desert of government buildings south of 96, and the couple of parking lots N of the freeway. I think that putting a street car line down division has the potential to strengthen the Heartside, and extend it's success south as well as spur redevelopment in the Burton Heights business district, which has been hanging on despite the year long street renovations, and tie into the new Kroc Center. I think it wouldn't take long before you had people from Alger Heights/Garfield Park riding into downtown (and that is a pretty large neighborhood), as well as folks riding south to visit the business district/Kroc Center/International Mall (if that goes in). I think that if BRT is really done right, that might have the same effect. I understand though, that at higher ridership volumes, BRT rapidly becomes less cost effective than light rail? Does anyone else know more about that?
  7. I really wonder if the BRT on Division would gain anything. Buses already run up and down Division, so I doubt that a BRT would make any difference. I was reading an article about Cincinnati's streetcar line, where the idea is to link the downtown with the (disadvantaged) Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Quote: "The project team includes Charles Hales, the "father" of the highly successful streetcar system in Portland, Ore., who's now a principal with HDR's Portland office. The Portland system has spurred billions of dollars of economic development over the last five years, most of which is within a block or so of the streetcar line." It seems to me that Division is one of the most obvious areas that is in need of redevelopment, and that the North Monroe area is doing pretty good currently. To quote the same article: Architect Denny Dellinger, owner of the former Jackson Brewery building and a founder of the Brewery District community development organization in Over-the-Rhine, said his group supports a streetcar line because of its ability to stimulate economic development. "Developers aren't going to build a new development on a bus line, but they will along a streetcar line," he said. The rail in the ground makes all the difference. "That's a permanent, significant improvement that's not going to move," he said. "I think it would just change things overnight. I really do." Finally, I think if we're going to commit to a street car system, we ought to do so with the idea of expanding it over time, rather than making it a one off. Perhaps first up and down Division, and then Wealthy to Eastown, then to John Ball Park Zoo, then to Creston, etc.... Once upon a time, Grand Rapids supported a streetcar system with less density than we have now. It seems like we could really make such a system work. City Studies Streetcar System (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  8. The problem with naturalizing the river through downtown is that the river has been artificially narrowed, which makes the current deeper and stronger than elsewhere. It'd be quite a trick to remove the retaining walls, and then any fill to make new banks would be at risk of erosion due to an even stronger current caused by more narrowing. I think the key is to acknowledge that we can't get that back, do the best with what we have, and to protect the parts of the river that are still "natural." That being said, it seems like we are only just beginning to realize what an asset our river is - I'd love to see a more extensive riverside biking/running trail.
  9. Ah, but who's counting? Here's a fun tidbit to make up for that. I had dinner with someone who is involved in the project, and he said that the building was originally constructed with cast iron or wooden support beams, but at the turn of the century they replaced the wooden or cast iron supports with rolled iron. No one is sure why, but it was probably quite a job.
  10. I know that the facade is being restored to a more historical look.
  11. I love that building. I know Mr. Fox, and he has just been sick about watching it go downhill. Hopefully, they make it wonderful.
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