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vdogg

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With avenues running parallel on either side and such a great concentration of restaurants, I would think Granby would be an ideal street for conversion to pedestrian plaza (from City Hall to Charlotte).  Perhaps retain crossings at E Freemason and Tazewell like Charlottesville's  downtown mall.  Would there even be a need to replace the lost parking with those giant, likely under-utilized, mall parking decks and Tide access at both ends?

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I like the idea of City Hall to Charlotte Streets being closed off. When I go downtown on a Friday or Saturday night (pre-COVID, obviously), everyone parks in the garages, and you may luck out and find something on the street. So the couple dozen spaces being sacrificed aren't going to hurt that much. 

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13 hours ago, Icetera said:

With avenues running parallel on either side and such a great concentration of restaurants, I would think Granby would be an ideal street for conversion to pedestrian plaza (from City Hall to Charlotte).  Perhaps retain crossings at E Freemason and Tazewell like Charlottesville's  downtown mall.  Would there even be a need to replace the lost parking with those giant, likely under-utilized, mall parking decks and Tide access at both ends?

That would be cool but closing down Granby to create a pedestrian plaza killed downtown Norfolk once before.

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5 hours ago, ONCE1stBlvd said:

IDK

I'm torn. Mainly because although Granby is major in terms of what it offers, it instantly becomes not so necessary to drive on once you cross Brambleton towards Main. I mean, really think about it;  How absolutely required is driving down Granby, considering it completely ends in a T at Main, another street that doesn't really get you to any other parts of downtown?  Yo!  I just realized the speed limit is like 15 or 20 mph...c'mon...you really needing horse power down there?  I man literally a horse makes more sense on Granby than a car(Side note:  how dope would it have been of Granby was closed but the train went down THAT street instead of Monticello?)  

It's ironic how the two most historic streets in downtown Norfolk are also low-key the most unnecessary for auto access. Seriously!  When was the last time you HAD to drive on Granby south of Brambleton?  And Main for that matter?

I say close Granby between City Hall and Brambleton and again between City Hall and Main.    Basically keep City Hall open. 

Redirecting the Tide down Granby would be amazing (ex: Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, VIC).  Opening up more traffic to Monticello would be nice but it looks like redirecting would be costly, especially with the modifications needed for the currently tighter turns onto Granby at either end.

I would disagree on closing South of City Hall as you lose the parallel Monticello as a second alternative.  Looks like the circulation in that area would be needed as well.  There also looks to be less benefit for a pedestrian experience there with the block sized buildings. 

8 hours ago, Virginia City said:

That would be cool but closing down Granby to create a pedestrian plaza killed downtown Norfolk once before.

Did it really kill downtown or was downtown already dying and they thought this would save it and of course it did not?  Richmond went through a similar phase with the infamous 6th Street Marketplace that everyone brings up anytime the city tries to do anything (ignoring the 180 the city has done since then).  Was Granby Street full of activity in the late 70's like it is now?

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I wasn’t born until 1982, but from the accounts I’ve read, Granby died in the late-60s, like many downtowns. Every pic I’ve seen from the 70s-90s looked like a ghost town after sunset, even with Waterside.  From what I remember, things didn’t pick up until the early-to-mid-2000s. 

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I moved to Virginia Beach in 1985.  I recall going to Granby Mall occasionally on my lunch hour.  Even in the middle of the day, it was like a ghost town.  One of the reasons for the failure of Granby Mall was that, while they built an attractive pedestrian space, the improvements stopped at the threshold of the business there.  They upgraded the mall, but they did not upgrade the businesses along the mall.  It seemed like every other business along Granby Mall was a seedy bookstore.  Walking the mall felt creepy (and lonely.  No one else was there.)  The department stores along the mall - Smith & Welton (now TCC Martin Building), Woolworth's (now TCC Stanley Walker Building),  and Rices Nachman's (now Norfolk Utilities) - all withered away for lack of auto traffic.   Keep in mind, there was not a lot of reason to go downtown if you did not want to go to Granby Mall.  There was no TCC, no MacArthur Mall (it was just a vacant 17-acre parking lot), and the Hilton and Mariott weren't built yet either.  On the other hand. Waterside had decent activity during the day, and a lot of activity in the evenings, especially in the summer.

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2 hours ago, Icetera said:

Redirecting the Tide down Granby would be amazing (ex: Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, VIC).  Opening up more traffic to Monticello would be nice but it looks like redirecting would be costly, especially with the modifications needed for the currently tighter turns onto Granby at either end.

I would disagree on closing South of City Hall as you lose the parallel Monticello as a second alternative.  Looks like the circulation in that area would be needed as well.  There also looks to be less benefit for a pedestrian experience there with the block sized buildings. 

Did it really kill downtown or was downtown already dying and they thought this would save it and of course it did not?  Richmond went through a similar phase with the infamous 6th Street Marketplace that everyone brings up anytime the city tries to do anything (ignoring the 180 the city has done since then).  Was Granby Street full of activity in the late 70's like it is now?

Granby St. in the late 70s was  a dangerous place that was devoid of people past 5:00 M-F.  There were Prostitutes and couple of lounges and gay bars at the south end of Granby.  Sailors Row was the name of buildings that now comprise the Main on Granby.  The bars on that block still catered to sailors and Prostitutes.  No the city of today is light years from the city of the late 70s.  Granby is very active today and so clean and nice.  

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16 minutes ago, virginia pe said:

I moved to Virginia Beach in 1985.  I recall going to Granby Mall occasionally on my lunch hour.  Even in the middle of the day, it was like a ghost town.  One of the reasons for the failure of Granby Mall was that, while they built an attractive pedestrian space, the improvements stopped at the threshold of the business there.  They upgraded the mall, but they did not upgrade the businesses along the mall.  It seemed like every other business along Granby Mall was a seedy bookstore.  Walking the mall felt creepy (and lonely.  No one else was there.)  The department stores along the mall - Smith & Welton (now TCC Martin Building), Woolworth's (now TCC Stanley Walker Building),  and Rices Nachman's (now Norfolk Utilities) - all withered away for lack of auto traffic.   Keep in mind, there was not a lot of reason to go downtown if you did not want to go to Granby Mall.  There was no TCC, no MacArthur Mall (it was just a vacant 17-acre parking lot), and the Hilton and Mariott weren't built yet either.  On the other hand. Waterside had decent activity during the day, and a lot of activity in the evenings, especially in the summer.

Do you remember bootsy Goldstein's Novelties and books on Granby?  For most boys growing up in Tidewater/Norfolk Goldstein's Novelties and books was our first peek at real porn.  He was murdered and the murder as far as I know was unsolved.  I remember rumors at the time the city was behind the murder because they wanted Bootsy off of Granby, but he would not sell his business.   A little bit of Norfolk folklore.  

2 hours ago, BFG said:

I wasn’t born until 1982, but from the accounts I’ve read, Granby died in the late-60s, like many downtowns. Every pic I’ve seen from the 70s-90s looked like a ghost town after sunset, even with Waterside.  From what I remember, things didn’t pick up until the early-to-mid-2000s. 

True it was dead after 5pm on workdays, but the city filled up for Virginia Squires games and for Harborfest.  There was also the CIAA Tournament that brought in a lot of people in the late 70s and early 80s.  

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So, haven't had to do this in a while, but I think it's time to familiarize everyone with the site rules. This is an urban development forum, that's the sole purpose for our being. If you are looking for a place to have continuous political discussions, there are other sites where that can be done. If I'm being honest, I let this go far longer than I was supposed to, but it's time to get things back on track. Below is a link to the site policy and community guidelines.

https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/guidelines/

I would like to call particular attention to this section:.

While posts that are political in nature are not disallowed, it is up to the moderator of the forum to decide when, and if, a discussion that is political in nature has gotten out of hand. Further discussion after being requested to halt political discussions in the thread may result in a warning, suspension, or a permanent ban.

Let's please respect the intention of the site owner in the creation of this forum and keep this an enjoyable place for everyone.

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5 hours ago, lammius said:

Interesting and optimistic study of 20th century pedestrian malls.  About 1/3 of them still exist.  What are the secret ingredients for successful pedestrian malls vs those that failed?  

 

 

I go back and forth on this. The video makes a great case for it, and some of the posters have opened my eyes to the possibility. And yet, I still can't make up my mind one way or another. I think MacArthur being broken into a grid could work, or a section of the NEON District, not directly on Granby. In fact, the NEON District may be the perfect place to experiment and create some more business.

I honestly don't know. Downtown was built so haphazardly, it seems.

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44 minutes ago, Virginia City said:

I don't think McArthur lives to see 2030 and will become the pedestrian plaza that we are talking about. No need to close down a street that doesn't need to be closed. 

I was just talking to my wife about this, I think we are going to see a number of malls go under in the coming years, especially after we see them lose a number of their anchor department stores. It would make sense to cut the building in half with an outdoor pedestrian corridor and tear down the department stores for redevelopment. I would imagine seeing residential towers going up in their places. It would also be nice to see the smaller garage on the northern side come down for redevelopment. But in the end, I think it would be good to see the McAthur Mall be integrated back into the city street grid while still being a retail center.

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With the Open Norfolk program taking away a significant amount of parallel parking, business owners will hopefully see that the on street parking they cherish so much is not necessary to their survival. 

McCarthur could be a better option for a pedestrian experience, although both would be nice. It seems like the city is more open to recommendations from these architectural and planning firms like WPA nowadays, although I know politics will always get in the way. They seem to have a good and deep working relationship. So hopefully the city planners and leaders would listen and follow through on a bold plan for McCarthur like the one drawn up by WPA for 2030 plan. 

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21 hours ago, EJ_LEWIS said:

Norfolk and Virginia Beach's CVBs have joined forces to promote both cities.  I love to see the state's largest and second largest cities that are joined at the hip cooperating with each other for a change. 

https://visitnorfolkvabeach.com/?fbclid=IwAR0HeZcD9QH7HPvJ7u_YECsNTArD5dT_p8AQf6Z92dQ4bTyQDLcCA7FyF_4

Wow, progress. Baby steps. This is good.

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