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      WARNING!   07/26/16

      By reading or participating in the Coffee House forum, you are acknowledging that some topics may be highly controversial in nature. While we make every attempt to ensure that no one and no groups are offended as a result of discussions contained within, we unfortunately can make no guarantees. Participate in threads contained within this forum at your own risk.
asthasr

Learning from Other Places

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I don't disagree, circles do make big intersections feel less onerous to drivers. However, a downside is roundabouts are bad for pedestrians and bikes. They inevitably make longer walks for pedestrians and it can be dangerous to jaywalk if you don't have decent visibilty of the adjacent entry lane.  For bikers its inevitable that cars will turn on top of you if you are travelling through more than one segment of the circle. 

As a daily ped in London I get the feeling that circles finction as reverse traffic calming -- cars behave at their worst in and around circles (they speed up and are much less likely to yield to people or bikes since no one wants to 'break the flow' of the circle).

Edited by kermit

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Agreed. Pedestrian friendliness is not one of the benefits of traffic circles -- although I do wonder how a pedestrian bridge or underpass to cross them would compare to the amount saved on other infrastructure, if they're built in a pedestrian area. The best ones are not in pedestrian-friendly areas at all.

This drone video has some interesting shots of traffic circles in Vietnam, which are in pedestrian areas, and which are decidedly pedestrian unfriendly:

 

Edited by asthasr
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Driving in Asia is more akin to traveling in a school of fish....lanes, stop signs, etc are all optional. Also, there are very high rates on injury/death for the moped riders - not uncommon to see a family of 5 on a single moped.

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I was almost run over on the SIDEWALK in Dongguan China and was glad to get back to Hong Kong where traffic is more orderly. A Russian friend of my brother commented on how orderly traffic was on I-85 during rush hour. 

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Miami's and Florida's highest building tops out yet even at 85 stories it is shorter than Bank of America Corporate Center by couple of feet. Mostly residential. http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2017/04/13/at-85-storiesfloridas-tallest-tower-tops-off-in.html It tops out at 868 feet according to wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Miami

 

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Prices on par or even slightly lower than the museum tower, and smaller floorplans, the one bedrooms anyway, interesting.

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Just back from a couple of days in Nashville. In many ways that city is like ours with some notable exceptions. They are building everywhere and at least 15 cranes downtown more than Charlotte. Many are hotels or apartments. 3 office towers going up but their scale of projects is not as large as ours. For example the tallest building in TN and Nashville would rank #4 on our tallest buildings if it is were in Charlotte and #5 after the Linoln Harris tower is completed. Our office buildings are bigger with more square footage given our financial firms uptown. However since their city is a bigger convention center and tourism hotspot they have many more hotels and larger ones than we do downtown and building even more! The Broadway strip which is the traditional heart of the city's entertainment district with all the bars, restaurants and yes honky tonks. It is a low rise gap in their skyline with taller buildings up hill toward the state capital and below it in the newer high rise area SoBro where Bridgestone Tire is building a 30 story building. Apartments are going up in every direction of Nashville most intown like Charlotte. 

But the notable difference is transportation. There is no light rail and they only this year picked the first corridor whereas Charlotte will soon have about 20 miles of light rail hopefully later this  year or early next.  They have 3 interstates that converge on downtown and with their unique splits the traffic volume even during in the middle of day is overloaded and with stop and go traffic. Part of this is the design of these splits where highways split off and on multiple times. Their traffic is more Atlanta like than Charlotte's in my opinion. I noticed many areas intown with sidewalks much less bike paths. It feels and looks a lot more congested than Charlotte. Like or not the extra toll lanes up 77 north will help our situation.  Their 440 beltway is too close to the center city to really help as a bypass and I-840 is like 40 plus out from downtown. 

I also think our landscaping is lot better and of course this comes through zoning. Uptown Charlotte has a lot more trees and pocket parks too. Here are a couple of shots I took. 

1. urban core with the bat building aka AT&TBuilding tallest in town 2. SoBro towers 2 office towers high rise residential between 3. from the Titans stadium across the river of the urban core 4. view from a hill south of downtown (the rolling hills are beautiful in Nashville)  5. new Marriott hotel 6. new Cambria suites hotel one of at least 5-6 going up downtown and the rubble next door to that new hotel is yet another new hotel going up I think an Embassy Suites. 

Nashville beats Charlotte in conventions night life live music spots and hotels for sure. But our skyline is taller and we have much more office space. And if I was an economic recruiter for Charlotte I would just keeping point out our airport, light rail and yes even our highways. 

 

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Edited by KJHburg
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Definitely nice, and a little envious given that it is a smaller city and metro, and has a river, but, whats the lesson to be learned here?  Build a river through CLT?  ;-)

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Great flood in Nashville (and elsewhere) in summer of 2010. Large parts of downtown underwater, interstate through town closed, major disaster. Fine amenity, but sometimes...

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Lesson I learned from Nashville.  Keep building all forms of transportation light rail, more highways and roads, more sidewalks and bike paths for the congestion is getting unbearable in Nashville. . If your city is growing as fast as Charlotte or Nashville you have to try to at least keep up and Nashville is way behind on the transit part of that. Keep what history you do have and I think Charlotte is doing that now unfortunately it was not done much before. 

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And it has Vanderbilt, which appears to be a beautiful urban, and dense, university, our Johnson and Wales could do that provided it could steal some acreage, and demolish a few things "in the way", or jump over the tracks and take some surface lots there in uptown.  Not sure how wildly unfeasible it would be to bury the tracks from 277 to around 8th..

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11 hours ago, nowensone said:

And it has Vanderbilt, which appears to be a beautiful urban, and dense, university, our Johnson and Wales could do that provided it could steal some acreage, and demolish a few things "in the way", or jump over the tracks and take some surface lots there in uptown.  Not sure how wildly unfeasible it would be to bury the tracks from 277 to around 8th..

It's dense, but West End Avenue is shockingly suburban in feel

OK so here's my $.02 on Nashville having lived there from 1996-2002 and often back in that area since: Nashville, like many southern cities, has long had a mantra of "don't be Atlanta." Unlike many southern cities, though, the state has done nothing but encourage every single thing possible to become Atlanta. For years, I have thought Nashville's traffic easily rivals some of the worst trafficked cities in the country, and recent statistics are starting to bear that out with them rising further and further in the ranks. Davidson County and Mecklenburg are very comparable in terms of municipal geography and size, and yet they achieve far more horrendous traffic with about 375,000 less in population.

Nashville does have some crazy rich cultural heritage that any other city would kill for, and they've done some wonderful things with it. Downtown Nashville has some really nice urbanity (Printer's Alley, for example) and some great civic features (Bicentennial mall, for example). But every time I'm there I get frustrated with this nagging feeling that some of their assets are being squandered or neglected - by now most cities would have undertaken major road diet/pedestrian improvements on Broadway, or at least planted a damn tree.

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9 hours ago, tozmervo said:

It's dense, but West End Avenue is shockingly suburban in feel

OK so here's my $.02 on Nashville having lived there from 1996-2002 and often back in that area since: Nashville, like many southern cities, has long had a mantra of "don't be Atlanta." Unlike many southern cities, though, the state has done nothing but encourage every single thing possible to become Atlanta. For years, I have thought Nashville's traffic easily rivals some of the worst trafficked cities in the country, and recent statistics are starting to bear that out with them rising further and further in the ranks. Davidson County and Mecklenburg are very comparable in terms of municipal geography and size, and yet they achieve far more horrendous traffic with about 375,000 less in population.

Nashville does have some crazy rich cultural heritage that any other city would kill for, and they've done some wonderful things with it. Downtown Nashville has some really nice urbanity (Printer's Alley, for example) and some great civic features (Bicentennial mall, for example). But every time I'm there I get frustrated with this nagging feeling that some of their assets are being squandered or neglected - by now most cities would have undertaken major road diet/pedestrian improvements on Broadway, or at least planted a damn tree.

I agree completely. The one thing I did NOT see being built were new roads, new transit etc. As I said if I were the Charlotte Chamber I would sell Charlotte's ease of access believe it or not. Like them or not, 77 north is being widening, 485 in south charlotte will start their toll lanes soon and of course our new delayed light rail extension. The traffic reminds me of Austin and that is not a good comparison. 

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Denver recently eliminated a car lane on a 4 lane arterial out of downtown and replaced it with a bike lane. The end result was car commuters drive time increased by 9 seconds over the 2.5 mile stretch.

"Asked about the conflicts between neighborhood interests and maintaining a car-friendly route out of the city, Denver City Councilman Jolon Clark, who represents south Broadway neighborhoods, put it this way: “If we do nothing, it’s going to get clogged out to the point that nobody can use it. If we do something, we may cause a different clog-out date for cars. But we’ve now created options — versus just being clogged-out and having no options.”

seems like a very reasonable change.

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/08/denver-commute-broadway-bikeway/

Edited by kermit
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Toronto is discussing a prohibition on NIMBY protests for any area within 500m of a transit station. Its seems to be a pretty reasonable step to protect substantial investments in transit. While this hasn't really been a problem for us yet, its only because no developer has bothered with anything remotely high density outside of UpSoEnd. Protests would have been crazy if the red line had gotten built. Its a nice policy since it might give developers some significant incentives to back transit.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/omb-challenges-to-be-barred-within-500-metres-of-transit-stations/article34979676/

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Granted, personal perception only, but Nashville has a buzz that Charlotte lacks. Perhaps this is because of the tourist element and the celebrity attached to the city. It is like Los Angeles in that regard.

Yes, the skyline lacks the grandiosity of Charlotte, but the new buildings are more interesting. And Nashville's convention center is a wonder.

True, Nashville is behind Charlotte on mass-transit. On the other hand, in my experience, traffic is much more manageable in Nashville. Road conditions in Nashville are scruffier, but not by much.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Dale said:

Granted, personal perception only, but Nashville has a buzz that Charlotte lacks. Perhaps this is because of the tourist element and the celebrity attached to the city. It is like Los Angeles in that regard.

Yes, the skyline lacks the grandiosity of Charlotte, but the new buildings are more interesting. And Nashville's convention center is a wonder.

True, Nashville is behind Charlotte on mass-transit. On the other hand, in my experience, traffic is much more manageable in Nashville. Road conditions in Nashville are scruffier, but not by much.

I like Nashville too, particularly its inventory of Victorian era buildings and very interesting public spaces in the center (the pedestrian bridge is fantastic). I also love the Batman building but I have the architectural tastes of an 8 year old. My experience with Nashville traffic outside downtown has always been Atlanta-esque however.

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Traffic just outside of downtown is a mess most of the day and at Rush hour dead stop.

 

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A while back we had a discussion about fire safety in our new "stick built" apartment buildings. This morning, a horrific fire in the Grenfell Tower, in London, reminded me of the topic. Further reading led me to find related discussions about flammable cladding being used in Melbourne and Dubai. Most examples that other places set are in terms of architecture, urban design, or infrastructure. This is not. We need to make sure that local inspectors and builders feel some political pressure to make sure that similar issues don't arise here.

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On 5/13/2017 at 8:10 AM, Dale said:

Granted, personal perception only, but Nashville has a buzz that Charlotte lacks. Perhaps this is because of the tourist element and the celebrity attached to the city. It is like Los Angeles in that regard.

Yes, the skyline lacks the grandiosity of Charlotte, but the new buildings are more interesting. And Nashville's convention center is a wonder.

True, Nashville is behind Charlotte on mass-transit. On the other hand, in my experience, traffic is much more manageable in Nashville. Road conditions in Nashville are scruffier, but not by much.

 

 

Nashville looked incredible during the Stanley Cup Finals.  What a wonderful showcase for the city.  I found myself struggling to imagine Charlotte in the same light. 

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Nothing to learn for Charlotte here unless you want huge apartment blocks like these that are common over Hong Kong and China. My brother arrived back to Hong Kong this morning here are some shots he took. 1st photo This is a Hong Kong suburb of Tung Chung near the airport. About 35 minutes via high speed train from Central HK. These are 40-50 story apartment towers. You don't know density until you go to Asia. 2nd photo is from Shenzen on the way to his apartment. 

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Edited by KJHburg
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I am really grieving for what is happening in Houston with this  terrible flooding. I love that city and it is my #2 go to city in Texas after San Antonio. Please help reputable charities if you can. I have friends there and have always loved it. 

What we can learn from Houston? A lot I would tell you . all these photos from my March 2017 trip there. Because of lack zoning they have a great deal of intown  housing with very innovative  designs. There you see apartment complexes with all kinds of looks unlike the one style in Charlotte.  Even without zoning most of the city looks like any zoned city in US with a few exceptions. Most of their neighborhoods are huge PUDs planned unit developments which of course is a private zoning really. The Woodlands and SugarLand are some of the best suburbs in the  nation. Intown neighborhoods like the Heights are like NoDa Plaza Midwood on steriods, EaDo which is east downtown is up and coming too. 

Their new 1000 room Marriott Marquis downtown is wonderful (and it had heavy subsidies to build it) Wonderful outside space on the pool deck with a Texas shaped lazy river. We could do the same for our state. 

Their arts and cultural centers are wonderful and plentiful. Their Natural History museum is of Smithsonian quality. They have many many museums.

Their high rises are like ours good bad and the ugly they have some tall beautiful buildings. 

Huge skateboard park along the Buffalo Bayou (sure it is underwater now but it will surface again) 

Huge freeway system but the 2nd largest HOV lane system in the country and lots of bus rapid transit. A growing light rail system too. 

Anyway here are some photos of Houston of what it was and will be again soon. 

Houston I will be soon and  your Tex Mex and all your restaurants are great! Yes it sprawls out for miles and miles but intown living is making a huge comeback in the city. Buffalo Bayou is the muddy looking river in the photos.

 

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Here's some interesting intown housing in Houston. They use a lot of metal there which is cool. Most of these are single family homes on townhome lots. Of course they have the beer can house and I have been by it but not on this March trip. 

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