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motonenterprises

Downtown Greenville Location

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If you ride around downtown often or look at a map, you'll notice that downtown doesn't seem like it's in the middle of the urban area or city. It almost feels like it's on the edge. For instance, riding through from Easley on Hwy 123; the urban area just feels different when you hit the edge of downtown. From there and going south just has a different urban feel to it. Nicer, newer; and more developed. It feels this way the whole ride going down 385 continuously.

This got me to thinking. Are most cities built this way, where downtown doesn't really feel like the middle; or this unique to Greenville? Downtown feels like it's on the edge to me.:tw_confused:

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You're correct in your observation.  I think most of it has to do with the interstate layout. Development followed 85 and 385, and over time pulled development and projects away from the older downtown sections. There are no interstates on the northern parts of town, or going northwest from downtown so those areas never develped with the same vigor. Imagine if I-26 had been built through Greenville!

Edited by distortedlogic
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21 hours ago, distortedlogic said:

You're correct in your observation.  I think most of it has to do with the interstate layout. Development followed 85 and 385, and over time pulled development and projects away from the older downtown sections. There are no interstates on the northern parts of town, or going northwest from downtown so those areas never develped with the same vigor. Imagine if I-26 had been built through Greenville!

These are interesting points.

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27 minutes ago, apaladin said:

I believe there is/was a new proposal of an interstate that would go through Greenville. Probably shelved by now. 

I remember some speculation about 15 years ago about US-25 possibly being converted to an Interstate but that's probably in the fiction section.

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9 hours ago, apaladin said:

I believe there is/was a new proposal of an interstate that would go through Greenville. Probably shelved by now. 

There was originally suppose to be a Savannah-Augusta-Greenville-Chattanooga interstate that would follow the river up.

However, it was low on the priority list. With 4 lakes, numerous wildlife statuaries, and the nuclear site in between, mountains,

the low benefit of return, and interstates already the scourge of the land, it never got done.

And thankfully it didn't!

9 hours ago, distortedlogic said:

I remember some speculation about 15 years ago about US-25 possibly being converted to an Interstate but that's probably in the fiction section.

They would have used US-25 in part for the interstate I referenced above. 

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There was a proposal in the 1970's to build a freeway loop around the north and west side of downtown connecting I-385 to I-185, with another spur running north up along the Reedy River.  It would have blazed a multi-lane highway and interchange ramps right through existing neighborhoods along Stone Ave, Hampton-Pinckney, and the West End.  Thankfully this mess was never built.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Uok2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP19&lpg=PP19&dq=greenville+gantt+freeway&source=bl&ots=58idvi-sfu&sig=ACfU3U1s37lWAPNluMLRAHAJjNvNXf6FEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjN46iFiOboAhWsiOAKHdG1AMsQ6AEwA3oECAkQLQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Charlotte's the same way. The entire eastern side of the city is relatively undeveloped, which you can see by driving 485 from University City (roughly where 485 crosses 85 NE of the city) to all the way down to Matthews (1 o'clock to 5 o'clock). You'd think you were out in the sticks. Well, you really kind of are out in the sticks.

And it's gotta be substantially because there's no major roads, much less freeways, that lead out there.

Edited by Exile
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On 4/13/2020 at 3:31 PM, sc smitty said:

There was a proposal in the 1970's to build a freeway loop around the north and west side of downtown connecting I-385 to I-185, with another spur running north up along the Reedy River.  It would have blazed a multi-lane highway and interchange ramps right through existing neighborhoods along Stone Ave, Hampton-Pinckney, and the West End.  Thankfully this mess was never built.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Uok2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP19&lpg=PP19&dq=greenville+gantt+freeway&source=bl&ots=58idvi-sfu&sig=ACfU3U1s37lWAPNluMLRAHAJjNvNXf6FEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjN46iFiOboAhWsiOAKHdG1AMsQ6AEwA3oECAkQLQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

When I was young, I really wanted the Downtown Loop to get built, because I thought it would be cool to have lots of cars whizzing by DT Greenville, like in ATL, STL, and other big cities I had been to back in the day. I especially wanted at least a part of it to be elevated, which I also thought was cool and big-city.

It didn't take much aging, though, to disabuse me of that folly.

It's hard to communicate how glad I am that they didn't build that thing, which really would have been nothing more than a show of vanity, a speculative money pit, and a destroyer of neighborhoods. Even today, in no sense is something like that needed, much less back then. And it would have made the current character of DT impossible.

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5 hours ago, Exile said:

When I was young, I really wanted the Downtown Loop to get built, because I thought it would be cool to have lots of cars whizzing by DT Greenville, like in ATL, STL, and other big cities I had been to back in the day. I especially wanted at least a part of it to be elevated, which I also thought was cool and big-city.

It didn't take much aging, though, to disabuse me of that folly.

It's hard to communicate how glad I am that they didn't build that thing, which really would have been nothing more than a show of vanity, a speculative money pit, and a destroyer of neighborhoods. Even today, in no sense is something like that needed, much less back then. And it would have made the current character of DT impossible.

Interesting take. Why do you believe it would've ruined the character of downtown? I mean it wasn't going to go right through the middle of downtown was it? Do you think it has hurt the character of other cities? Like Charlotte as you mentioned or Atlanta? I think it has character, just different character.

I personally would at least like to be able to see the skyline as you're riding through the area. For me that signifies that I've reached a city of some size. I guess the stuff going up on 85 symbolizes that a little, but not like what I'm describing here.

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1 hour ago, motonenterprises said:

Interesting take. Why do you believe it would've ruined the character of downtown? I mean it wasn't going to go right through the middle of downtown was it? Do you think it has hurt the character of other cities? Like Charlotte as you mentioned or Atlanta? I think it has character, just different character.

I personally would at least like to be able to see the skyline as you're riding through the area. For me that signifies that I've reached a city of some size. I guess the stuff going up on 85 symbolizes that a little, but not like what I'm describing here.

Yes- Atlanta has been negatively affected by its urban interstates. 

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1 hour ago, motonenterprises said:

Interesting take. Why do you believe it would've ruined the character of downtown? I mean it wasn't going to go right through the middle of downtown was it? Do you think it has hurt the character of other cities? Like Charlotte as you mentioned or Atlanta? I think it has character, just different character.

I personally would at least like to be able to see the skyline as you're riding through the area. For me that signifies that I've reached a city of some size. I guess the stuff going up on 85 symbolizes that a little, but not like what I'm describing here.

I'm thinking of downtown a little more expansively than the area bounded by Church, Academy, and River + Falls Park. I wasn't clear about that, and so fwiw, DT and its immediate neighbors: West End, future Unity Park, Hampton-Pinckney, etc. Areas that are urban or urban enough, and realistically walkable from DT.

I can't speak to ATL, but living up here near CLT for a few years, I've become aware of a lot of regret over lack of preservation in the uptown area. I-77 bisects an old cemetery--I don't know the history there, but mass digging up of graves doesn't inspire confidence that the city's leaders were properly balancing progress (however you want to define that word) with respect for what was actually there then.

The maps in the link scsmitty provided indicate that the freeway would have destroyed the area between Stone and Park; would have more or less followed Mulberry St. (What would that have done to Hampton-Pinckney? What effect on Heritage Green?); would make Unity Park a feature of some alternative reality; would cut inside the Pendleton-Academy intersection, destroying that neighborhood; I guess skirt St. Francis ( in that day St. Francis was still in an old, outdated facility--would they have been able to build what they have now?); and then after churning up more residential areas, merged with 185, though that's not portrayed clearly in the maps included in the document.

But beyond that, a freeway would have created a barrier that would have essentially cut off areas north and west of downtown, created a lot of noise, and in general severely hampered--maybe even ruined--the aesthetic appeal of adjacent areas that weren't mowed under.

The way it's set up right now, DT Greenville is a destination. I really hope that never changes. Which means I hope Greenville never becomes a boom town (steady, significant growth: yes). But even if Greenville were to boom, DC can be a model. It's got a similar situation internally: like Greenville's 385, 395 makes it into the District, there are a couple others that skirt it, and otherwise, there's really nothing.

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3 hours ago, GvilleSC said:

Yes- Atlanta has been negatively affected by its urban interstates. 

Well. I guess it depends on who you ask. I mean, it is a big city. Some folks like the setup.

3 hours ago, Exile said:

I'm thinking of downtown a little more expansively than the area bounded by Church, Academy, and River + Falls Park. I wasn't clear about that, and so fwiw, DT and its immediate neighbors: West End, future Unity Park, Hampton-Pinckney, etc. Areas that are urban or urban enough, and realistically walkable from DT.

I can't speak to ATL, but living up here near CLT for a few years, I've become aware of a lot of regret over lack of preservation in the uptown area. I-77 bisects an old cemetery--I don't know the history there, but mass digging up of graves doesn't inspire confidence that the city's leaders were properly balancing progress (however you want to define that word) with respect for what was actually there then.

The maps in the link scsmitty provided indicate that the freeway would have destroyed the area between Stone and Park; would have more or less followed Mulberry St. (What would that have done to Hampton-Pinckney? What effect on Heritage Green?); would make Unity Park a feature of some alternative reality; would cut inside the Pendleton-Academy intersection, destroying that neighborhood; I guess skirt St. Francis ( in that day St. Francis was still in an old, outdated facility--would they have been able to build what they have now?); and then after churning up more residential areas, merged with 185, though that's not portrayed clearly in the maps included in the document.

But beyond that, a freeway would have created a barrier that would have essentially cut off areas north and west of downtown, created a lot of noise, and in general severely hampered--maybe even ruined--the aesthetic appeal of adjacent areas that weren't mowed under.

The way it's set up right now, DT Greenville is a destination. I really hope that never changes. Which means I hope Greenville never becomes a boom town (steady, significant growth: yes). But even if Greenville were to boom, DC can be a model. It's got a similar situation internally: like Greenville's 385, 395 makes it into the District, there are a couple others that skirt it, and otherwise, there's really nothing.

Interesting post. I wouldn't mind a loop though. It can go around the city without effecting downtown if they wanted it to. Would help with access to the northern part of the county.

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1 hour ago, motonenterprises said:

Well. I guess it depends on who you ask. I mean, it is a big city. Some folks like the setup.

Look at the historical maps of Atlanta pre-interstate. It's  obscene how many neighborhoods were completely destroyed, and how many became effectively cut off from downtown and business.  That affected lives in many ways, not to mention the health impacts of pollution and Atlanta's subsequent sprawling development. Of course, the areas affected were largely African American communities.

You can also look back at the struggles Atlanta has faced in trying to remedy these problems. It's an on-going battle that costs the city/state/nation millions of dollars in funding. Unfortunately, it's slow and not always successful. How do you fully heal a divide that is 15+ lanes wide, not shaded, and in an oppressively hot location? Yes, you can get amazing views of tall buildings driving through Atlanta. Sadly,  nobody talks about the amazing views you have of Atlanta while walking through it.

Edited by GvilleSC
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11 hours ago, GvilleSC said:

Look at the historical maps of Atlanta pre-interstate. It's  obscene how many neighborhoods were completely destroyed, and how many became effectively cut off from downtown and business.  That affected lives in many ways, not to mention the health impacts of pollution and Atlanta's subsequent sprawling development. Of course, the areas affected were largely African American communities.

You can also look back at the struggles Atlanta has faced in trying to remedy these problems. It's an on-going battle that costs the city/state/nation millions of dollars in funding. Unfortunately, it's slow and not always successful. How do you fully heal a divide that is 15+ lanes wide, not shaded, and in an oppressively hot location? Yes, you can get amazing views of tall buildings driving through Atlanta. Sadly,  nobody talks about the amazing views you have of Atlanta while walking through it.

All very good points.

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11 hours ago, GvilleSC said:

Look at the historical maps of Atlanta pre-interstate. It's  obscene how many neighborhoods were completely destroyed, and how many became effectively cut off from downtown and business.  That affected lives in many ways, not to mention the health impacts of pollution and Atlanta's subsequent sprawling development. Of course, the areas affected were largely African American communities.

You can also look back at the struggles Atlanta has faced in trying to remedy these problems. It's an on-going battle that costs the city/state/nation millions of dollars in funding. Unfortunately, it's slow and not always successful. How do you fully heal a divide that is 15+ lanes wide, not shaded, and in an oppressively hot location? Yes, you can get amazing views of tall buildings driving through Atlanta. Sadly,  nobody talks about the amazing views you have of Atlanta while walking through it.

Sounds more like just a big city issue to me. Most big cities are that way that I've been to. Except for maybe DC.

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19 hours ago, motonenterprises said:

Interesting take. Why do you believe it would've ruined the character of downtown? I mean it wasn't going to go right through the middle of downtown was it? Do you think it has hurt the character of other cities? Like Charlotte as you mentioned or Atlanta? I think it has character, just different character.

I personally would at least like to be able to see the skyline as you're riding through the area. For me that signifies that I've reached a city of some size. I guess the stuff going up on 85 symbolizes that a little, but not like what I'm describing here.

There probably was a day when Poinsett Hwy could have been upgraded--to connect with the upgrade to 25 that NC long ago completed--in a way that it terminated just outside DT, without much, if any, destruction of residential areas. Just old industrial and retail buildings. That area's been blighted for a long time. But that day seems to have long passed.

If they had done it, the terminus would have had to be Rutherford Road. I just can't see cutting off James and Earle Streets from each other, much less tearing down any of those houses for any purpose. And the eminent domain that you'd have to invoke to get it done--that wouldn't be a battle; it would be a war. Multiple fronts.

There's just too much good stuff all around downtown--I can't see any way to make a connected thru-way that would justify the costs (not in terms of $$). And 185 is a lost cause. What might we agree to destroy to bring that all the way downtown?

Not arguing. Just thinking outside the box, because part of me is sympathetic with what you're saying.

Edited by Exile

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1 hour ago, motonenterprises said:

Sounds more like just a big city issue to me. Most big cities are that way that I've been to. Except for maybe DC.

The point being: it's a big city issue because we  have allowed it to become one. Greenville has indeed benefited by NOT following suit. It's not worth having something just because everyone else is doing it, nor because it makes your city perceived to be larger. We don't want those issues. 

Edited by GvilleSC
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1 hour ago, Exile said:

There probably was a day when Poinsett Hwy could have been upgraded--to connect with the upgrade to 25 that NC long ago completed--in a way that it terminated just outside DT, without much, if any, destruction of residential areas. Just old industrial and retail buildings. That area's been blighted for a long time. But that day seems to have long passed.

If they had done it, the terminus would have had to be Rutherford Road. I just can't see cutting off James and Earle Streets from each other, much less tearing down any of those houses for any purpose. And the eminent domain that you'd have to invoke to get it done--that wouldn't be a battle; it would be a war. Multiple fronts.

There's just too much good stuff all around downtown--I can't see any way to make a connected thru-way that would justify the costs (not in terms of $$). And 185 is a lost cause. What might we agree to destroy to bring that all the way downtown?

Not arguing. Just thinking outside the box, because part of me is sympathetic with what you're saying.

Well. I would just like the skyline to be visible, even if it's from a distance. But as I said, they seem to be putting more stuff on 85 near the interchange. Although it doesn't have much height, perhaps they're using it to create a presence.

8 minutes ago, GvilleSC said:

The point being: it's a big city issue because we  have allowed it to become one. Greenville has indeed benefited by NOT following suit. It's not worth having something just because everyone else is doing it, nor because it makes your city perceived to be larger. We don't want those issues. 

It's not an issue to me. It's subjective. To me those cities have great downtown areas with a strong urban vibe. Not saying Greenville doesn't, but these cities definitely do have that.

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On 4/13/2020 at 3:31 PM, sc smitty said:

There was a proposal in the 1970's to build a freeway loop around the north and west side of downtown connecting I-385 to I-185, with another spur running north up along the Reedy River.  It would have blazed a multi-lane highway and interchange ramps right through existing neighborhoods along Stone Ave, Hampton-Pinckney, and the West End.  Thankfully this mess was never built.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Uok2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP19&lpg=PP19&dq=greenville+gantt+freeway&source=bl&ots=58idvi-sfu&sig=ACfU3U1s37lWAPNluMLRAHAJjNvNXf6FEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjN46iFiOboAhWsiOAKHdG1AMsQ6AEwA3oECAkQLQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Prep for this never-completed project (acquisition and demo) decimated a large swath of Southernside. It created the empty spaces where Unity Park will be located.

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"More roads" is almost never the answer. And like it was mentioned above, when these roads go in, they never tear down Earle St.. They tear down poor and minority neighborhoods, disenfranchising them even further.

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Unfortunately a lot of damage even without interstates:

There used a be a small downtown-like area around the intersection of Rutherford/Buncombe...

1f24847e72c9a8356ca4a49547e1d554.jpg

 

Forever destroyed by SCDOT...

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5 hours ago, ausrutherford said:

Unfortunately a lot of damage even without interstates:

There used a be a small downtown-like area around the intersection of Rutherford/Buncombe...

1f24847e72c9a8356ca4a49547e1d554.jpg

 

Forever destroyed by SCDOT...

Thanks for posting that. I remember it well and always thought it should have stayed and been refurbished.  No we have a sprawling McDs!

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5 hours ago, ausrutherford said:

Unfortunately a lot of damage even without interstates:

There used a be a small downtown-like area around the intersection of Rutherford/Buncombe...

1f24847e72c9a8356ca4a49547e1d554.jpg

 

Forever destroyed by SCDOT...

Well. Why did they tear it down? Must've been vacant and dilapidated. Something nice will be put in eventually.

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