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GRDadof3

"The Common Framework"

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GRDadof3    1837

I have a copy of that, but its been so long since I've read it that I don't even remember what it says :P

It says "Holy Crap, Sprawl!" "We're going to be the next Los Angeles if we don't work together!" in a nutshell... :D Yah, it's old, something like 2002 or 03.

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torgo    3

It says "Holy Crap, Sprawl!" "We're going to be the next Los Angeles if we don't work together!" in a nutshell... :D Yah, it's old, something like 2002 or 03.

Ahh yes... it has very nice looking maps and graphics too. :D

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snoogit    0

*this is going to sound horrible, but bear with me*

The Tri-city area needs to be one area. I;m not talking GR with rural splotches in between, I mean a highly connected completely urban center. I dont know what the sq mi. is of the Holland, Muskegon, Grand Rapids triangle is, but the truth of the matter is other then Grand Rapids, neither city has a real thriving "downtown"

WHat would help all the cities is to merge their resources and become one area. Much like Minneapolis and St. Paul are merged into one city, so too should Grand Rapids merge with the two cities of Muskegon and Holland, and do it through communter rail, and other high speed direct lines to the other cities.

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GRDadof3    1837

I'm bearing with you snoogit, but I don't think it's a good idea to merge the three cities. I do agree that the planning should be done together with a broader vision of how each city affects each other, but I'd be afraid of creating another Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (bear with me). We might end up with a large "artificial" commerce area in the countryside between the three, devoid of any character or much history, and it would suck resources and commerce away from the three downtowns. Think Research Triangle Park or Southfield, Michigan. Downtown Holland is actually pretty vibrant on its own. Rail between the three might be a good idea, though.

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torgo    3

*this is going to sound horrible, but bear with me*

The Tri-city area needs to be one area. I;m not talking GR with rural splotches in between, I mean a highly connected completely urban center. I dont know what the sq mi. is of the Holland, Muskegon, Grand Rapids triangle is, but the truth of the matter is other then Grand Rapids, neither city has a real thriving "downtown"

WHat would help all the cities is to merge their resources and become one area. Much like Minneapolis and St. Paul are merged into one city, so too should Grand Rapids merge with the two cities of Muskegon and Holland, and do it through communter rail, and other high speed direct lines to the other cities.

Yah Snoogit, I don't know about that, either. Personally, I like that GR / Holland / Grand Haven / Muskegon each have their own identity. I also think its important for a relatively populated area like this one to have some genuine rural countryside nearby, like we currently do. Although, from a tourist attraction and local economy standpoint, I can see how having a similar identity could be beneficial, I don;t know if I agree with you. Perhaps you could elaborate? ;)

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coyote35    0

It says "Holy Crap, Sprawl!" "We're going to be the next Los Angeles

What's so bad about LA? Lots of people like it there and most of the new subdivisions have it all over anything local. Out in LA they have to plan the development out and get tons of approvals before a single shovel is turned. GR could use some of the regulations that LA has, it would make these subdivisons a whole lot more thought-out and cohiesive. Many local subdivisions are done by very small developers and they just don't have a clue.

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snoogit    0

Guess I should have been more specific

I dont mean sprawl out and meet in the center (heaven forbid, the center of the three towns is right where I grew up, and I dont want that area to change) I do mean have a well interconnected transit system that isnt reliant on the car.

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GRDadof3    1837

What's so bad about LA? Lots of people like it there and most of the new subdivisions have it all over anything local. Out in LA they have to plan the development out and get tons of approvals before a single shovel is turned. GR could use some of the regulations that LA has, it would make these subdivisons a whole lot more thought-out and cohiesive. Many local subdivisions are done by very small developers and they just don't have a clue.

I can agree that many small developers do not have a clue (many of them used to be farmers, and not neighborhood planners). Working for a developer myself, I can tell you that approval process around here is no picnic. You have to go through multiple levels of approvals from the Drain Commission, Road Commission, DEQ, Fire Department, the Township or City itself, and many times from neighboring municipalities. Then you have people showing up to the Township meeting basically saying you're the scum of the Earth, and disparaging you and your family personally. The quickest you can hope for is at least 6 months, but many times much longer. By the time something shows up the Press, it has already been years in the process.

I think many people in this area do not want Grand Rapids to be another LA. Of course, I could be wrong.

;)

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torgo    3

I can agree that many small developers do not have a clue (many of them used to be farmers, and not neighborhood planners). Working for a developer myself, I can tell you that approval process around here is no picnic. You have to go through multiple levels of approvals from the Drain Commission, Road Commission, DEQ, Fire Department, the Township or City itself, and many times from neighboring municipalities. Then you have people showing up to the Township meeting basically saying you're the scum of the Earth, and disparaging you and your family personally. The quickest you can hope for is at least 6 months, but many times much longer. By the time something shows up the Press, it has already been years in the process.

I think many people in this area do not want Grand Rapids to be another LA. Of course, I could be wrong.

;)

It depends on how you look at it. If L.A. is encouraging smart developments that demonstrate good planning, then yes, pretty much everyone should take a page from them. However, I'd guess that when most people think "L.A.", they think traffic jams, smog, crime, plastic surgery and ignorant hollywood snobs, and decide that they want nothing to do with it.

And snoogit, thanks for clearing that up. Well-connected transit between the West MI population centers would be awesome. :)

I think we have enough procedural rigamorole as far as the approval process goes. What I would like to see more of, though, is rules that regulate building design (as opposed to land uses), so we can build stuff that looks nice, instead of blank walled one-story buildings 200' from the street and snout-houses.

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coyote35    0

I think we have enough procedural rigamorole as far as the approval process goes. What I would like to see more of, though, is rules that regulate building design (as opposed to land uses), so we can build stuff that looks nice, instead of blank walled one-story buildings 200' from the street and snout-houses.

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torgo    3

I understand the revulsion of LA, but everywhere you go there, you have to meet certain Architectual criteria, land use criteria and traffic. Hell, in some areas you are only allowed to build the same floor plan every 10 homes, and each one has a different treatment (so they all look different). Everything has sidewalks (try finding them on east 28th st, or even my subdivision). We need more thought out planning and cohiesive planning. Make the neighborhood look like it belongs together even if it's from different developers, and stick to it. No waivering, no matter how much $$ they give the City.

Yah, I would agree that those kind of guidelines are a good idea. Some areas do have regulations along those lines, especially in the urban areas, but many of the quickly-growing rural areas just kinda give developers a blank slate, with regulations to setbacks, area, and the like, but nothing to govern the design of the houses or the neighborhood. More needs to be done in that respect. ;)

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GRDadof3    1837

A lot of them only control exterior materials, square footage, size of garage, setbacks (like andy mentioned) etc.. It always makes me chuckle to see a $500,000 next to a $180,000 house, both of which fit the neighborhood requirements. You sometimes see that in downtown neighborhoods, but for some reason it doesn't look as bad.

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torgo    3

A lot of them only control exterior materials, square footage, size of garage, setbacks (like andy mentioned) etc.. It always makes me chuckle to see a $500,000 next to a $180,000 house, both of which fit the neighborhood requirements. You sometimes see that in downtown neighborhoods, but for some reason it doesn't look as bad.

There is a lot of that in city neghboroods, but I think it looks cool, probably because all of the houses look dignified. In some subdivisions, the only houses that don't look shoddy and cheap are the 350,000 McMansions.

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GaryP    0

This article from UP supports what coyote35 is arguing, but I have to say that I totally disagree with it. It says that LA has about 7,000people/square mile which is way higher than other metros and particularly higher than those in the Northeast. But 7,000 people/sqmi is just a dense suburb that exacerbates the same problems of less dense suburbs. Manhattan Island has approximately 66,000people/sqmi which is enough to support mass transit and walkable neighborhoods; 7,000ppl/sqmi IMO is much worse than 4,000 which again is much worse than 66,000 pple/sqmi. I believe that somewhere there is some kind of an inflection point where density goes from being really bad to really good.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday...0,3798054.story

Another idea this article has is the fact that most of LA's growth comes after the '20 when planning had been implemented and that most of New York and Chicago's urban growth came before the '20s, implying that planning has been good for LA. IMO its 'planning' that has ruined everything. All the pre-'20s neighborhoods are the neighborhoods people want to live in. All the stuff after the

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torgo    3

This article from UP supports what coyote35 is arguing, but I have to say that I totally disagree with it. It says that LA has about 7,000people/square mile which is way higher than other metros and particularly higher than those in the Northeast. But 7,000 people/sqmi is just a dense suburb that exacerbates the same problems of less dense suburbs. Manhattan Island has approximately 66,000people/sqmi which is enough to support mass transit and walkable neighborhoods; 7,000ppl/sqmi IMO is much worse than 4,000 which again is much worse than 66,000 pple/sqmi. I believe that somewhere there is some kind of an inflection point where density goes from being really bad to really good.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday...0,3798054.story

Another idea this article has is the fact that most of LA's growth comes after the '20 when planning had been implemented and that most of New York and Chicago's growth urban growth came before the '20s, implying that planning has been good for LA. IMO its 'planning' that has ruined everything. All the pre-'20s neighborhoods are the neighborhoods people want to live in. All the stuff after the

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Veronica    0

Yes, the physical form of LA was planned. The end result is good or bad, depending on your point of view. For a long time there were strict restrictions on building heights in LA because people saw the density in New York as a bad thing, and it was a bad thing a long time ago, with rampant disease and horrible living conditions. LA actively planned away from that kind of density because they didn't want to have those kinds of problems. History has proven that New York is the better arrangement for large cities, IMO.

I think the word "density" still scares a lot of people because they will think of the bad things they have heard about density and cities, such as crime, blight, traffic problems, pollution, and none of the good things that come from it, such as walkability, vitality, and access to all the various exciting things the a city offers. People don't realize that many of our suburbs are no safer, cleaner, friendlier than the central city.

All good points, but getting back to the original post, I love the idea that GR downtown is developing nicely, and I love the quaintness of Holland, and I love Muskegon Kalamazoo for what they are. I think an affordable mass transit between cities is a good idea for residents and tourists. I do not like the notion of another LA. (if i'm correctly understanding)

The traffic, the commercialism...I don't know....am I off the track here? :huh:

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GRDadof3    1837

No, you're on track Veronica. The authors of Common Framework felt that we had some strange similarities to LA and Southern California: close to a large body of water with small tourism-oriented towns along the coast, a metro area made up of multiple urban centers, the main urban area being 20 - 30 miles away from the coast, increasing commuter patterns between the cities, and they didn't want the area taking on the same traffic congested, smog-infested, land devouring, mega-suburb that many associate with Southern California.

Whether that perception is accurate or not is also the question.

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GaryP    0

I like the commuter rail idea, but I think it can't be effective until there are strong local rail transit lines in place to support it. So, let

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torgo    3
I like the commuter rail idea, but I think it can't be effective until there are strong local rail transit lines in place to support it. So, let

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dbrok    0

I'm not convinced that a rail system would ever be popular. On paper, it seems like a great idea. But is it going to be successful in reality? Americans love their cars and love their independence. People drive so they can decide exactly where they want to go and when they want to get there. I can understand taking a train to Chicago because of the huge parking hassle and the distance, but to Kalamazoo or Muskegon? By the time you drive to the rail station, you might as well stay in your car and go the extra 30 mins. Plus, how much $$ do you really save? If it takes 2 gallons of gas each way to the lake shore, that's only $11. How much would tickets be for light rail? Even if you charge only $3, a family of four is more expensive than gas. Plus most of these cities have free parking, (or really cheap). I'm just not convinced that the general public is going to be enamored with this idea.

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Veronica    0

I'm not convinced that a rail system would ever be popular. On paper, it seems like a great idea. But is it going to be successful in reality? Americans love their cars and love their independence. People drive so they can decide exactly where they want to go and when they want to get there. I can understand taking a train to Chicago because of the huge parking hassle and the distance, but to Kalamazoo or Muskegon? By the time you drive to the rail station, you might as well stay in your car and go the extra 30 mins. Plus, how much $$ do you really save? If it takes 2 gallons of gas each way to the lake shore, that's only $11. How much would tickets be for light rail? Even if you charge only $3, a family of four is more expensive than gas. Plus most of these cities have free parking, (or really cheap). I'm just not convinced that the general public is going to be enamored with this idea.

Well ok then, since everyone loves their cars so much, I'll settle for more and less expensive covered parking! :w00t:

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PBJ    0

I'm not convinced that a rail system would ever be popular. On paper, it seems like a great idea. But is it going to be successful in reality? Americans love their cars and love their independence. People drive so they can decide exactly where they want to go and when they want to get there. I can understand taking a train to Chicago because of the huge parking hassle and the distance, but to Kalamazoo or Muskegon? By the time you drive to the rail station, you might as well stay in your car and go the extra 30 mins. Plus, how much $$ do you really save? If it takes 2 gallons of gas each way to the lake shore, that's only $11. How much would tickets be for light rail? Even if you charge only $3, a family of four is more expensive than gas. Plus most of these cities have free parking, (or really cheap). I'm just not convinced that the general public is going to be enamored with this idea.

It takes me roughly 2 gallons to get here and back, at $5. If I'm going by myself, daily, that's $25/wk in gas (which about what I spend on gas for work). If i could sit on a train, not worry about snow, and work on my laptop during the commute that would be worth it to me. I have no idea what light rail usually charges, but at $3 round trip, i'd be saving $10/week or roughly $500/year on gas, plus be able to get stuff done while on my way in, which would lessen the time at work. :thumbsup:

I'd also like to add, there are a TON of cars with 1 person in them heading this way every morning, and back to GR at night.

/Just sayin

edit: Looks like chicago get $75 for thier "Chicago Card" 30-day unlimited use of train/buses or 3.75/day if JUST using it for commuting to work.

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