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Things you'd like to see downtown

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Other than plans already discussed, what would you personally like to see? I think some sort of 24 hour convenience store, or possibly a 24 hour CVS or Walgreens would be nice. Also an eatery open 24 hours besides the Tavern. No offense at all to the Tavern, but something different. A diner would be cool. Anything to make it easier/more accommodating to live in downtown. Maybe even a grocery store, although I

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New buildings in the empty lots would help greatly. I think two or three large anchor stores would really help as well. I like your example of Charleston. It has a great downtown that certainly has kept it's unique character but has embraced having some national retail moving in. I think street cars would add terrific character and function. A diner besides Ernie's, larger and faster with longer hours preferably. I like the idea of a 24 hour drug store but do think a grocery store is actually very important. If I live downtown and have to deal with the inconvenience of some difficulty with parking, I want to be able to have the option to walk to get my groceries. A more extensive market of some sort would really add to the quality of life dowtown I think. Continued promotion of the arts and sciences helps any city flourish. It would be a treat to see the science museum get ambitious and expand. Perhaps they could use the space vacated by the art museum or go for a new building themselves! (hey I can dream). A children's museum would be coo; as well. New libray is must. Love to see the higher education center expand into the old social security building as they have speculated they would. Bringing students downtown always adds to the vitality of a city.

I think that is enough for now.

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I'd like to see the market-area traffic pattern changed back to how it used to be. Campbell & Salem back to one-way, Market & Wall reversed. Every time I drive down there I can't figure out what the benefit was supposed to be in changing things.

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It was to encourage some traffic in the opposite direction of the market down Campbell to spur some spread of development in that direction. I don't know if the traffic pattern can be credited, but more shops and restruants as well as living spaces have developed since the change. In the previous pattern, when traffic went down Jefferson and hit Campbell, it forced people into the market and there was NO traffic the other direction. Same number of lanes and street parking remain, just in a different configuration to encourage people to flow into other areas of downtown besides the market. I actually think it was a good idea.

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I think this discussion brings up an important factor in Roanoke's downtown development. The western part of downtown is less accessable from major arterial roads.

I too miss the one way streets. They are more pedestrian friendly (you only have to look one way before crossing the street) and its easier to find a spot near your destination without turning around.

But, enabling traffic on Campbell ave to go west from Williamson and the market has brought more traffic/ business to western campbell avenue (west of Jefferson.)

Another way to make western downtown more successul would be to extend wells avenue to 5th street. Ideally, though, a limited access highway would stretch from 581 (about where it crosses over 10th street) following the basic route of 10th street, to the tracks along the river to 220 expressway near where it crosses the river. This would create a downtown 'beltway'. Of course unless it were submerged below street level it would disrupt and degrade the neighborhoods it cut through. And it would be expensive (especially if it were done mostly below ground, Roanoke's big dig). I'd also like an expressway along the tracks from downtown to I81 just west of salem. Of course most of it would probably have to be elevated above the tracks (so as not to reduce rail capacity). This (along with the smart road near Blackburg) would further reduce the travel time between Roanoke and Virginia Tech. And it would better link downtown Roanoke and Salem.

The other things downtown needs are a train station for passenger rail, and trolleys. Downtown should be linked by trolley to Roanoke memorial and mill mountain. It would also be great to have some sort of light rail linking downtown to the airport.

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That sounds like a dream, but I would love for that to happen, though I would prefer trolleys over expressways running everywhere, but underground seems cool though.

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One thing that would help downtown is if those dead storefronts along Campbell Avenue were filled with buisnesses that would create some pedestrian traffic. The street is pretty dead, even at lunchtime.

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I once heard a rumor about the trolley lines still existing underneath the current paved roads through downtown. I'd love to see those resurface, at least in the market district. Im also a big fan of live/work units, and I would like to see more of these develop.

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I wonder if they could still use those lines by uncovering them? Seems that would make it a lot less expensive than build new, if it is possible. Anyone know the engineering feasability of reclaiming existing lines?

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I have no idea of the feasability of reuse, but I do know that those lines ran extensively throughout downtown Roanoke and out to Raleigh Courth, Salem, Vinton and any other established neighborhood from the pre WWII era. It sure seems it would take a lot of unnecessary effort to remove all the tracks, when they were already recessed so that the tops of the tracks were level with the pavement. It would make sense that many of the tracks remain under a few inches of asphalt.

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If you're interested in living downtown, you might want to check this out. There's a link to a cool slide show of some of the residences included on the tour.

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I'd like to see more innovative housing options in downtown Roanoke. For example, some sort of

large mixed used building with a tower that would contain condos and a central area for retail/restaurants. The condos would have individual balconies that would have stunning views of the new art museum, mountains and downtown! I know the Grandin Rd folks will go mad, but I'd like to see a multi-plex movie theatre in this development. The City Market is nice but its just not complete. Move part of the market indoors in the Center in the Square building(sort of like Chelsea Market in NYC) with indoor retail/food stalls or a "mini" Fresh Market. Downtown should tear up the dated sidewalks in front of the market building and put in a fresh new surface. The area east of Elmwood Park should be high rise apartments with parking or an Embassy Suites Hotel. Something has got to be done to the old Heironimus Bldg(perhaps condos/retail) with awnings that face the street. Keep the streets the way they are and don't go back to one-ways again. Campbell Ave has come to life again after the switch to two-way traffic. Hotel Roanoke needs to build a spa to attract the upscale tourist. Trolleys must also be introduced(after the shuttle that will start in '08).

Keep it up, we're getting there.

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Nice. I can't say I disagree with any of those ideas. Here's hoping there are some movers and shakers with large enough bankrolls that agree with us!

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I'd like to see more innovative housing options in downtown Roanoke. For example, some sort of

large mixed used building with a tower that would contain condos and a central area for retail/restaurants. The condos would have individual balconies that would have stunning views of the new art museum, mountains and downtown! I know the Grandin Rd folks will go mad, but I'd like to see a multi-plex movie theatre in this development. The City Market is nice but its just not complete. Move part of the market indoors in the Center in the Square building(sort of like Chelsea Market in NYC) with indoor retail/food stalls or a "mini" Fresh Market. Downtown should tear up the dated sidewalks in front of the market building and put in a fresh new surface. The area east of Elmwood Park should be high rise apartments with parking or an Embassy Suites Hotel. Something has got to be done to the old Heironimus Bldg(perhaps condos/retail) with awnings that face the street. Keep the streets the way they are and don't go back to one-ways again. Campbell Ave has come to life again after the switch to two-way traffic. Hotel Roanoke needs to build a spa to attract the upscale tourist. Trolleys must also be introduced(after the shuttle that will start in '08).

Keep it up, we're getting there.

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As I was walking around downtown Monday afternoon, I saw a lot of construction activity taking place. It seems there are some buildings undergoing major rehab that I wasn't aware of from various new articles and other sources. One thing that will really improve downtown will be stores staying open later. I feel that this will start happening soon with all the new downtown residents. I bet downtown has about 1000 residents (or soon to be residents) by now. Just wait until that grows to 2000. Remember 10 years ago when maybe 15-20 people lived downtown? And it seems that downtown Roanoke is immune to the ongoing housing crisis. Maybe thats because SW Virginia real estate is actually in line with salaries so people can actually afford a nice house.

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As I was walking around downtown Monday afternoon, I saw a lot of construction activity taking place. It seems there are some buildings undergoing major rehab that I wasn't aware of from various new articles and other sources. One thing that will really improve downtown will be stores staying open later. I feel that this will start happening soon with all the new downtown residents. I bet downtown has about 1000 residents (or soon to be residents) by now. Just wait until that grows to 2000. Remember 10 years ago when maybe 15-20 people lived downtown? And it seems that downtown Roanoke is immune to the ongoing housing crisis. Maybe thats because SW Virginia real estate is actually in line with salaries so people can actually afford a nice house.

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At the current rate of construction and subsequent sales, I don't think 2000 is out of the question. It would help to have a proposal for a significant new building. Downtown is definitely more energetic than when I moved here in 1998 and there were literally only about 15-20 living there as you said. Hope the general economic slowdown doesn't stop the momentum here.

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How much do you guys believe the renovation of the Roanoke Hotel and its overhead walkway to Center in the Square and relocation of Mill Mountain Playhouse spurred downtown development? My guess is a LOT!!!

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