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Brikosser

Greenville's Future

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I've been reading this forum for awhile but I havn't posted anything yet, I've been waiting. I think this is a great place to express ideas and hopefully get projects off the ground moving forward for the good of everyone in the area. I'm only 20, I'm from Simpsonville, I've been going to and living in Clemson for the last 3 years studying landscape architecture with a major interest in development and planning. I'm moving to Greenville at the end of this month and time permitting I would like to get more involved in local groups that have Greenville's future in mind, like UP, Friends of the Reedy, etc. I watch the news and read different newspapers everyday so I consider myself up to date on recent events. Unless you've been living in a cave for the last week, our already unstable world has gotten a lot more unstable. I feel that we are heading towards a disaster that could be prevented with better planning. Gas prices are already high and they are only going to get higher and possibly cripple our economy and country. We could avoid all of this though if we ended our dependency on foreign oil. I recently read an article on the most walkable cities in the USA and Greenville wasn't on there and has a long way to go to get on there. We have this wonderful walkable downtown area but past there we don't have enough walkable or bikeable areas. We're making some progress but not nearly enough. As Greenville County continues to sprawl outward, roads are widened but they rarely included bike lanes like the ones on 93 in Clemson, and we don't have nearly enough public transportation and where we do have it, it is hardly convienient. I have a lot of ideas on how Greenville could improve it's future. These are just a few, a lot of these are already out there, but they need to be focused on and funded more.

1. Add bikeways/walkways/parks throughout the county, one idea I have is along the reedy from southern Greenville County all the way through downtown and up to TR along the swamp fox trail with connections all along the way to funnel riders and walkers onto the path. We need an extensive system of linear parks that allows bikes, walking, rollerblading or whatever you can think of that dosn't require and engine.

2. Add bikeways along all new road construction. Become a world renowned bike friendly community. We already have George Hincapie, lets keep the ball rolling and accomodate this mode of transportaton. Be like the Chinese (not communist though).

3. Lightrail from all the outlying areas (Group one {Laurans, Grey Court, Fountain Inn, Simpsonville, Mauldin, ICAR} Group two {Anderson, Belton, Williamston, Pelzer, Piedmont, Southwest side of Greenville}, Group 3 {Seneca, Clemson, Central, Easley, West Greenville} Group 4 {TR to Greenville} Group 5 {Spartanburg, Wellford, Lyman, Duncan, Greer, Taylors} with stations surrounded by mass-transit oriented development. Everyone needs to be able to walk to a station train or bus within 5 minutes or be within a fairly short bike ride.

4. More affordable high rise housing downtown or near downtown because the people who can't afford to pay for gas need walkable communities the most.

5. Change the growth pattern in sprawling areas to smart growth and look to downtowns and already developed areas in suburbs.

6. Generally end dependence on cars (look at larger cities, Portland, NYC, Boston)

7. Educate the general public on smartgrowth. EVERYONE SHOULD READ SUBURBAN NATION!!!

8. Get the future involved. The future belongs to young people and we should be involved and believe me there are a lot of us out there who do care and are very concearned with our future.

9. Leave large undeveloped areas undeveloped

10. Keep turning Greenville into the world class city and county it has the potential to be.

I think greenville has a few major advantages over other urban areas. We have a desireable climate where we cannot be directly hit by directly by hurricanes or Tsunamis like every coastal city, we have very little snow, we rarely have tornadoes, earthquakes, large wildfires, or any other natural disaster you can think of. Our biggest problems are caused by ice storms maybe once a year (which can be solved at a expense by underground power lines and solar power on buildings), and flooding which could be limited by not building in flood plains (turn them into parks). Also while we are still a relatively small city we have an opportunity to plan better before we turn into Atlanta (which is happening). I think the time has come for us to take a stand against our present growth trends and embrace a future that dosn't depend as much on cars and where we really put the green in Greenville by using green technologys and ideas.

Post your own ideas or add onto mine or even criticize them.

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Welcome. Your ideas are great and hopefully it's where our future will take us. You want to get involved... well, i think the best way for you to do so would be to enter politics. You have your platform right there. :thumbsup:

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Welcome to UP! It's good to have another South Carolinian on board.

I agree with just about all you've said (especially the book Suburban Nation; great read). I'm sure many others do as well. Number 9, I'm a little iffy about. True, some land should be set aside for conservation, but all land can't or shouldn't be conserved. Remember the Countryside Preserve from the book? :) Make sure that such land isn't developed in a haphazard leapfrog way and that it is quality development.

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Welcome to the discussions at last, Brikosser! I have seen you reading many times and hoped you would get involved eventually. :D

You have provided an expansive and exciting vision for our future, and I hope most (if not ALL) of this happens in our lifetime. I have enjoyed witnessing more people getting out and walking or riding bicycles, which is a fabulous way to lessen our dependence on and usage of automobiles. One thing I do think is necessary though, is for our outlook on automobiles to change as we know them today.

I do not think it will be best to completely remove them from society, but rather to make them extremely efficient and environmentally clean. It can be done, but there is much work to be done. I hope Greenville is on the cutting edge of these developments, since this is becoming a highly-focused region in the automotive industry.

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Welcome to the forum!

It sounds like you have a lot of good ideas about what needs to happen in Greenville. As a landscape architect, you should consider looking into urban design in your work. That profession needs people that understand how their projects fit into the urban fabric, and how to design them to enhance the situation.

You may be interested to know that GPATS is working on a bike plan for the urban area.

We need more Greenvillians to not only recognize this sprawl problem, but do something about it. People love to talk the talk, but not as many will walk the walk.

The problem with #3, light rail, is that densities are generally too low to support it in most of these places. Even busses don't have what it takes. Our new neighborhoods are sitll subdivisions. You have some of these new urbanist communities springing up, but they are essentially very nice sprawl. We need that type of community being built inplace of existing low density neighborhoods, not in addition to them.

Places like Verdae and McBee Station are good examples of what I am talking about.

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In response to the reply about LRT:

The density is not here today, yes, BUT Brikosser is dead on the money with making people aware of its importance here. There will undoubtedly be a time when it is completely a necessity to the economic success of Greenville and the Upstate, and having the plan and informed public support in place will ensure it is built properly. Sitting back and saying we're not there yet will do nothing to prepare the public for the time when it must be built. If people are already anxiously anticipating LRT, it will become a useful system from the start. ;)

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Thank you for the warm welcome. To address the first few replys.

First, I am considering entering politics, I'm working on my public speaking skills right now and learning about a vast array of the problems the average American faces and brainstorming solutions.

Second, I don't think all undeveloped land should be preserved by any means. I should have clarified what I meant, I think a lot of the farms in the area should be preserved, drive down Harrison Bridge Road from Fairview Road towards Neely Farms or down Jenkins Bridge Road both in Simpsonville and you'll see what I'm talking about. Another specific area is alot of the mountainous areas around us, and areas around creeks and rivers. I live off of 123 and Issaqueena trail between Central and Pendleton and right before my apartment complex there is this beautiful view of a field bordered by woods on all sides and a small mountain behind it (that already has a cell phone tower on top of it, the only negative part of the view) and special places like that should be preserved because one structure will completly ruin that view. A park that preserves the feel of the area but that would allow recreation like hiking, running, whatever else would be perfect for the area but it will probably be developed into some kind of community.

Third, it would be just plain stupid to completely abandone the automobile completely with the amount of infrastructure we've already built. I think we just need more options because it's dangerous to ride a bike down most of the roads in the area. I think electric cars fueled by wind power and nuclear power plants along with solar powered vehicles (once the technology is further developed) will be the future. Many people spend too much of the income to own a car. But these people have no other option but to spend because you have to have a car to get around safely and quickly. I have a hybrid civic and it saves me alot in gas expenses but it was expensive to buy and ridiculously expensive to fix.

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Welcome to Urbanplanet, Brikosser. What's odd is that i'm going into landscape architecture at Clemson and I read that article about the most walkable places in america too. I also completely agree with you and would vote for you in politics. Remember to watch the Discovery Channel at nine tonight seeing how that goes along with this. :thumbsup:

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The densities might not exist to support light rail throughout the city, but what's to say they can't build a commuter-focused light rail station that goes all the way into the highly urban stops (e.g., downtown, West End, etc.)? Then, the hope is that the areas in-between would gradually develop and new stations could be built as growth occurs and the density supports it. I am not talking about commuter stations way out from the action, but rather I am talking about stations built a slightly out of the high-traffic areas to be appealing to commuters. I hope I'm explaining that well...

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The densities might not exist to support light rail throughout the city, but what's to say they can't build a commuter-focused light rail station that goes all the way into the highly urban stops (e.g., downtown, West End, etc.)? Then, the hope is that the areas in-between would gradually develop and new stations could be built as growth occurs and the density supports it. I am not talking about commuter stations way out from the action, but rather I am talking about stations built a slightly out of the high-traffic areas to be appealing to commuters. I hope I'm explaining that well...

The plans should be made now for where the light rail lines should go, land should be purchased now for stations, the zoning around where the stations will be should be changed to accomadate high density mass transit oriented villages and developers should be encouraged to begin building the transit villages. One of the reasons I included smaller towns along the route was because I think everyone in the area should be allowed to get in on the action. Some of the older mill towns could use some economic help and this would be a good for them and they would allow for more affordable places to live. Going in each direction that I previously stated it would be wise to put at least one station that is commuter oriented and allows commuters to get off 85 or 385 park in in a garage and get on a train 20 or more miles from greenville. But that could backfire and just cause more sprawl because it would allow people to live further away from g'ville.

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Also, I think that because SCDOT maintains so much of our highways, an extensive land use policy should be integrated into that department, especially if we're talking about light-rail.

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Also, I think that because SCDOT maintains so much of our highways, an extensive land use policy should be integrated into that department, especially if we're talking about light-rail.

Thats a good idea. Pretty much any thru road is a state road, so they are everywhere. They are planning where the LRT lines will go when they decide to build them. There is some debate about locations that don't have a rail bed though (like downtown).

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