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RestedTraveler

Upstate Growth... We could look like Atlanta by 2030

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Do any of you think that Greenville will ever grow to the size of Charlotte or Atlanta? If so how long do you think it will take with the current growth patterns? Another topic to make discussion about my favorite place.

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The graphics from the study are pretty impressive. It is not "apples to apples" as Gville will not be anywhere close to looking like Atlanta. But the upstate as a whole may well resemble the sprawl that atlanta has. That actually seems scarier; we could have the sprawl of atlanta, without having an urban core like atlanta has. That would be a pretty ugly mess!

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Here is a link to the article from the Herald-Journal.

The PDF of the presentation is pretty self explanatory. I hope every county in South Carolina is paying attention to what happens in the Upstate. I also hope that the Upstate counties, particularly Greenville and Spartanburg, will take some leadership towards enacting some of the ideas in this presentation. The cities of Greenville and Spartanburg are good leaders, but they are, unfortunately, going to make a small impact due to their constrained sizes. The Counties must step up, and more importantly, COUNTY POLITICIANS must DO SOMETHING. Recognizing that more controls on growth will ultimately make our region a better place to live will be key. Its not oppression, its not big government. Its just good sense. I personally don't want to come home to Atlanta. I live in Charlotte and I have enough of that stuff to deal with here. It will also require the people's support to push things forward.

A link to the PDF of the presentation.

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Just the graphical difference between 1990 and 2000 is quite staggering. I hope some changes can be made. However, growth around the Southern connector will probably take off within a few years, and Greer area continues to explode outward, as does N Anderson. We might slow it down a bit, but the 1:1 ratio scenario seems extremely unlikely (if not impossible) to me at this point. Note also, that this report used a 5:1 ratio based on growht from 1990 to 2000. I wonder what the ratio has been since 2000. It might be even higher now. Also, wonder why Oconee, Cherokee, and Union counties were not included in the graphic, as they are always included in the upstate.

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^ Good questions. I wondered the same thing about the other counties. I agree that the 1:1 ratio is virtually impossible, even with the most progressive ideas implemented tomorrow. I think the 3:1 ratio is a reasonable achievement if we actually strive to complete the 1:1.

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Greenville News

Herald-Journal (updated)

These are links to the articles from today's papers. The Independent-Mail had an AP article that was a copy of Spartanburg's. This whole study is very telling of our growth. I want to see a copy of the full report, and not the powerpoint slides.

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I am trying to give our Upstate leaders the benefit of the doubt, but I am fearful that not much will change with regard to these harmful growth patterns. On a very basic level, it will involve the following steps:

1. Evidence illustrating the problem (and potential effects) - completed

2. Making Upstate leaders aware of the problem - in progress

3. Convincing those leaders that this is something they should act upon now in an aggressive way

4. Leaders convincing Upstate residents that smart growth is vital to the future success of the region

I am very glad that this study was done. The fact that it has gotten such good publicity helps. However, I fear that too many residents will simply view smart growth practices like zoning regulations as too much government interference. Discussions like these tend to bring out the NIMBYs in full force who are scared that it will make the area more urban and destroy their once-rural plot of land. How can the government convince a majority of people here that smart growth is the way to go? Or will the leaders here simply have to decide that smart growth WILL happen and then force people into accepting it? Are our leaders willing to be that forceful about this issue? Do we even know if they will realize the importance of this topic to begin with?

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We are going to eventually reach a state of gridlock.

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They need to stop using the word "urban" when they mean "suburban." It's suburban, not urban, design that's ruining everything by sprawling all over creation.

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I'm not sure what you're referring to, but there is such thing as 'urban sprawl'

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At least this issue is being addressed - I thought it was obvious that would happen in the early 1990's when I moved to Atlanta & noticed the similarities with Atlanta's sprawl in the exurban counties to much of the upstate. Especially when a friend of mine became a planner in Cherokee County & said people laugh there at the concept of a county land use plan in the 90's.

But I'm not sure how avoidable it could have been - that region of SC has for a long time had a relatively densely populated rural area of 250 to 500 square miles throughout. When the infrastructure & the number of landowners who are no longer able to farm their land or are out of work exists, subdivisions are going to occur. Also you can't ignore how huge of an impact I-85 has been, it is the economic life stream for the Upstate, but it is a sprawl incubator.

gville - corgimat's point is that the sprawl is suburban / exurban oriented not urban oriented. But I think that is a totally different point from this, what corgimat might mean by urban sprawl is similar to Los Angeles where the urban core is highly dense but heavily dispersed without a strong centralized core such as Chicago. Similarly in Atlanta, there is both exurban / suburban sprawl & urban sprawl - as the city's urban core is spread out across Downtown to Buckhead resulting in a lesser dense core than other similarly sized cities.

My little humble opinion - a new Upstate MPO. Based on the following map from the EPA:

sc_greenville_spartanburg_andersoneac.jpg

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/confor...andersoneac.htm

There is no single comprehensive planning body to study inter-city commuting as well as exurban land practices. Pickens, Anderson, Greenville, Laurens, Spartanburg & Cherokee need a single MPO with REAL POWER (unlike Atlanta's ARC whose primary power is through encouragement or recommendations).

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I'm not sure what you're referring to, but there is such thing as 'urban sprawl'

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FYI, the terms "urban sprawl" and "suburban sprawl" are used interchangeably, just with different connotations. Subdivisions are considered to be developed land or "urbanized", and therefore are technically termed urban and not rural, despite their low density. It's just a technicality.

Edit: Wikipedia entry "Urban Sprawl" just so we're all on the same page

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Sadly, in the South in particular, sprawl is equated with prosperity--and often it is a sign of that. So reigning in sprawl is largely seen as stopping progress to a lot of people, especially since we really don't have a comparable in the Sunbelt of a city that has managed to significantly tame sprawl and still prosper economically. Honestly, I just don't see enough political will present to get serious about this, particularly when we talk about multiple regional jurisdictions being involved. Maybe if a regional governmental entity were created (such as in Portland) we might see some real progress, but the chances of that happening are extremely slim to none.

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I dont see it changing...at least not until its too late.

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There is no single comprehensive planning body to study inter-city commuting as well as exurban land practices. Pickens, Anderson, Greenville, Laurens, Spartanburg & Cherokee need a single MPO with REAL POWER (unlike Atlanta's ARC whose primary power is through encouragement or recommendations).

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Its true that there is no body that has the authority that is similar to the ARC. The Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG) is the logical place to put such an entity.

I'll add that there was a study done a few years back to determine if commuter rail was feasible, and the results showed that the net cross commuting between Greenville and Spartanburg was around 1000 to Greenville. I think the total cross commuting was 25,000 or so? Don't hold me to those figures, but the point is that there is a lot of commuting going on, but the problem is that its not enough to support transit. What worse, the development patterns wont support transit, and on top of that, local leaders wont fund it!

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I'm not so sure the problem is growth itself. It's coming... no if's, and's or but's. If you're holding out hope that we won't grow, you won't get anywhere. Because the fact is that we will have huge amounts of growth in the next twenty years.

The problem is failing to address and accomodate that growth. I think a key example of the mentality is issue of the Southern Connector. Many view the Southern Connector as a poster child for what's wrong with planning. A huge road that doesn't provide for much. Of course, in twenty years, the Southern Connector will be viewed as a visionary project... questionable funding issues aside.

This means that public infrastructure needs to be funded based upon projections for their useful life. Far too often, we fund public infrastructure so that they are adequate now... by the time they are complete, they are already overburdened. This is true of roads, schools, sewer, etc.

The problem with trying to implement real land controls is that you effectively have to have every infrastructure provider on the same page and in agreement... which I think is the single biggest challenge to regional planning. Unfortunately, many infrastructure providers have an almost adversarial view of each other. Which is a shame.

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I think we all see the problem here. It's ugly and scary. Recently, there was discussion about what we could do in our community to make a difference. Well what can we do here? Talking about it on a forum can only get us so far? Who do we appeal to in order to make change? How can we show that we're not happy with status quo in the Upstate of South Carolina? Editorials to the Greenville News can only get you so far (and it's not very far). Thoughts? Ideas?

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^Showing up en masse to city/county council meetings would be a good start.

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If the 25,000 total is correct, I could see that being enough to support a regular bus transit between the two cities. Of course, another problem would be the inadequacies of our local transit systems once a person reaches the destination city. I doubt most of the people commuting between both counties actually work along the current local bus routes.

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Hey folks! Whats wrong with Atlanta? I like Atlanta. Isn't it one of the most popular southern cities? Is sprawl really a problem in the south? All decent sized southern cities seem to have sprawl. Maybe its just the way southern cities develop. I don't know though. I am just glad we have so much and are getting more. We don't lack much.

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I like Atlanta too, but the sprawl there is obviously a huge problem. There's a way to get what Atlanta has (increased business investment, etc.) without the sprawl and traffic nightmares--at least to the extent that Atlanta has them.

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I think I'm the lone weirdo hear. The sprawl doesn't bother me too much, but I hate going to downtown Atlanta because of the tall buildings. Makes me feel like I'm in a canyon of glass, steel, and concrete.

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