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Old 01-19-2017, 07:53 PM
 
Location: 304
4,979 posts, read 6,538,647 times
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Interesting news here. Elk City could become the new hot spot in Charleston in the next couple of years. It already has added several new businesses recently.

Charleston Gazette-Mail | Developer has plans for ex-Dollar General site on Charleston’s West Side
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:08 AM
 
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It's like all the momentum and ideas in the East End were transported over there, and it seems to be doing quite well. If he successfully gets a music venue in that space (which was one of the former ideas for the New China Building), it'll be amazing.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:50 AM
 
Location: 304
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Charleston Gazette-Mail | Plans for space beneath Charleston’s I-64 overpass unveiled

I'm a bit skeptical of this, but this could turn out to be something truly unique for our city. Right now the space is worthless except for parking.
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:21 AM
 
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The fact that you have these beautiful murals from the Pier to Peer project that are only served by a passing glance from motorists is tragic. But who wants to spend time in a dimly-lit parking lot with traffic whizzing by? This is conceptual, but the fact that multiple parties are now working on this is good news. And the fact that the majority of improvements are adaptable or low-impact (and thus, low-cost) surely helps. The tapestry installation would be cool, not only for the visual effect but also for sound dampening - something which I think would be important to make people want to linger in that area.

But my favorite concept is the reference to historic architecture (i.e. "What we tore down for this thing over your head"). Whether they are walls, nets, or paint on the pavement, putting a physical representation of what was can aid in growing an appreciation for what still is and an inspiration for what will and should be.

Oh, and if you want some other references/inspiration from other underpass public spaces: https://www.planetizen.com/node/9063...nderpass-parks
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:42 PM
 
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Hey ELewis7,
Though, if you narrow the lanes, my understanding would be that you lower what the safe speed is. Do you think that people will lower their speeds enough to come in at or under the new safe speed? (I wound up with the impression those articles were talking about roads more like Washington than Kanawha. I also never did find that bike pdf.)

I can't agree that MacCorkle and the Interstate reduce the need for Kanawha. To my mind, MacCorkle being across the river makes it a road serving a completely different function. The interstate goes back and forth across the river, is very high in a way that might make it prone to icing, and is just plain built to facilitate much longer trips than a local's or visitor's shopping trip downtown. (Probably makes the drivers on Kanawha look restrained in their speed, though )

Though I also spent a lot of time in a part of the country acknowledged as having very bad traffic, and the hope, of course, is for Charleston to grow again. That combination may help make me very wary of taking away lanes or reducing road capacity, especially when Charleston has the extra problem of not being able to easily spread out should that backfire badly later on. And Kanawha seems to have a reasonable traffic level to me-anyone get a glimpse of the affected portions of Piedmont and Washington during the inauguration closings?

What's the crosswalk situation on Kanawha?

I'm not a traffic planner, either
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBennet42 View Post
Hey ELewis7,
Though, if you narrow the lanes, my understanding would be that you lower what the safe speed is. Do you think that people will lower their speeds enough to come in at or under the new safe speed? (I wound up with the impression those articles were talking about roads more like Washington than Kanawha. I also never did find that bike pdf.)

I can't agree that MacCorkle and the Interstate reduce the need for Kanawha. To my mind, MacCorkle being across the river makes it a road serving a completely different function. The interstate goes back and forth across the river, is very high in a way that might make it prone to icing, and is just plain built to facilitate much longer trips than a local's or visitor's shopping trip downtown. (Probably makes the drivers on Kanawha look restrained in their speed, though )

Though I also spent a lot of time in a part of the country acknowledged as having very bad traffic, and the hope, of course, is for Charleston to grow again. That combination may help make me very wary of taking away lanes or reducing road capacity, especially when Charleston has the extra problem of not being able to easily spread out should that backfire badly later on. And Kanawha seems to have a reasonable traffic level to me-anyone get a glimpse of the affected portions of Piedmont and Washington during the inauguration closings?

What's the crosswalk situation on Kanawha?

I'm not a traffic planner, either
I contend that the Boulevard is still necessary, to be sure, but not in its current state. It is still an important arterial road, but there are many streets every block up that have sparse traffic. Those should have the ability to compensate for the Boulevard should the population ever boom again. When it was widened, it was meant as an easier way to get from one side of town to the other. I think that is still served by MacCorkle and the Interstate; indeed, if I'm going across Charleston, I'm more likely to take the Interstate than stay in town if I want expediency.

Going back to lane widths for a second, though. It's a subconscious calming of speeds. Say you're on a road with 13 ft wide lanes and relatively low traffic. Most people (myself assuredly included) will be more apt to speed and pay less attention to the road because we have more physical leeway. We can drift somewhat and still be in our lane, or we can speed with a car beside us because we feel safer knowing there's a buffer between the cars. So, yes, wider lanes will give the sense of safety, for the driver. If I'm somewhere with narrower lanes, I'm going to pay attention more because I don't want to drift in the next lane, or because I don't trust the driver next to me to do the same. Likewise, you'll slow down, without even thinking, because that's inherently the safer thing to do.

Now, take all this from a pedestrian's perspective. Would you rather cross the first street (which, by the way will take a little longer because it's wider) or the second one? I'm not even saying to lower the speeds on the Boulevard (though I'm not opposed to it); I'm saying narrower lanes will lead to drivers actually driving nearer to the speed limit instead of 5-10 over it.

You feel those articles are more apt for Washington than the Boulevard, and you're not wrong. They are meant for main streets downtown and residential ones. But I feel like the Boulevard is still a de facto neighborhood street, despite the design, especially on the West Side.

Finally, I want to mention Charleston's density. Many people lament that it doesn't have space to spread out like it's a bad thing. It presents its own problems, yes, but density is not inherently bad. Some of the most unique places in the world are the result of human settlement despite the topography. Venice, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tokyo, Genoa, Gibraltar, or any of the villages throughout the Alps or the Pyrenees. Without the hills we have, Charleston would look like Mansfield, OH or any other Midwest/Rust Belt city with ~50,000 people. That's not a dig at Mansfield, but should be a point of pride for Charleston. And when we have a roadway network prioritizing a few arterials over a more balanced grid (without destroying neighborhood character, of course) in a denser place, we're bound to have problems. We've just been spared those because we've lost half of our population.

Yes, we're not Paris or London or any fantastically-dense place with centuries upon centuries to develop, but we do have the luxury of flexibility. We have capacity, we have opportunity, and, quite honestly, we have a little bit of desperation - all of which should be leveraged to try what we can to make this a great place to live for everyone. We can experiment, we can step out and try something different - Lord knows not much else has worked. I'm not saying bike lanes will do all this - they won't on their own - but they are just a small piece of simply trying something else that we have the ability to do.

Sorry if all that came across somewhat scattered; I got a little passionate there! None of that is meant as a slight to anyone here or in Charleston. This is just my perspective of things and I'm going to stay hopeful, despite my best efforts.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:08 AM
 
Location: 304
4,979 posts, read 6,538,647 times
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Charleston Gazette-Mail | Developer plans to demolish East End structure, build new apartments
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:16 PM
 
37 posts, read 20,558 times
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Hey ELewis7,
I don't think we'll see things the same way insofar as differentiating Kanawha from MacCorkle and the interstate, but we're not making decisions, so that's okay Are you suggesting that streets like Elizabeth and Capitol can somehow compensate for the boulevard, though?

Do you mean that you think that narrowing the lane width will not decrease the maximum safe speed?

I tend to look for no cars coming rather than slightly slower cars coming. A wider street can be a bigger pain, but a crosswalk that takes that into account can help.

Density is not inherently bad, but it is inherently a strain on the traffic grid, and I think that the mountains (awesome and beautiful though they are) do impede flexibility. It's not as easy here as it is in some other localities to deal with density by spreading out or with a crammed road by building a new and effective back way. That doesn't mean abandon all hope or anything-all I mean is that it may be especially necessary to maintain a robust traffic grid.

Nothing wrong with passion or hope. I don't see the conversation as a hope vs no hope thing -just thinking that it's good to examine any plan in detail and that almost any planning process will benefit from everybody trying to poke holes in everything.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:53 AM
 
1,575 posts, read 1,795,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBennet42 View Post
Hey ELewis7,
I don't think we'll see things the same way insofar as differentiating Kanawha from MacCorkle and the interstate, but we're not making decisions, so that's okay Are you suggesting that streets like Elizabeth and Capitol can somehow compensate for the boulevard, though?
Not so much those, as they are the N-S streets, but in general, yes. Drive on Quarrier, Virginia, Lee, etc., and you'll find that there is sufficient excess capacity to handle a bump in traffic should traffic decrease a bit on the Boulevard.

Quote:
Do you mean that you think that narrowing the lane width will not decrease the maximum safe speed?
Not sure I follow this one. What I mean to say is that, in general, decreasing lane widths will make drivers subconsciously drive more defensively. This will de facto lower the observed (regardless of posted) speeds, creating a safer environment for pedestrians.

Quote:
I tend to look for no cars coming rather than slightly slower cars coming. A wider street can be a bigger pain, but a crosswalk that takes that into account can help.
Don't quite follow this one either, in terms of no cars/slow cars. Proper crosswalks are essential, of course.

Quote:
Density is not inherently bad, but it is inherently a strain on the traffic grid, and I think that the mountains (awesome and beautiful though they are) do impede flexibility. It's not as easy here as it is in some other localities to deal with density by spreading out or with a crammed road by building a new and effective back way. That doesn't mean abandon all hope or anything-all I mean is that it may be especially necessary to maintain a robust traffic grid.
You're 100% correct. Topographically, our flexibility is impeded. However, the gutting of our population gives us more flexibility to try new things without throwing the entire system out of whack. We have a system built for twice the population; there's room to breathe and experiment.

Another point is that, with the density exists, alternative transportation options should be more widely prevalent and utilized. The current public transportation system is woefully inadequate for a myriad of reasons (which I won't pin on just one or two entities). When you have a dense city (or part of a city), then higher-capacity transportation options are essential to growth.

Quote:
Nothing wrong with passion or hope. I don't see the conversation as a hope vs no hope thing -just thinking that it's good to examine any plan in detail and that almost any planning process will benefit from everybody trying to poke holes in everything.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:33 AM
 
Location: 304
4,979 posts, read 6,538,647 times
Reputation: 1610
Charleston Gazette-Mail | New 50-year lease for downtown Charleston Marriott being negotiated

Looks like the Marriott isn't going anywhere for a long time.
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