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Old 10-09-2013, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
14 posts, read 13,341 times
Reputation: 20

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It seems like many of you are focusing on very specific things, which is fine. If we are talking about downtown Columbia, I think there are a number of things the city can improve upon.

First, it seems to me that the downtown area is currently a collection of competing districts with zero continuity. Five Points, the Vista, Main Street, North Main, Rosewood, Shandon, Forest Acres, etc. are entirely different neighborhoods and typically attract very distinct groups of people. I hate to bring up Greenville, but there seems to be a level of cooperation (30 years in the making) there that is just not present in Columbia. Nightlife in Greenville attracts many demographics.

Second, the reason the downtown area is not "walkable" is not because of distance; there just aren't interesting, engaging walkways. There is a great thread on the urban planning sub-forum that discusses the term "walkability". Columbia is surprisingly hilly, but the reason people don't choose to walk is because there are very few confined, practical walking areas with unique storefronts and shade. Most people would gladly walk the length of Main Street, but would be reluctant to walk down Assembly. In general, people in Columbia just seem to be very hesitant to park in garages.

Third, the aesthetics of the downtown area need to be addressed. There are just a lot of vacant parking lots, concrete, and litter in the city.

Overall, I am glad to see the formation the City Center Partnership as they try promote the Main Street area as a workable and livable area.

Those is just an amateur's opinion. I am sure I left stuff out.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:26 PM
 
29,534 posts, read 27,006,827 times
Reputation: 18089
Quote:
Originally Posted by KendellH View Post
It seems like many of you are focusing on very specific things, which is fine. If we are talking about downtown Columbia, I think there are a number of things the city can improve upon.

First, it seems to me that the downtown area is currently a collection of competing districts with zero continuity. Five Points, the Vista, Main Street, North Main, Rosewood, Shandon, Forest Acres, etc. are entirely different neighborhoods and typically attract very distinct groups of people. I hate to bring up Greenville, but there seems to be a level of cooperation (30 years in the making) there that is just not present in Columbia. Nightlife in Greenville attracts many demographics.
I generally agree with you here, but I don't think the residential neighborhoods (Rosewood, Shandon, Forest Acres) should be lumped in with the commercial districts (Vista, Five Points, Main Street) since they serve different functions. As of now, I don't really see them competing as they all somewhat cater to different groups--Five Points the college crowd, the Vista an older crowd, and Main Street something of a mix of both (after the Hub is complete) plus the corporate crowd. That's not an issue really; it's just connecting the districts that are feasible to be connected, mainly Main Street and the Vista.

Quote:
Second, the reason the downtown area is not "walkable" is not because of distance; there just aren't interesting, engaging walkways. There is a great thread on the urban planning sub-forum that discusses the term "walkability". Columbia is surprisingly hilly, but the reason people don't choose to walk is because there are very few confined, practical walking areas with unique storefronts and shade. Most people would gladly walk the length of Main Street, but would be reluctant to walk down Assembly. In general, people in Columbia just seem to be very hesitant to park in garages.
Very true about Assembly, and this will have to change if the Vista is to be connected to Main. There won't be walkable development along the entire length of the street, but the potential is there near the critical intersections of Gervais and Lady. I think this can happen without taking away from the momentum happening along Main or Gervais.

Quote:
Third, the aesthetics of the downtown area need to be addressed. There are just a lot of vacant parking lots, concrete, and litter in the city.
The parking lots will disappear with new development. Not sure if I get the concrete reference since it's a city after all. I don't really think there's a problem with litter in most of downtown proper, although it may be a different story for other parts of the city (i.e., segments of Two Notch). Overall the city has been doing a good job in improving the aesthetics of downtown with a bunch of streetscaping projects that have taken place in recent years and currently under construction, new parks (Coble Plaza, the Esplanade at CanalSide), public art, etc.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:08 AM
 
Location: WI
3,819 posts, read 8,867,528 times
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maybe it's just me but i do think the distance between the areas can affect it's walkability. We've done it in the past when we first came down here on a visit , but wandering around for blocks in SC summer isnt always the most enjoyable pasttime lol. Now when we come in town, we may hit the Farmers tables and Mast's on Main st first, then drive over to one of the riverwalks for a stroll, then drive over to grab a cupcake or a lunch. But we find ourselves always driving from point to point. Not a big deal, but not the most convenient. And if we're always using the car to each stop, to me that sort of defeats the purpose of it all (then it's no different then us driving from one mall area on Harbison to another, etc)
I've often thought a trolley type shuttle could be a positive add-on downtown, even running over to the Five points area as well. That could make it easy to market the area so one could park once and spend the day in the city.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:19 AM
 
258 posts, read 378,411 times
Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KendellH View Post
First, it seems to me that the downtown area is currently a collection of competing districts with zero continuity. Five Points, the Vista, Main Street, North Main, Rosewood, Shandon, Forest Acres, etc. are entirely different neighborhoods and typically attract very distinct groups of people. I hate to bring up Greenville, but there seems to be a level of cooperation (30 years in the making) there that is just not present in Columbia. Nightlife in Greenville attracts many demographics.
It's true that Greenville has aimed most of their capital investment for dining and entertainment on Main St. which certainly magnifies it. But, as you point out, Columbia has many different options. That's a a good thing IMO.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:41 AM
 
91 posts, read 114,501 times
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I think a free shuttle that starts around the museums by the river goes up Gervais to Main, and then down to Main/Elmwood would help. It would be different in appearance from any of the other Comet buses and would stop throughout Gervais and Main streets. It would help establish that they are the connected core of downtown shopping and entertainment. I would also get rid of parking along Gervais and Main and use that for shuttle stops and expanded sidewalk.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,604 posts, read 13,706,660 times
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Besides connecting the different districts with psychological links such as more landscaping, wrought iron and brickwork, completed sidewalks, infill development, etc., The Comet, with its new transit director, is planning smaller buses on a more compact route within the "downtown" area. That connectivity will give Columbia a feel of a larger city, like DC for instance, with different self-sustaining urban neighborhoods having quick links among them. Columbia's a big ol' town in terms of its layout. The day it's tied together isn't too far off.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:48 AM
 
29,534 posts, read 27,006,827 times
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A downtown circulator sounds ideal right about now. Lots of cities have them, including DC:

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Old 10-16-2013, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,604 posts, read 13,706,660 times
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Here's a quick fix if I ever saw one. Columbia's IT workforce is about to swell tremendously.

Columbia Regional Business Report | Columbia, SC
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,604 posts, read 13,706,660 times
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Columbia IT-ology is on the ball.

IT-oLogy Program | Applied Computing Minor | Coursepower
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:36 PM
 
29,534 posts, read 27,006,827 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbiadata View Post
Here's a quick fix if I ever saw one. Columbia's IT workforce is about to swell tremendously.

Columbia Regional Business Report | Columbia, SC
Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbiadata View Post
That's good stuff. These are the types of initiatives the state commerce chief needs to throw his weight behind if he truly wants to see higher-wage jobs increase in the state. Manufacturing plants have their place, but they're not exactly helping to retain college graduates.
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