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Old 02-26-2013, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 826,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificwhim View Post
...I'd suggest visiting KC in about six weeks when spring has sprung,
staying in Westport (puts you right in the center of things)...
That's a real possibility. Nothing beats seeing it.
But tell me, since I cannot travel now - what am I missing in the Winter- how harsh is it?
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:21 PM
 
376 posts, read 431,959 times
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I've only lived here through one winter, but so far, it's not that bad, and I say that as a native Californian. KC is south of cities with much harsher winters like Chicago and Minneapolis, not to mention Boston and New York. For instance, it's snowing as I type this, but it's about 30 out and not at all unpleasant. KC doesn't have the brutal winters of the Northeast.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 826,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificwhim View Post
KC doesn't have the brutal winters of the Northeast.
That is good to hear.
I spent 2 1/2 years in Chicago: three winters and two summers, and remember many cold days.
Though Chicag has plenty to offer, I am not keen to live there again, because of the harsh winters

Having said that, the rest of the year is great
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:20 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 826,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenokc View Post
Consentino's at 13th/Main
and several Asian/farmers markets near 5th/Grand.


I think i will use this ( Consentino's, 13th / Main ) as landmark around which to do some searching.

Walkscore : WS-94/ tr-87/ SS-97 : 97 !! that's some Street Score !



WALKSCORE / Central Bus. District
============
(In the area): WS-94/ tr-87/ SS-97 /
Groceries: Consentino's Mkt. : there
Coffee, Teadrops, Latteland-: 0.10, 0.10mi
Restaurants: 5 choices within: 0.10mi
Bars: Mosiac,Makers,Johnnys : 0.10mi
KC Convention Center------- : 0.24mi
Union Theatre-------------- : 0.26 mi
AMC Multi-cinema---------- : 0.29 mi
Park: Mill Creek Park-------- : 0.30mi
Book Store: KC Star-------- : 0.60mi

There's certainly plenty to do in the neighborhood - all within walking distance

Last edited by Geologic; 02-27-2013 at 02:39 AM..
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:10 AM
 
376 posts, read 431,959 times
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Again, don't rely on the Walkscore information. The KC Star isn't a bookstore, it's the production facility for the local daily newspaper. And Mill Creek Park is many miles south. That information is utterly wrong.

Cosentino's downtown is great, and the AMC has become an Alamo Drafthouse with a cool pub attached. But downtown in general is kinda dead at night. The Power & Light District is very commercial chain-based but fine if you're into clubs, bars, live music and expensive dining. But it's not local or authentic.

I think you'd be more pleased using Cosentino's as a central point for exploration but expanding your search to the Crossroads, River Market and Westside.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,712 posts, read 18,581,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geologic View Post
I am American, through and through, but have lived outside the US for most if the last two decades:
London and Hong Kong.

I am originally from Detroit. And have lived in: Boston, New York City, and Chicago over the years.

The lesser density will take some getting used to, so will
the wide roads, and speeding cars.

Still, it seems that KC may have most of what I am looking for, but I am on a steep learning curve right now.
Funny video. I will be the first to admit that Kansas City is essentially traffic free. There is some minor congestion (mostly brake tapping) on small stretches of some interstates that are no more than a ten minute delay and only happen for about an hour a day. But compared to almost any other major city of over 2 million people, KC is a walk in the park.

Having said that...

The traffic you see (or lack of traffic) in downtown KC is more result of the infrastructure and topography of downtown than a lack of traffic or people.

Downtown KC is very much like KCI airport. The airport feels much smaller and less used than it really is. When you use KCI airport, you would never know that it's a top 30 airport with over 10 million passengers a year. It feels tiny and mostly like a ghostown because there are very few areas that funnel people through common corridors. KCI doesn't even have common areas that everybody passes through like nearly ever other large airport and there are very few connecting passengers anyway.

Same with Downtown.

Downtown has 100,000 employees and 20,000 residents. When you look at any other downtown with similar numbers, you will generally find a much busier feeling downtown area even though it's the same amount of activity.

Reasons:

You are almost always just a couple of blocks from a freeway ramp in downtown KC. So that leads to very few miles of driving on surface streets to navigate downtown once you leave the freeway or parking garage. Most cities freeways funnel traffic into big and quite busy arterial streets that distribute traffic into the city. In other cities, the freeways have far less access and are not as close to the buildings. In KC, the freeways almost deliver cars directly to most of the parking garages because they are everywhere making the streets feel empty even during rush hour. And with so much parking so close to every office and few people using transit, pedestrian activity is scarce.

Downtown is on a bluff and surrounded by rivers and industrial districts. It's just not well connected to the urban fabric or the rest of KC so this leads to less arterial surface street traffic (and through traffic). Downtown is not really connected to the a grid of streets to the west or north because of the bluffs and rivers. If you want to go to Kansas or the Northland you must get on a freeway or bridge. So downtown is kind of a dead end and destination only type place. If you are driving from one part f the city to another even if only blocks from downtown like Old Northeast to the Westside, chances are you will use a freeway to do it.

Downtown is also spread out. The actual CBD of downtown is not very large, you have to add in the southern downtown area (Crown Center) for it to be comparable to other large downtowns of similar sized cities. So there is less focal point.

So, no surface street traffic. The only part of Downtown that even remotely get busy is Broadway between 70 and 670. Remember, busy in KC is not making the first cycle of a traffic signal.

Other than Broadway, the only other areas of congestion in downtown are around a few of the freeway entrypoints which is mostly caused by suburban commuters/tourists that don't know that there is another access point to the same freeway two blocks away. This is why KC has some pretty brutal congestion around the sprint center, convention center etc. during events, but rarely at any other time and when you get two blocks away you are all alone.

Bottom line is Downtown KC is not as dead as it appears. Just like KCI airport. Even if it is a very low congestion city.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,712 posts, read 18,581,602 times
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While the video is somewhat unfair to KC by focusing on the convention center area where there is very little traffic, I agree 100% with the what the guy is saying. I have been saying the same thing for many years and when in KC, it was difficult for me to not just laugh at the traffic studies we did for developments downtown. The Performing Arts Center went through 2 years of traffic studies to make sure cars had zero delay. A huge fail. Slow cars down and use all that capacity to have street parking. Why is everybody that goes to the PAC hidden in a garage under the center that is 100 feet from the ramps to I-35 and 670? This is something that KCMO needs to fix, but I’m not sure they can because people in KC do consider downtown congested and difficult to navigate. They really don’t have any idea. We went to the auto show in Washington DC last week and could not take a train because we were already in NoVA with the car (should have still parked and taken the train from somewhere). It took us 90 minutes to find a place to park and most of that delay was not looking for parking, but sitting is pure gridlock. We could have driven nearly home to the metrorail near our house and taken the train back into downtown in less time. That’s not good either, but it shows how much capacity downtown KC has.

To the person that made this video. Next time, visit the Country Club Plaza. It’s the opposite of this and is actually designed exactly how you are wishing downtown was, but your point has been made about downtown.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 826,357 times
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With wide streets like that - there's room for plenty of street life, and Alfresco dining.

Have you got that in KC?

Here's a look at the downtown part of Greenville SC, which has been called a great success:



"To the person that made this video. Next time, visit the Country Club Plaza. It’s the opposite of this and is actually designed exactly how you are wishing downtown was, but your point has been made about downtown."

Chuck made another video on KC, actually praising a parking facility:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obXv_-aycWo

But he did not think much of : The Blank Wall in the Crown Plaza, or the One-way Coupling

My own advice to Kansas City would be: you need to Downgrade the priority that you are giving to cars, and Upgrade the priority given to pedestrians. If you want a lively and thriving downtown: slow the cars down, narrow the walkways, and give more opportunities to pedestrians to enjoy the city. Take a look at other successful downtowns, like Greenville, and you can borrow the best parts.

Last edited by Geologic; 02-27-2013 at 08:20 PM..
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:29 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,121,135 times
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Not following the 'wide streets' comments. Downtown KC streets are narrower than average for the most part except for Grand and it's not as wide as say Houston in Manhattan. Broadway in KC is narrower than Bway in NYC. But they could be slowed down by making them two way as there are too many one way streets. It's debated often to get rid of most one way streets and a few were changed.

Can play back seat driver for any city but you need to visit KC before making recommendations. And yes, there are restaurants all over city with streetside patios, especially Plaza area.

Check out how downtown used to be. Much has been lost but the streets widths are still the same...
Early downtown KC pictures
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 826,357 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenokc View Post
Can play back seat driver for any city but you need to visit KC before making recommendations. And yes, there are restaurants all over city with streetside patios, especially Plaza area.
Those ideas and criticisms came mostly from Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns, when he visited KC an filmed his videos there. I posted one and it generated some interesting reactions, so I thought I would post more. (You will probably need to watch one or more to see his points.)

My own example of Greenville SC is commonly cited as a successful downtown.
If you have scenes like that in KC, I would be happy to learn where they are.

(I have found some of the city forums on CD to be super-sensitive. So far there's been the opposite here. It is not my intention to offend anyone, by making comparisons with other cities. I hope you can appreciate that KC is a long and expensive distance from HK. And I won't make the trip until I am fairly certain that I have a real reason to be there - beyond simple tourism.)

Finally, I do appreciate everyone's comments. And I have enjoyed reading them, and learning from them. (I have had 2-3 comments by DM from people who have said they like this thread. I have posted so many images and other information, because I am enjoying the two-way discussion and want to keep it going with rich and lively content.)

Last edited by Geologic; 02-27-2013 at 08:56 PM..
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