Urbanism, architecture, transit, strawmen, etc.

Come here to talk about topics that are not related to development, or even Kansas City.
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pash
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Urbanism, architecture, transit, strawmen, etc.

Post by pash » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:03 pm

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KCMax
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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by KCMax » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:13 pm

Cool idea. I've been posting links on the Rag Twitter page, but I'd like some discussion of them as well.
One study says we’ve built eight parking spots for every car in the country.
GUH! :shock: I just got back from Metcalf South Mall. What a sad, empty lot that is. There are probably 2-300 spots there that are NEVER occupied. And there certainly isn't the kind of entrepreneurial experiments like the mall in the article - although you'd think there might be. Its a pretty busy area. I wonder if there is more JoCo could do with it.

I'm fascinated by the Dutch planning philosophy of removing signs and markers. The book "Traffic" by Thomas Vanderbilt (which has some great stuff on the psychology of parking and traffic) has a great chapter devoted to Hans Monderman, who developed the movement.

Anyway, good article.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by coreyo » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:57 pm

I really like some of his comments about architects considering parking as part of the architecture and starting to look getting rid of old-school zoning laws requiring parking. I wouldn't go so far as call that public spaces. I'd say more about getting out of the way for business and architects to actually think about their parking situation and choosing on their own behalf.

Btw, on a side note, I got an e-mail from work saying that with the next tenant (apparently taking up 4 floors) in Town Pavilion that they expect the Town Pavilion parking garage to be over capacity and to remember the other $5 DT parking lots near by: City Center, Library Lofts and a close by surface lot on Grand.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by chaglang » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:26 pm

It got me thinking about the recent food truck craze that's going on here. If you were a vacant/parking lot owner who put in planters to provide some shade and informal seating, and maybe some metered power access, you could easily turn your lot into a great gathering place.

I also loved the Pensacola Parking Syndrome. It's nice to have a term for something I've wondered about for a long time - the where the balance is in the zero sum game of downtown surface lot "creation".

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by chaglang » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:26 pm

It got me thinking about the recent food truck craze that's going on here. If you were a vacant/parking lot owner who put in planters to provide some shade and informal seating, and maybe some metered power access, you could easily turn your lot into a great gathering place.

I also loved the Pensacola Parking Syndrome. It's nice to have a term for something I've wondered about for a long time - the where the balance is in the zero sum game of downtown surface lot "creation".

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by pash » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:14 pm

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by KCMax » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:16 pm

pash wrote:
It's also clear that PPS is caused not just by car culture, but is just one of the many inefficiencies created by the "separation of uses" that Jane Jacobs warned against so many years ago. You create "central businesses districts" and zone commercial out of residential areas and you end up with everybody parking one place during business hours and everybody parking another place nights and weekends. You need twice as much parking, and half of it is always empty.
Bingo. PPS has also taught people that parking must be right at the door and that anything more than a block walk is a major hassle.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by KCMax » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:34 am

Nothing shocking here.

What Neighborhoods Need to Succeed at Walkability
Our results show that the number of businesses per acre is the single most robust indicator of whether people are likely to walk in their neighborhood. We find that people living in neighborhoods with more business establishments per acre conduct more of their travel within their neighborhood and are more likely to travel by walking.

This suggests that walkable neighborhoods are often places where there are many nearby destinations. Measures that might correlate with large establishments—retail employment or sales—did not predict walking travel nearly as reliably as the number of businesses per acre, suggesting that the key is not simply sales but a large number and variety of businesses in a relatively small area.
The tricky part is that the business concentration needed to encourage walking appears to be larger than most neighborhood residential populations can support. Given that, suburban regions should focus both on fostering pedestrian centers and on knitting those centers together with transportation networks, though such networks need not accommodate only cars.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by pash » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:08 pm

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by KCMax » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:37 pm

pash wrote:The full paper on which the Atlantic Cities and Access articles are based is here [PDF].

On the population needed to support local businesses:
Retail sales in these two centres are approximately three to four times as large as what could be supported by the resident and employee base in the centres. Businesses in Riviera Village and Torrance Old Town import a substantial share of their customers from outside their study areas. For both centres, ERA (2008b) estimates that the commercial core serves a market area that is approximately three miles in radius.
But that should surprise no one. The surrounding areas are heavily residential, so of course the residents of those areas will have to do their shopping in the more commercialized Riviera Village and Torrance Old Town. If you want to promote walking over car travel, this suggests to men that you want a more uniform distribution of residential units and businesses. The trick is that to achieve that, you must condense residential, not spread out businesses.

In other words, I think the idea of "retrofitting the suburbs" for walkability is basically a non-starter. People are just too spread out not to drive. Yes, you can "urbanize" the suburbs by building more high-density housing and end up with more people walking. But the residents of the old, low-density housing stock will still be driving everywhere.
What do you think about an area like midtown KC where you have detached single family housing neighborhoods with corridors of more urban-style streets running through them?

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by pash » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:52 pm

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by pash » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:01 pm

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by chaglang » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:00 pm

pash wrote:Kansas City, Mo. overall comes in 43 out of the 50 largest American cities by average Walk Score.
Even at 43, I feel like KC's ranking is slightly inflated by WalkScore's counting of QuickieMarts as grocery stores and home business (like someone selling Silpada out of their house) as shops. Incidentally, those are the closest two "shopping" options to my house.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by slimwhitman » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:16 pm

pash wrote:By the way—this has been posted before—there's a neat website called Walk Score that quantifies the number of businesses and attractions within walking distance of any address. (It ties into Yelp's API.) There is a neat feature that draws a heat map of scores over a city—here's KC's.
My WalkScore in 80....and I live in O.P. :)

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by chingon » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:33 pm

chaglang wrote:
pash wrote:Kansas City, Mo. overall comes in 43 out of the 50 largest American cities by average Walk Score.
Even at 43, I feel like KC's ranking is slightly inflated by WalkScore's counting of QuickieMarts as grocery stores and home business (like someone selling Silpada out of their house) as shops. Incidentally, those are the closest two "shopping" options to my house.
But they do that everywhere. And there are a lot of bodega-style places in big cities that are less well-provisioned than he average QT.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by FangKC » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:57 pm

It's easier for someone in Manhattan, NYC, to get fruit and vegetables though than it is for someone living in many parts of the East Side. Most people in NYC don't buy those from chain grocery stores anyway, but the corner bodega. Most convenience stores don't carry them.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by pash » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:58 pm

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by chaglang » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:38 pm

chingon wrote:
chaglang wrote:
pash wrote:Kansas City, Mo. overall comes in 43 out of the 50 largest American cities by average Walk Score.
Even at 43, I feel like KC's ranking is slightly inflated by WalkScore's counting of QuickieMarts as grocery stores and home business (like someone selling Silpada out of their house) as shops. Incidentally, those are the closest two "shopping" options to my house.
But they do that everywhere. And there are a lot of bodega-style places in big cities that are less well-provisioned than he average QT.
Yeah, good point. In bigger cities the commercial density probably gives some redundancy that we don't have here in KC. I would trade the a QT for the local place at 39th and Troost in a heartbeat.

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by chingon » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:00 pm

FangKC wrote:Most people in NYC don't buy those from chain grocery stores anyway, but the corner bodega. Most convenience stores don't carry them.
I call bullshit. That's probably true among a pretty small demographic in a relatively small slice of Manhattan, but that is so patently false in most of the city (especially the boroughs and upper Manhattan), that there are large-scale public health initiatives to try to get fresh produce into bodegas. You might have got your produce there, and it might be common in lower Manhattan, but most bodegas have a very limitted supply of produce or even non-prepackaged goods.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Healthy Bodegas program seeks to make healthier food choices available in communities where fresh produce, whole grains, and low fat dairy products can be hard (or impossible) to find
Some people might say, "Healthy bodega--isn't that an oxymoron?"
Most of the food that's distributed to the bodegas now is the prepackaged convenience foods, the chips, the cookies

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Re: Urbanism, architecture, etc.

Post by earthling » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:44 pm

Can't really trust Walkscore. Before all the downtown development, 12th/Main scored 91. A few years later.. after P&L, grocery, movie theatre, bowling, a bit more retail, etc, the Walkscore improved by only one point to 92. Westport area scores a 95.

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