Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:14 am

Not every project has to be a big project.

So what are the little things, done a few at a time, that would improve downtown?


For me the most basic would be more trees and canopies. Some method to encourage businesses to install more of these has a ton of value to people that walk around downtown, especially when it's raining.

geeman68
Western Auto Lofts
Western Auto Lofts
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:22 am
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by geeman68 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:32 am

flyingember wrote:Not every project has to be a big project.

So what are the little things, done a few at a time, that would improve downtown?


For me the most basic would be more trees and canopies. Some method to encourage businesses to install more of these has a ton of value to people that walk around downtown, especially when it's raining.
I would love it if Grand Blvd had a median with trees in the center as well as lined on both sides.

flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:05 am

public restroom access. deals with businesses/buildings to open up their restrooms. it's one of those things that seems mundane, but has ton of value when you have little kids with you

this would be hugely family friendly thing for DNA to organize

bobbyhawks
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3867
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 1:19 pm

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by bobbyhawks » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:16 am

flyingember wrote:public restroom access. deals with businesses/buildings to open up their restrooms. it's one of those things that seems mundane, but has ton of value when you have little kids with you

this would be hugely family friendly thing for DNA to organize
I am very naive when it comes to this topic. How does this work in other urban areas? My initial impression is that businesses would not like it, and having to maintain reasonably clean bathrooms for random non-paying patrons would be a pretty big pain.

As far as suggestions, I'd like to see a bunch of waypoint/you-are-here maps with a few attractions identified throughout the entire River to Crown area. Ideally, there would be a QR code for a corresponding app to help connect you to things, but that is getting to the bigger things territory.

flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:33 am

in some places there's actually laws on the books that no one can be refused rights to use the restrooms if you place is otherwise public. basic human decency for a mandatory action and all that.

I generally don't like mandates when alternatives exist which is why I went with volunteer, a place that allows this is also bringing people into their shop. you don't need everyone to volunteer for it to work, and it can include places that already have this perk. just having the places that do have public restrooms today on a map would be beneficial by itself

there's also this in NYC, but I bet we don't have the foot traffic to make the math work
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/flush- ... 2014-02-19

imagine if at each streetcar stop and major bus stops there was a sign "nearest public restroom at X"
if we want a pedestrian-focused city we need to think about all destinations one might need if they're on foot. and to me, when you need a restroom, you need one immediately.
Last edited by flyingember on Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
slimwhitman
New York Life
New York Life
Posts: 492
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:29 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by slimwhitman » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:34 am

Not downtown, but in Westport:
I have been dying to calm Mill Street from its current car sewer design. I want to turn the stop light at Westport Road into a 4-way stop sign. Remove the center turn lane. Add parallel parking on both sides. That is just my quick fix. I also want to move the curb inbound 6’ on both sides and add street trees and a brick amenity zone to match other Westport streets. Mill is currently 47’ wide, curb face to curb face. This would make it 35’ wide, still a couple feet wider than Pennsylvania St, the next street over.

This is just a start of the greater Westport streetscape masterplan rumbling thru my head.

flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:40 am

storm shelters.

what does someone do if they're out walking and the tornado sirens start? the more people we draw downtown, the more we need to think about the basics

think of those safety place signs where kids can go if they feel in trouble or the fallout shelter signs you still sometimes see. could have a similar voluntary program where buildings put up "public storm shelter' placards at their public entrances.

it's super minor but in an emergency it could be life saving. and it makes the urban environment feel a little bit safer for someone to visit

User avatar
taxi
Valencia Place
Valencia Place
Posts: 1703
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:32 am
Location: North End
Contact:

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by taxi » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:28 pm

Clearly, a combination public bathroom/storm shelter is the most tactical.

flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:32 pm

taxi wrote:Clearly, a combination public bathroom/storm shelter is the most tactical.
I've seen that done. place the restroom in the middle of the building for easy access, it has load bearing walls because you want your major pipes on a wall you won't tear out, and thus it's a storm shelter

loftguy
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3850
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:12 pm

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by loftguy » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:49 pm

flyingember wrote:storm shelters.

what does someone do if they're out walking and the tornado sirens start? the more people we draw downtown, the more we need to think about the basics

think of those safety place signs where kids can go if they feel in trouble or the fallout shelter signs you still sometimes see. could have a similar voluntary program where buildings put up "public storm shelter' placards at their public entrances.

it's super minor but in an emergency it could be life saving. and it makes the urban environment feel a little bit safer for someone to visit
Hmmm. There's a question that passes my way each May and June.

It begins with our history. In 1886, a tornado destroyed many buildings, small and large. A section of the Hannibal bridge was destroyed and dozens died along its path from Quality Hill through the heart of the River Market.

An F-5 tornado plows through downtown today, what does the city look like, following?

One Kansas City Place obviously no longer has a glass curtain in place and a few hundred window-grade attorneys have taken flying lessons. Is an F-5 capable of taking down the entire skyscraper with a direct hit?

What is 'safe' in such circumstance? A basement shelter in a multi-story building seems to be a potential tomb.

pash
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3801
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:47 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by pash » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:53 pm

.
Last edited by pash on Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
taxi
Valencia Place
Valencia Place
Posts: 1703
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:32 am
Location: North End
Contact:

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by taxi » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:43 pm

pash wrote:
taxi wrote:Clearly, a combination public bathroom/storm shelter is the most tactical.
Do I smell a triple-play bus trolley shelter design blowing in?
Million dollah idea!

flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:59 pm

loftguy wrote: What is 'safe' in such circumstance? A basement shelter in a multi-story building seems to be a potential tomb.
that is a good urban design question.

I doubt anyone downtown would be safe with a super-strong tornado today, but I'm not sure anyone could make the case to spend what it takes to protect from those. "Tomb" seems accurate.

But ~96% of tornados are up to F2. For me, it's a no-brainer to have a place where people can get out of broken glass, falling bricks, pieces of wood, moving cars and the like. We can protect from those things today. The tornado could never get to your street directly and the tornado sending debris outwards with buildings creating a wind tunnel could be deadly multiple streets over.

http://www.tornadoproject.com/cellar/fscale.htm
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/f-scale.html

User avatar
FangKC
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14280
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 10:02 pm
Location: Old Northeast -- Indian Mound

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by FangKC » Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:01 pm

When I lived near 9th and Washington on Quality Hill, the apartments didn't have a basement level. If I had the forewarning, my tornado plan was always to run over to the State Street parking garage and go into the below-grade level up against the bluff.

aknowledgeableperson
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 12257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:31 pm

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:54 am

flyingember wrote:storm shelters.

what does someone do if they're out walking and the tornado sirens start? the more people we draw downtown, the more we need to think about the basics

think of those safety place signs where kids can go if they feel in trouble or the fallout shelter signs you still sometimes see. could have a similar voluntary program where buildings put up "public storm shelter' placards at their public entrances.

it's super minor but in an emergency it could be life saving. and it makes the urban environment feel a little bit safer for someone to visit
Not sure of the status now but back in the Cold War days there were emergency bomb shelters all over the place. And, of course, signs telling the public a "bomb" shelter was here.

User avatar
beautyfromashes
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4836
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:04 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by beautyfromashes » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:29 am

I'm so confused by this thread. Wouldn't every building downtown have a place to find cover in the event of a tornado? Don't all restaurants and public spaces have restrooms downtown?

User avatar
rxlexi
Penntower
Penntower
Posts: 2052
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 10:30 pm
Location: City Market

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by rxlexi » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:11 pm

Interesting thread. I really enjoy the Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project and their attempts at placing public artworks or events in unused retail space around downtown. I'd like to see a lot more of this.

A fairly recent example was the artist residency in the ground-floor windows of the Jenkins Music Building facade. These narrow spaces are likely difficult if not impossible to lease, so let's place a rotating gallery or art space there and activate that heavily travelled sidewalk.

It would be great to see vacant or underused street front retail repurposed as gallery, performance, or just plain weird project space across the urban core. Well-lit, vibrant projects that create a sense of place, enhance the pedestrian experience, and provide the perception of "occupied" space, while potentially providing modest exposure for local artists or craftsmen.

flyingember
One Park Place
One Park Place
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by flyingember » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:40 pm

beautyfromashes wrote:I'm so confused by this thread. Wouldn't every building downtown have a place to find cover in the event of a tornado? Don't all restaurants and public spaces have restrooms downtown?
Not necessarily. Like if you're a visitor standing outside a bunch of secured buildings, which are rather common, where do you go? Not all buildings have empty basements with rooms for dozens or hundreds of people (latter being for a convention)

and many restrooms are for paying customers only

User avatar
FangKC
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14280
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 10:02 pm
Location: Old Northeast -- Indian Mound

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by FangKC » Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:42 am

The most logical, and safest place to go downtown, in the event of a F-5 tornado would be any of the subterranean public parking garages. I think the one under the Power & Light District near 13th and Grand goes down five levels beneath the street. Those garages could hold hundreds of people without a problem.

http://tinyurl.com/ovcsoul

Another good place would be the basement vault area in the downtown public library.

City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse are public buildings, and have underground levels. Same with Union Station.

It just depends on how much forewarning one has, and time to get to one of these locations.

User avatar
beautyfromashes
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4836
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:04 am

Re: Downtown and Tactical Urbanism

Post by beautyfromashes » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:14 am

flyingember wrote:
beautyfromashes wrote: and many restrooms are for paying customers only
I wouldn't think any retail establishment with a restroom downtown would keep anyone, except a vagrant, from using their restroom.

Post Reply