5/21/2010

NYPA Visit

Posted by MJ



LUSJ reported on NYPA president Richard Kessel's visit with Mayor Tucker.

I commend Tucker for initiating this meeting and would applaud him if he were able to obtain the money. I disagree on the what we could expect from the finished project. I do not doubt that we would attract even more heritage tourists. I just doubt that they would be enough to sustain new businesses all by themselves.

Buffalo is in a similar situation with the area around the unearthed Erie Canal Terminus. They are grand plans being sold to us as game changers. History has shown us that these rarely change the game for us. The most successful urban areas around here are not those with the fancy projects. They are the ones that provide an honest urban nvironment with a mixture of housing, retail, and business. For some reason we never plan for that and if we do, we never enact that plan into law.

I've mentioned before what I believe will prohibit the redevelopment of Canal St:
  • Blocked off to traffic - people like to see activity and drive past a place before they stop to check it out. Pedestrians like to feel activity around them.
  • Missing teeth - pedestrians do not like to walk past large stretches of empty space. There might as well be a dead end wall.
  • Three retail store fronts - Two are at one end and the other is all the way at the opposite end. Not enough for pedestrian density
  • The gazebo plot - Parks are nice but they need density around them to be useful. Otherwise they are just another part (albeit prettier) of a desolate looking area.
  • Old Harrison building - has no store frontage. It might as well be a blank wall to people passing by, even if it had shops in it.
  • No residential - Even when we do draw more visitors, who else will be available in the off season to make is possible for the businesses to exist for more than half a year?
My thoughts:
  • Use the money to create jobs first. See last post on topic. But if not:
  • Get the state to vote to allow the Gazebo to be moved and plan for mixed use infill similar to the new IS loft development in Buffalo. It would help create the continuous retail street scape and supply consumers/street life through its year-round residents.
  • Plan the Old Harrison Building as residential. For the same reason as the last.
  • Open up the street to one-way traffic as a minimum.
  • Update the Master Plan from 1998 and make it law. It's presence gave us Ulrich City Center (only missing a mixed use). It's lack of being law gave us Family Video. It also probits others from securely investing in a shared (and binding) vision.

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