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Thread: Urban waterfronts - should they be public or private?

  1. #1
         
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    Urban waterfronts - should they be public or private?

    My firm is currently under contract to layout a 900 unit multi-family development & marina on a 62 acre site in Jacksonville, Florida. The site sits directly across from the Tallyrand Port Facilities on the St. Johns River, about a mile north of downtown, adjacent to Jacksonville University in an area called Arlington.

    Although we do mostly suburban oriented work, I'd like to keep that crap out of the inner city. I'm trying to convince my boss to add a public two lane street with limited parallel parking along the riverfront, similar to Charleston's Battery or Savannah's riverfront, instead of walling off the river with suburban townhomes featuring 2 car garages and driveways with 90 degree parking spaces. Unfortunately, he believes this is not feasible and the only reason these cities have layouts like that is because they are hundreds of years old.

    What is everyone's opinion regarding having a street parallel the river, verses walling it off with private townhomes? As a resident in one of these waterfront townhomes, would you rather your home be on the river or setback from it, with a narrow street and pedestrian promenade between the two?

    Are there any examples of recent urban developments that have public streets and promenades lining urban waterfronts?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ABS's avatar
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    I'd definitely keep the waterfront for all the people as a selling point for the development.
    Great mindless think alike.

    Planning my way out of wet paper bag since 2003

  3. #3
    We have a similar scenario here in Sandusky, OH on Lake Erie. We have kept a 10' multi-use path around the perimeter of the development (along the lake). It seems like roads that are directly against the water are used more for gawking than actual transportation. So we have kept public access to the water while still allowing single family condo units with great views of the lake (minus cars).
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  4. #4

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    I don't like either option. Putting cars on the waterfront is almost as bad as putting in a row of homes. Make it a public pedestrian space.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
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    Maybe a narrow road, with parking along the house-side. So you dont get the cars visually blocking the water off from the street. A one way street maybe? so it doesnt need to be wide enough for cars to pass each other. That would also limit it's use for actualy carrying traffic/making noisy and smelly.

    And second floor verandahs/decks, so you look over the street and cars, to the water.

  6. #6
         
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    With either option, there would be a riverwalk with themed lighting fixtures for public access. The road is needed to access the marina. So the debate is:

    1. Have a riverwalk paralleling the river, with townhomes fronting the walk. With this option a road would be built behind the riverfront townhomes and lining with 90 degree angled parking spaces and two car garages servicing the 100 riverfront townhomes and the 800 condo units behind them.

    2. Have a riverwalk, then a narrow road, with limited parallel parking and then rowhouse style units facing the street. Then behind them, add a small service drive to provide access to their garages, but hide them from the general public.

    The major problem I have with Option 1, is the 90 degree angled parking spots and the row of garages that would line the entry street. I believe this will the community the look and fill of a large apartment complex, while having a road with parallel parking will help give it more of an urban neighborhood feel.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes

    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    I don't like either option. Putting cars on the waterfront is almost as bad as putting in a row of homes. Make it a public pedestrian space.
    Lee Nellis is RIGHT....yet again.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Keep the riverfront public. What an asset the local commmunity would lose if developed. The potential to create a riverfront prominade on one side of the road for recreation, attraction and natural beauty with housing/mixed use on the other side of the road is the best option. The community would remain attractive with the natural assets while allowing an extended nightlife and vitality by construcing higher density development with the possibility of locating perhaps some restaurants/retail and having residetial above. This would complement the marina as a node of activity in the region while allowing the public to enjoy the projects benefits.


    Quote Originally posted by lakelander
    My firm is currently under contract to layout a 900 unit multi-family development & marina on a 62 acre site in Jacksonville, Florida. The site sits directly across from the Tallyrand Port Facilities on the St. Johns River, about a mile north of downtown, adjacent to Jacksonville University in an area called Arlington.

    Although we do mostly suburban oriented work, I'd like to keep that crap out of the inner city. I'm trying to convince my boss to add a public two lane street with limited parallel parking along the riverfront, similar to Charleston's Battery or Savannah's riverfront, instead of walling off the river with suburban townhomes featuring 2 car garages and driveways with 90 degree parking spaces. Unfortunately, he believes this is not feasible and the only reason these cities have layouts like that is because they are hundreds of years old.

    What is everyone's opinion regarding having a street parallel the river, verses walling it off with private townhomes? As a resident in one of these waterfront townhomes, would you rather your home be on the river or setback from it, with a narrow street and pedestrian promenade between the two?

    Are there any examples of recent urban developments that have public streets and promenades lining urban waterfronts?

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    South Miami Beach has an open waterfront and is not that old. You can tell that to your boss. Another advantage is that putting a street next to the water instead of homes reduces flooding risk for homes while not obstructing views.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by lakelander
    My firm is currently under contract to layout a 900 unit multi-family development & marina on a 62 acre site in Jacksonville, Florida. The site sits directly across from the Tallyrand Port Facilities on the St. Johns River, about a mile north of downtown, adjacent to Jacksonville University in an area called Arlington.

    Although we do mostly suburban oriented work, I'd like to keep that crap out of the inner city. I'm trying to convince my boss to add a public two lane street with limited parallel parking along the riverfront, similar to Charleston's Battery or Savannah's riverfront, instead of walling off the river with suburban townhomes featuring 2 car garages and driveways with 90 degree parking spaces. Unfortunately, he believes this is not feasible and the only reason these cities have layouts like that is because they are hundreds of years old.

    What is everyone's opinion regarding having a street parallel the river, verses walling it off with private townhomes? As a resident in one of these waterfront townhomes, would you rather your home be on the river or setback from it, with a narrow street and pedestrian promenade between the two?

    Are there any examples of recent urban developments that have public streets and promenades lining urban waterfronts?

    Thanks.

    The river should be an attraction. Let it, and perhaps one perpendicular street, serve as the "High Street" of the development.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Keep it public.............unlike what's going on here

    Moderator note:
    (NHPlanner) Final warning about off topic discussions outside of the FAC (see two deleted posts below).....suspensions are up next.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 11 Aug 2005 at 1:57 PM.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  12. #12
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    I don't like either option. Putting cars on the waterfront is almost as bad as putting in a row of homes. Make it a public pedestrian space.
    I dont know, I like to drive along a waterfront. It feels 'scenic' and gives the areas flavor. I mean, who walks anymore anyways? (despite the winky, I am both serious and sarcastic).
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    There is no reason that cars and pedestrians cannot coexist on the waterfront. Just be sure to make it a narrow road with on street parking, and try to avoid making it an artery. Make it someplace that people go to, not through.

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Keep it public, but I'm not sure you want parallel parking all along it because it will detract somewhat from the waterfront & streetscape. If you must have parking along the road, limit it to the side with the housing. Lee is really right though that neither option is ideal.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
         
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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Moderator note:
    (Tranplanner) Thread closed - question answered.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 11 Aug 2005 at 1:56 PM.

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