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Thread: Main Street entrance arch proposal

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Main Street entrance arch proposal

    Some of our city fathers are proposing a "beautiful" arch over our Main Street entrance to the unofficial historic district of our city.

    Do you have any thoughts or recommendations on this?

    Do you have any good or bad examples as to what would be good or bad to do?

    As further information on the setting, we are a suburb city of currently 25,000 and growing. We have recently constructed a nice four lane "by-pass" that avoids going "down town" to our small two lane "historic" district with informal large oak trees and a few old houses that are near a hundred years old, but have not been designated as "historic." Some old business buildings are also on Main Street, but are not "historic" (yet).

    There is a long range plan to create a true historic district with a master plan, but this appears to be a relatively long range plan, given the current business cycle.

    One of the main draws that the city fathers would like to capitalize on (in addition to promoting the concept of creating an "old town" historic district), is that the current Visitors' Center occupies a former "stand alone" old painted white wooden church about one half block down Main Street. The only other structures in the immediate area are an old wooden house across the street, and a couple of nice old houses about a half block away, and a "pottery barn" (business) on the next corner, then other small shops.

    We really don't have a proper "historic district" yet, but the concept and special "old town" zoning is there.

    Are there disadvantages to having an arch?

    What should be things that should be included in a proper "entrance-way" or archway setting?

    Any bad or unanticipated consequences to such an archway entrance?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Although not what I was looking for, I found this resource on "College Campus Gateways."

    There are a couple of archways. Any comments?

    Some "Gateways" are just major buildings. Not what I was looking for.

    Still looking for commentaries on archways.

  3. #3

    Gateways

    Round Rock TX just placed two on Mays St for the downtown entrance..........really looks cool (I know is a 70's thing) and Taylor is setting up to design theirs. I think its great if designed properly. Round Rock's is more of an archway over the street.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    johnelsden

    Round Rock TX just placed two on Mays St for the downtown entrance..........really looks cool (I know is a 70's thing) and Taylor is setting up to design theirs. I think its great if designed properly. Round Rock's is more of an archway over the street.
    I could not find images of those two when I went to the Round Rock TX site. Can you show the images?

  5. #5
    An archway over the street is really oriented toward the automobile and not pedestrians/bicyclists. Is the automobile what your town wants to cater to, or do you want folks to get out of their cars and walk around a bit? Maybe stop in the pottery barn and purchase some knick-knacks?

    A couple of well-scaled obelisks with your town's name carved in them, lighted at night, can also serve as a gateway, for example. Moms and dads will walk over to them and take their kids pictures in front of them and what not. You could have interpretive signs here and there, or a walking tour brochure readily available, or an app they can download on their phones.

    People want to have experiences. That's harder to do in a vehicle. Give them a reason to get out of their cars, and they will.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    A couple of well-scaled obelisks with your town's name carved in them, lighted at night, can also serve as a gateway, for example. Moms and dads will walk over to them and take their kids pictures in front of them and what not. You could have interpretive signs here and there, or a walking tour brochure readily available, or an app they can download on their phones.
    Excellent points!

    An adjacent city has such "obelisks" or monuments scattered throughout its community and it tends to give unity to the diverse sections of the town.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    From an Urban Design perspective, you want to create an orienting and locating element that identifies your historic old town and sets it aside as something special. This could be an arch, a sign, or series of obelisks, or a promenade/landscaping, etc. If you're looking for bang for the buck, then a really well designed landscape with an unique sign that conveys your city's heritage is the way to go. But you can't just drop in a single element alone and expect it to transform everything - you aren't going to build the pyramids of giza after all. I guess what I'm saying is: think holistically, not just a single item because that just tends to look knick-knacky.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Round Rock Memorial archway:

    http://kxan.com/2017/01/22/round-roc...-immortal-ten/



    This is a memorial archway that just says "Downtown" in big letters.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    If you haven't already, check out main street america: http://www.mainstreet.org/main-stree...-approach.html

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Ringo's avatar
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    I believe a marker to identify a district is a positive thing and can contribute to a district identity. what comes to mind is something of the sort of the Oregon District in Dayton https://www.google.com/search?q=dayt...THJ0mERAlcqpM:

    this can be a generic entrance and marker, maybe you can relate to the history of your city when choosing a district entrance.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Google images of Fresno CA. A cool historic arch.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Thanks for the reference to Fresno. That is exactly what I was afraid of.

  13. #13
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mercdude View post
    From an Urban Design perspective, you want to create an orienting and locating element that identifies your historic old town and sets it aside as something special. This could be an arch, a sign, or series of obelisks, or a promenade/landscaping, etc. If you're looking for bang for the buck, then a really well designed landscape with an unique sign that conveys your city's heritage is the way to go. But you can't just drop in a single element alone and expect it to transform everything - you aren't going to build the pyramids of giza after all. I guess what I'm saying is: think holistically, not just a single item because that just tends to look knick-knacky.
    This is good advice.

    These arch signs are kind of a trendy thing right now, it seems. I'm not really a fan of them unless they are something truly unique and adequately address pedestrian interaction. I'm a fan of lots of small interventions & touches over single giant monuments. Thoughtful landscape elements, a human-scale & unique sign monument, and then converting all of your street/traffic control signs to decorative models does a lot more to tie a district together than an arch over a roadway (apologies to Fresno). Dress up the public spaces. Plus, those smaller interventions can be done incrementally.

    "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)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    This is good advice.

    These arch signs are kind of a trendy thing right now, it seems. I'm not really a fan of them unless they are something truly unique and adequately address pedestrian interaction. I'm a fan of lots of small interventions & touches over single giant monuments. Thoughtful landscape elements, a human-scale & unique sign monument, and then converting all of your street/traffic control signs to decorative models does a lot more to tie a district together than an arch over a roadway (apologies to Fresno). Dress up the public spaces. Plus, those smaller interventions can be done incrementally.
    Tying an area together is much better than an arch. I'm not a fan of the arches in any of the cities listed honestly. A good banner program would probably have worked better and been less expensive.


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  15. #15
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Not a big fan....

    If you must have an entry arch.....just cover the entry lanes going into the district. Not the entire right-of-way!
    If the area qualifies for historic district designation GET IT DONE! Added value.
    Minimal mass is better for the arch...be careful choosing the architect.
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Add me to the list of those who aren't fans of the arch. They have a tendency to become dated and really do nothing to enhance the historic character of a quaint downtown. I much prefer obelisks and other ground-level features that are oriented toward pedestrians and are placed throughout so as to tie a whole area together, rather than just making an in-your-face statement on the edge of downtown.

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