Main Street entrance arch proposal

Streck

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#1
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?
 

Streck

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#2
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.
 
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#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.
 

Streck

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#4
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?
 

Gedunker

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#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.:)
 

Streck

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#6
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.
 
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#7
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.
 

Suburb Repairman

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#13
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.
 
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#14
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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The One

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#15
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.
 
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#16
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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