She was alright when she left here…

27 01 2008

An interesting Time Magazine article about design plans to revitalize the old Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland into a residential and commercial center.  The largest waterfront redevelopment in Europe if approved.

Check it out!





Peachtree Streetcar in Atlanta

24 01 2008

An interesting article about efforts to run a streetcar down Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA.  What’s interesting is how they plan to fund it…by raising taxes along the streetcar’s route.  It goes before the public soon.

The article.





Rail-to-Trails: Seaboard Air Line Railroad Trail – Chesterfield County

19 12 2007

Was looking through a book about hiking trails made from abandoned railroads.  What a great idea!  It’s being done all over the nation, and here in Virginia there are some popular ones in the western part of the state and around Washington.

It got me thinking…this idea could be done here in Richmond.  We have several old rail lines and abandoned railbeds that could be converted into hiking trails.

The first that hit me was the old Seaboard Air Line Railroad through Chesterfield.  The line was abandoned in the 60s I believe.  It runs just over 13 miles from Centralia to Petersburg. 

I’ve marked it on maps.live.com page.





Richmond should take notes from Alexandria…

10 12 2007

The Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s website had an article today about the City of Alexandria in Northern Virginia.  It’s an interesting article about how Alexandria a long time ago decided to capitalize on its history.  Something Richmond needs to do, but due to…..ignorance….has not.

http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/entertainment.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2007-12-10-0002.html





Richmond Master Plan…or…We can make a fancy book and so can you!

27 11 2007

This week the City of Richmond released their draft of the Downtown Master Plan.  The lengthy description covers things like transportation, housing, recreation and the like.

A lot of items in the plan are good…some are questionable, but okay we’ll go along…and others…well, we’ll see.

I have no idea if turning one way streets to two way streets is even worth the effort.  There are those who know better than I.  Planting trees and improving the street-scape will never hurt.  I love the idea of bringing back the streetcar.  I’d use it. 

The plan calls for Mayo’s Island to become a park and incorporated into the James River Park System.  This would be awesome, and perhaps better than developing it.  Development is probably not likely due to it being in the middle of the river beyond the protection of the flood wall. 

Magnificent renderings of downtown scenes are featured in this book:

Marshall Street

Above: The Future of Marshall Street?  Why not?

Below: The renewal of Hull Street in Manchester, which is now considered “downtown”…

Hull Street

 Two items that struck me…

One: the desire of the city to have a signature building at the northern end of the Manchester Bridge (see below):

manchesterbridgejpg.png

 …and secondly…

usszuni.jpg

This is most interesting to me.  Apparently there’s a movement (unknown how intense and/or serious) to have the USS Zuni, a World War II vessel, to dock at Richmond as a permanent fixture downtown.  This would be tremendous, awesome and fantastic all at the same time.

Bottom line…

Any and all parts of this would not hurt the city.  But would it be good for the city?  Perhaps.  I have been very optimistic about the city’s future…in spite of itself.  Richmond is a unique place in this nation.  Faced with the same challenges as any other comparable city, we seem to have a slightly different spirit than most.  It is difficult to explain.

The City really needs to embrace its history while at the same time focus on its future.  The opportunities are endless if those in charge can figure out this balance. 

 I wish this plan well and hope that the ones who will implement it will have success.

I’m hopeful.





The need to be pedestrian friendly.

8 10 2007

The Richmond Times-Dispatch today had an article about a gentleman’s successful efforts to have sidewalks installed along Brook Road in the vicinity of Parham Road.  This is an extremely busy intersection and you do quite often see people attempting to walk, ride and maneuver the area.

In follow up to my post yesterday, I’d also have to say that the need to make areas pedestrian friendly is as paramount as providing adequate public transportation.  You need a way to get to the bus stop if there’s to be a bus stop.

Not only that, but in certain areas it is down right stupid to constantly have to get in your car and relocate to a parking lot just 200 feet away when you could easily walk.  Such is the case of Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville.  With the influx of development along this stretch of road from US 360 to VA 156, it seems logical to install sidewalks so people can take advantage of all the shopping and not have to risk life and limb and travel on Bell Creek Road, aka the Autobahn of Richmond.

I hope that one day the Hanover County Board of Supervisors will acknowledge that it would make more sense to install sidewalks than to have people walking on the shoulder of the road or in the travel lane itself.  This would also be the case for Mechanicsville Turnpike.

People won’t rely less on their cars until they’re given a realistic alternative.





Westhaven Towne Center – Mechanicsville, VA

2 10 2007

Heading back to work after lunch yesterday, I noticed a new sign up in the field across from Kroger on Creighton Parkway.  It advertised a development named Westhaven Towne Center.  As soon as I got to a computer that day, I researched about it and found a site with info. 

westhaventownecenter.jpg

If this development is built as planned, it will be a phenominal place to live, work and shop.  It’s very similar to the concept of Chester Village Green in Chester, and I’m excited about the prospect of it being here in Mechanicsville. 

I emailed one of the contacts at Thalhimer Real Estate who’s developing the site and was told that “dirt could move soon” at this site depending on how leasing goes.  This is the perfect spot for a Barnes & Noble.  That kind of retailer would fit right in.

This is a spot that will be watched closely to see how it develops.