Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Future Vision

Here is a photo of Main looking west from the intersection of Orange.

Here's a rendering of the future view from this same spot.

What's different? In the future view we see the effect of our new Downtown Code. We have 10 story buildings with the option of an arcade over the sidewalk that has 3 stories of habitable space above it.

Do you get the feeling you are in a canyon? How much sky is lost? Where are the trees? Does this look pedestrian friendly? Does it approach a "human scale?"

How does this compare to the original vision from our Downtown Master Plan?

Here's that vision as presented by Duany (different view, this is from Main and Palm looking east).

Again, what's different there? First there are no arcades out to the edge of the sidewalk, second there is a step back at the fourth story of the building and third there are trees and awnings. The lack of arcades and the fourth story step back significantly reduces the canyon effect and allows more light. The presence of awnings and trees provides much needed visual diversity - the scene is softened and less harsh. The streetscape is closer to a human scale and presents a much more inviting and friendly feeling.

We think the city planners and decision makers will make a big mistake if they continue to allow the option of including arcades either with or without habitable space above the sidewalk. We need the sidewalk space for air, light and trees. Trees and awnings provide adequate protection from harsh sun and rain when present. During winter months the warmth from the sun is welcomed by pedestrians. Most importantly the human scale of trees and awnings enhance the pedestrian experience.

We urge our city planners and decision makers to remove the arcade option from the downtown code.


Anonymous said...

Arcades are beautiful and a great thing for cities, really useful for hot cities like ours to keep the sun/rain off us. It would not look like the drawing you posted but I guess you are going for shock value.

Anonymous said...

Just check out 1350 Main Street if you want to know what arcades will look like. See how incompatible they are with historic
Palm Avenue and take a look across the street from Sarasota News and Books. That view of arcades has more "shock value" than any drawing. That is reality and it is the future of our once lovely city. Thank you for this posting.

Anonymous said...

We do not need arcades with three stories of habitable space above to protect us from the sun and rain. Trees, awnings, and galleries can do the job quite nicely without creating arid canyons in our downtown.

Anonymous said...

If the choice is between trees or arcades, whoever would choose arcades?

We're told Sarasota will look like European cities. I seem to remember broad tree-lined boulevards, magnificent large piazzas that are great public spaces, tree- and flower-filled gardens, parks and squares. Arcades are not strong memories or what draw me to the great European cities.

On our narrow streets and with so few public spaces, we can't create a Disney Europe, nor should we want to.

Anonymous said...

The most important reason to be wary of arcades is that "They Are Forever." Plant the wrong tree, and you can replant. Put up the wrong awnings or can take them down and start over. If arcades don't work out, with three stories of habitable space above, they are part of the structure of a building and can't be removed during the life of the building.

Previously, most downtown properties had one individual or a corporation. The new condo buildings have many owners and will be around until 80% of the owners vote to sell.

So the decision to allow arcades is not short-term. City officials must be absolutely certain arcades are the right decision, because it is one we will live with for many, many years.

As for the first comment about "shock value"...the graphic obviously depicts total buildout. However, what we now see downtown is very deceptive, because the view of the tall buildings is mitigated by the charm of the low buildings and trees still there. When they are torn down and the properties redeveloped, the emerging height and mass in our downtown will really have shock value.

Anonymous said...

Saying nothing good or bad about arcades, this picture bears no relationship whatsoever to any probable reality. Clearly it is about shock value, no wonder people are signing petitions. Whatever happened to intellectual honesty? You people should be ashamed - it is very informative that you are not.