Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Arcade D Day Coming Up

On January 23, the City Commissioners will decide whether to remove the option of allowing arcades over the public sidewalk, along with the developer "incentive" of 3 stories of habitable space above the arcade (also over public space).

Save Our Sarasota has opposed allowing arcades over public sidewalks because it takes away light, air, and space that belong to all of us. Arcades preclude the existence of shade trees. Arcades also worsen the canyon effect that will exist downtown as more 10 story buildings are built. This will make the street seem even narrower as well as lessen the length of time each day that sunlight will shine through to the street.

Shade trees are a necessary key for an enjoyable pedestrian environment; they give shade in the summer, filtered sunlight in the winter, they soften the concrete facades of the buildings, they muffle sound, they improve air quality.

Trees are a hallmark of towns and small cities. We need trees in our downtown.

We would ask all that are interested in making sure that arcades are not allowed to cover the public sidewalk attend the Commission hearing at City Hall on Monday Jan 23 and let the Commissioners know your wishes.

You could also call or write Commissioners.

Contact information is at the City website. You can call 954-4115 and leave a message for all Commissioners. E-mail addresses are:

Mary Anne Servian
Fredd Atkins
Danny Bilyeu
Lou Ann Palmer
Ken Shelin

Arcades may be OK on private property, but they are not OK when they cover public sidewalks.

Do your part and tell the Commissioners to remove the option of arcades over the public sidewalk from the Downtown Code.


Anonymous said...

arcades are pretty good when it is raining... it does that alot around here.. no?

downtown walker

Anonymous said...

The only people that do not like arcades are ones that have never been to the great cities that have them. What closed minded people to think they are bad, even if over public side walks. Your examples you show people to get them to sign your petition is a gross over dramatization and very irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Please! I do enjoy the arcades in the great European cities. However, most of them are at the edge of large public spaces...piazzas, opposed to Sarasota's narrow streets, and they are not topped by 10-18 story buildings.

I prefer to live in Sarasota, not Disney Old World.

P.S. Awnings have protected me from the rain in downtown Sarasota for years. And also allowed me to enjoy the sun. It rains a lot in Seattle. Never considered rain a problem in Sarasota.

Gretchen Serrie said...

To Anonymous 9:15 pm - Please refer to the op-ed piece by eminent Sarasota architect Carl Abbott in yesterday's Sarasota Herald Tribune. He wrote:

"Arcades are not only opposed by the ‘Save Our Sarasota Group’ (as listed in your recent article) they are also opposed by a number of professional groups including the Gulf Coast Chapter of the AIA Government Affairs Committee, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation and a large group of architects from all over Florida who took part in a study charrette on this Sarasota Downtown Code."

I doubt you would characterize all of these professionals as irresponsible or closed minded.

Anonymous said...

I too feel I must respond to 9:15's blog. First of all I am an architect in Sarasota and one of the state wide group of architects that participated in the design charette this blog speaks of. arcades, as the previous post correctly identifies, are evident and effective tools in other parts of the world but the scale and locale have a lot to do with thier beauty. The issues the architects took exception to when considering arcades in Sarasota- especially Main Street- was that the street is too narrow to support their use and the accompanying 3 stories of massing on top of them without creating a tunnel or canyon effect. Additionally, virtually all the existing trees would have to be removed to accomodate them. I have seen the image that you mention and am quite familiar with the process by which images such as these are produced, and I do not take exception what the SOS people have presented. And one further thing- I neither consider myself close minded or someone that has not traveled extensively.

Anonymous said...

I am in support of anything, including arcades, that accelerates the pace of development in downtown Sarasota.

Furthermore, I propose that the density allowed via the arcades be dedicated to affordable housing and homeless shelters.

Finally, approval of any project which envisions the use of arcades should be contingent on the developer making a contribution to a fund that researchs the causes of Red Tide.

Did I leave anything out?

Anonymous said...

Arcades may be the perfect place for the homeless to spend a night.

Anonymous said...

I understand the Homeless Coalition will be fighting for arcades . Have you heard this?