Sunday, January 14, 2007

Duany Returns

Andres Duany returned to Sarasota last week, ostensibly to review Sarasota's progress towards a pedestrian friendly, human scale downtown as envisioned in our Downtown Master Plan that was enacted in 2001.

A public forum provided a platform for his views and remarks. The SHT story is here.

Some of his comments:
  • The pace of change is extraordinary.
  • The connection of downtown to the bayfront must be a priority, slowing traffic is a key element.
  • One element of dysfunctional planning is that the decision makers have not become "experts", that is understanding the basic principles of planning and design.
  • Sarasota is well structured (historical layout) for walkable downtown neighborhoods.
  • The Master Plan intended to have free standing parking structures, not to force developers to provide parking - this allows smaller buildings - cannot retrofit the downtown, must get garages now.
  • One problem is that Sarasota is getting only mega-projects.
  • A well designed bus system will do wonders for downtown.
  • When Sarasota Bayside is completed (Quay), Main Street will take a big hit. Must start upgrading these stores now.
  • New hurricane codes have made housing very expensive. Must get affordable housing downtown.
  • The planning staff in Sarasota is very good.

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