Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Only Carbondale. from Arthur Agency on Vimeo.

I attended a meeting of Carbondale's Downtown Advisory Committee tonight; I was glad to hear from our city manager, Kevin Baity, some ideas that seem like good, incremental solutions: slowing traffic down in the downtown in ways that won't cost a fortune, and would allow us to eliminate some traffic lights (making it safer to walk and bike while reducing the commute time through the downtown for cars); encouraging development of more café type seating on the sidewalks (I believe this would involve repealing some restrictions that require businesses to put up fences in order to delineate on-sidewalk seating [?])

I was also concerned by some ideas that seemed to look to spend a lot of money developing infrastructure where there is not a proven need (developing a downtown hotel that might serve visiting profs and people using the hospital sounds awesome, but hospital guests who have trouble with the drive to existing hotels will have trouble with the necessary price of the type of hotel we'd want in the downtown...).

The experience made me excited about Carbondale, but also recalled my thoughts when I first saw the above video: "I want to live there! Wait, I do..." It makes me both want to appreciate what is there more and also work to improve.

I was also struck by the commonality of desire/goal even when you could tell people were coming from different "camps" or were suggesting almost opposing methods of accomplishing such goals (one lady spoke against the new development on the former site of 710 Bookstore as being too big for its setting and discouraging walkable space, a later commenter pointed out that increasing density as the new development does actually encourages pedestrian use--while I'm with him on that point the new development makes me nervous because it's not an incremental step, it's a leap forward: will we find the 300+ renters needed to make the development viable? That said it will definitely increase the density and potential of the 'Strip').
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