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phxbyrd Jul 18, 2010 3:32 PM

in London it used to be last call at midnight but clubs (that charged a cover) could serve beer until dawn. Now they have no last call in the UK but I haven't been there since the law changed.

HooverDam Jul 26, 2010 2:29 AM

*****WARNING LONG POST AHEAD*****


So I'm back from traveling the country (drove 5,496 miles) telling jokes and seeing lots of other cities in some ways saddened me, but being an optimist, gave me new ideas for Phoenix. Or really reinforced current ideas and thoughts I already had.

Primarily Im talking about Downtowns lack of park space, and Phoenix's generally underwhelming urban parks. Our Mountain Preserves are amazing and unparalleled in the country, but the design of our traditional parks is just awful for the most part.

For the most part I love the Civic Space and think its a big success. Like I thought when I looked at the plans for it the large hardscape on the NE corner rarely gets used and is a design flaw, but besides that its terrific. I would've much rather have seen a large splash pad there with unique features. The current splash pad that exists (and is only open for 4 hours on a Sunday) is a joke and embarrassing.

Here are a few of the great parks I saw that Phoenix needs to look at for inspiration:

Millenium Park in Chicago:
http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/200...3051345132.jpg
http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/150...9718011132.jpg
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/854...9717999132.jpg

Obviously Millennium Park is very large, in the Downtown Core itself there would be no room to do something similar.

Millennium Parks water feature is awesome and the NE Corner of the Civic Space should've been something similar. It would've helped attract more of a diverse kids besides college kids and bring children and families to the park.

Millennium Park is about 25 acres, almost the exact same acreage as Hance Park. As I've said (probably ad nauseum) Hance park needs to be redesigned along the lines of Millennium Park. It would be hugely expensive and not possible right now, but there's no time like the present to start planning. Millennium Park has a lot of corporate sponsorship (and believe me it doesn't diminish the parks greatness one bit) and that could help make an enhanced Hance possible.

One major issue Hance faces is the surrounding area. Millennium Park is surrounded by huge structures, adjacent to an Art Museum and has active uses on all sides. Hance does have some positive things going for it, being adjacent to the Library, the Irish Cultural Center, the Puppet Theater, the Phx Center for the Arts & the Japanese Friendship Garden. However some of these uses (Japanese Garden, Irish Center) are fenced off and disconnected from the park, making them seem like separate unrelated attractions, that has to change.

With Channel 12 moving to the Az Republic building, hopefully their awful, anti urban building can be demolished and replaced with something better. I'd love to see a Natural History Museum there for instance as the only one in the Valley is the rather underwhelming one in Mesa. Something like that would attract thousands of school kids every year and fill the park with life.

Discovery Green in Houston:
http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/4...2872419132.jpg
http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/927...6205752132.jpg
http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/7...6205751132.jpg
http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/9...9539084132.jpg
http://img252.imageshack.us/img252/6...6205739132.jpg
http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/3...6205738132.jpg

Discovery Green is about 12 acres or so, so again its not directly analogous to anything we could do here. But many of its ideas and features could be used in a redone Hance Park.

They have 2 restaurants built into the park, one with a roof top deck. They have a pond and a place where you can rent remote control boats. They have a large splash pad as well as a unique "Mist Tree" sculpture. Its built over a parking garage and adjacent to their Convention Center on one side and the Downtown Core on the other. Just a bit to the North is Minute Maid Park (Astros) and a bit south is the Toyota Center (Rockets). It has band shells and a oak lined promenade thats simply gorgeous.

CityGarden in St Louis:
http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/5...2873138132.jpg
http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/9...6206471132.jpg
http://img828.imageshack.us/img828/6...9539804132.jpg
http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/6...2873137132.jpg

CityGarden is a redone 2 block section of the much longer "Gateway Mall" of parks connecting historic Union Station to the Courthouse (where the Dred Scott decision took place). Its only about 3 acres and thus is probably more the type of thing Phoenix should look at copying. Due to our desert climate and the way the city is laid out a huge grassy place like Central Park in NYC is never going to happen, but lots of smaller places like the Civic Space and CityGarden in a 'connected oasis' (lets hope that becomes a reality) could and should happen.

CityGarden like the other 2 parks had a large, unique splash pad. It also had a curving wall built of local limestone that had a water wall that could be played in and manipulated. There was about 20 large sculptures through out the park and native plants (selected in association with the Mo Botanical Garden) through out the park.

Unsurprisingly all of these 3 parks were mentioned in this article on the best new urban parks in the US.

I know Ive mentioned this parcel before and some (GymRat, maybe others) disagreed but being as its almost the exact acreage of CityGarden I really think it could be a successful urban park:

http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/4914/park.png

Its really the only place our City has the chance to build a park in the center of towers and active uses on most sides. It could be the Town Square that PSP tried but failed to be. It already has underground parking which is nice, and the entrance to the garage could be cleverly implemented into the park somehow. Now that its very clear that CityScapes central plaza is nothing like a park or great public space, we ought to work to have that replaced.

With the restaurants all along the North and East sides, CityScape to the West and the Arena to the South its really a perfect spot for an urban park. As much as we'd all love to see condos, and thus people downtown, those condo towers just aren't going to happen anytime soon. The City should look into a land swap with RED (like they did with Colliers to build Steele Indian School Park) and maybe they can build condos or something somewhere else down the line when there's actually a market for that.

There's enough space on that parcel for a bandshell (Id vote to put it on the NE corner) where lunchtime concerts could happen (like once happened at PSP) as well as maybe evening/night time concerts on the weekends to create a synergy with the clubs along Washington.

Additionally a large, unique, signature water feature(s) should be built, especially in our climate. Making 1st street close- able for large events (like when the Suns finally win the title) would make sense too and expand the park slightly.

The key element all the great parks I saw had was: 1. diversity of uses, 2. active edges. Civic Space succeeds to the degree it does because it has a diversity of uses (hills, flat grass, band shell, art gallery, coffee shop, large public art) and due to the active edge on the East side and the transit center to the South. Hance has a lot of challenges with activating its edges but certainly its diversity of uses can be expanded. The Downtown block I highlighted already would have very active edges and if planned properly could be incredible.

Anyway, Ive rambled on too long but my main point is this: Civic Space is great but could be a bit better. Hance Park is a toilet and needs to be totally redone. We need a small urban park/green town square in our city Center and the block bounded by Wash/Jeff and 1st/2nd is the perfect place for it.

NIXPHX77 Aug 1, 2010 11:18 PM

Excellent post Hoover! i fully agree about a replcmnt for Patriots Sq Park, since Cityscape is not it, & what it should contain. A major water feature(s) is a must in this climate. Your block may be the best; any other suggestions folks? i also think perhaps it shouldn't be just one park. perhaps another could go in on the southwest side of downtown to balance things out.
From what i recall hearing, PSP was to be just 1 of 3 park squares planned downtown originally. i'd like to find/see those orig plans.

NIXPHX77 Aug 1, 2010 11:20 PM

ps - your article link takes me to a "Time Bandits" videoclip on YouTube!

HooverDam Aug 2, 2010 12:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4932471)
ps - your article link takes me to a "Time Bandits" videoclip on YouTube!

Haha whoops! Thats what you get when your tabbed browsing and not paying much attention I suppose. It should be fixed now :D

Quote:

Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4932467)
i also think perhaps it shouldn't be just one park. perhaps another could go in on the southwest side of downtown to balance things out.

Oh I agree entirely. One park on a city block does not make for a great urban core park system. What we need is the oft talked about "Connected Oasis" connecting the Capital Mall, redone and revamped University, Hance and Verde Parks, a new park like I outlined above, and Civic Space.

Additionally the Urban Form project outlined the need for large park space with sporting fields and such for future downtown residents and visitors and the only realistic place to put something of that size is South of the tracks in the "Park Neighborhoods". Something more or less the size of Steele Indian School Park is needed that would have at least a football field, baseball field, volleyball, basketball, etc. Maybe on the UP tracks site just South East of Downtown if they ever move that facility.

HooverDam Aug 2, 2010 12:12 AM

E: whoops double post

Phxguy Aug 2, 2010 3:11 PM

How about placing the park spread out over several blocks like say at Lincolin and 3rd st. There's no shortage of surface lots and parking lots there. The parks could extend to Buchanan st. and use that dirt strip at the southwest corner of Grant and 4th for tennis and basketball courts.

Leo the Dog Aug 2, 2010 3:47 PM

While not in the heart of the CBD, I think Phoenix should focus on what it has: Deck Park.

Everyone agrees that Hance Park is in need of a complete over-haul. Why not invest millions into the park to encourage new urban development around the park (ie, Roosevelt Row). It could, in theory, fill the gap and connect DT to Midtown.

Vicelord John Aug 2, 2010 4:45 PM

Hoover, based on your pictures, St. Louis has the most minorities. Would you say this is correct?

HooverDam Aug 2, 2010 7:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo the Dog (Post 4932961)
While not in the heart of the CBD, I think Phoenix should focus on what it has: Deck Park.

Everyone agrees that Hance Park is in need of a complete over-haul. Why not invest millions into the park to encourage new urban development around the park (ie, Roosevelt Row). It could, in theory, fill the gap and connect DT to Midtown.

We should do both. I dont view it as an either/or situation. Deck Park is a horrible mess and Im all for totally redoing it. However the CBD still doesn't have a main central park/square and it certainly needs one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 4933019)
Hoover, based on your pictures, St. Louis has the most minorities. Would you say this is correct?

On that day in those particular areas yes. But I would imagine Chicago has more both numbers wise being a bigger city and more of a variety of minorities. StL may have the highest percentage among those cities of specifically black folks, but Id bet Chicago has a lot more Laotians, Croatians, and other small groups like that.

Vicelord John Aug 2, 2010 7:29 PM

LOL you took my question seroiusly.

HooverDam Aug 6, 2010 8:12 AM

I can't sleep, I found these interesting renderings of BOB from before it existed:

http://www.stadiumpage.com/future/bankonemodel_07.jpg

Notice how glassed out this plan was. That would've been great, allowing some views out to the NW and the Downtown Towers.

http://www.stadiumpage.com/future/bobmodel1.jpg

This one includes a nice park like area and superior entryway along Jefferson. Also at the very bottom of the frame there is a palm lined path where the Garage Mahal would eventually be built, I wonder was there ever something else planned there? A park or some open space would've been nice.

Leo the Dog Aug 6, 2010 3:43 PM

Anyone else notice how artist renderings always look better than the finished product? They tend to emphasize landscaping vegetation, pedestrians, traffic zipping by etc.

Looks like there's a water feature too on the right side of the top picture.

Vicelord John Aug 6, 2010 5:14 PM

What's funny is nearly everyone parks ne of the stadium and has to walk all the way around it anyway.

NIXPHX77 Aug 7, 2010 5:44 AM

i do wish Chase Field would get a small makeover. Get rid of that ridiculously located tiny parking lot fronting Jefferson St - i can't believe they would put that there - even our baseball stadium has a strip mall feel. jeez.
also the lighting/signage is terrible, i.e. that super bright spotlights at the NE and NWcorners. also, some kind of architectural enhancements so it's not so boxy would be nice. i'm just talking exterior here for now.
I am glad they did not close off 4th St as in top photo, but agree with Hoover - more glass would be better so there would be more views out and in (the panels would be better if they did not block some outward views even when open when you sit on the sides. Anyone going to Gonzo's # retirement Sat.? i might.

Tito714 Aug 7, 2010 5:51 AM

i went today and we actually won and saw the fireworks (They come from the Garage Majal)!! The first rendering is great. I think they should renovate so that there's another plaza on the north side with a restaurant and fountains!

Vicelord John Aug 7, 2010 6:36 AM

I hate the fireworks!!! FUCK the diamondbacks.

Tito714 Aug 7, 2010 8:09 AM

lol. i can see why, having to deal with that shit every friday.

HooverDam Aug 7, 2010 9:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4938657)
i do wish Chase Field would get a small makeover. Get rid of that ridiculously located tiny parking lot fronting Jefferson St - i can't believe they would put that there - even our baseball stadium has a strip mall feel. jeez.

Ive thought a cool thing for that parcel would be a brick and mortar Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. Make a nice multistory museum thats tall enough that it could have some bleachers on its roof that see into Chase Field when the panels are open.

Quote:

Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4938657)
but agree with Hoover - more glass would be better so there would be more views out and in (the panels would be better if they did not block some outward views even when open when you sit on the sides.

I wish the panels were just glass. Sure directly North of Chase there aren't any towers, but those sitting along the 3rd base side could see out to the mountains more and those on the 1st base side could see some towers.

Obviously they'd lose some advertising money without the panel ads but I wonder if they could recoup some of that by placing ads where the large red D'backs logos are in this photo:
http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/national/bk1bpk03.jpg

(there used to be ads in those spots by the by)

Additionally, Chase Field needs to embrace solar. It drives me nuts when watching a game and they show an interior shot of the roof and say "APS reminds you to put solar panels on your roof." Really? Really? You have the biggest roof in the state and its not got panels and you're telling us to put them on our homes?

Now obviously you couldn't put panels on the entirety of the roof because of how it slides on top of itself. But the middle sections seem like they could have solar panels on them. So could the portions of the roof that are fixed along the South and West sides of the stadium. Additionally the garage between Chase and USAC ought to have solar panels on top of it like a lot of the ASU garages are now getting (and Id say the Mahal too, but really I just want that knocked down).

Quote:

Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4938657)
Anyone going to Gonzo's # retirement Sat.? i might.

I wanted to, but I have a friends b-day thing to attend. :(

Vicelord John Aug 7, 2010 3:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tito714 (Post 4938733)
lol. i can see why, having to deal with that shit every friday.

Yeah. Took me 45 minutes to get home from I-10 and 7th street. A cop let me through the street closed barricade, but only affer the fireworks had ended. As soon as i went through the barricades, some ass hole pulled me over and tried to write me a ticket. I went ballistic to the point he called for backup who happebed to be the guy who let me through.

Ive talked to downtown traffic dept, my coyncilman, etc. For hours on the phone and email. They all say it is more important to get people out of downtown then to get the "tiny amount of people who live downtown" home. They say in all the years they have been shutting 7th down that im the only complaint theyve ever heard. Bullshit.


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