What’s wrong with this first picture? Google maps has a nifty function now by which you can easily see the locations of dedicated bike paths, such as canal or rail trails (dark green), bike lanes in streets (light green), and recommended streets for bike travel (dotted green). In searching out bike paths in the Central New . . . → Read More: Biking near Syracuse… or Rochester
The upcoming A-OK Weekend – that’s Acts Of Kindness – is a fabulous opportunity to get to know our city better. If all we do is read about what others in other neighborhoods are doing that weekend, it’s a start. But if we go visit other neighborhoods and get to know some other people, how much . . . → Read More: A city united through performance art
I posted the following over two years ago, but the ideas are good ones that the next mayor would do well to look at. They’re concerning how to deal with property owners who allow their business-district buildings to rot and bring down the values of all our properties.
James Street is our main business district. It has a number of really super businesses on it. What happens there affects all of us, as residents, as business owners, as property owners. Those who allow their vacant buildings or lots on James St. to remain in their present ugly condition are affecting your property values. It’s time the Common Council acted more decisively to get owners to fix up these properties or sell them to someone who will develop them within the James Street Overlay District Zoning Standards.
While searching the web for what other cities are doing about vacant buildings , I came across a website simply titled “AMCBO Member Call Summary.” (AMCBO is the Association of Major City/County Building Officials.) It appears to be a summary of a meeting that took place in 2005. It’s worth a thorough read. Below I’ve pasted the ideas I found most appealing: Continue reading Ideas from other cities for next mayor
The city of Seattle has Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committees and a Pedestrian Master Plan. “The plan (a summary you can find here) sets goals and performance measures for making Seattle a more walkable city and reducing the number of car-pedestrian accidents. The plan was developed with help from a citizens’ advisory group.” (see this blog . . . → Read More: Have you done your homework?
Quoting in full an article published July 25, 2009, by the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, it seems Mr. Bennett was actually writing about Syracuse. All bolding is mine; wherever you see “Terre Haute”, just envision “Syracuse” and where you see “Hauteans” think of “Syracusans”:
MARK BENNETT: Walkable neighborhoods of the ’20s make sense again
By Mark Bennett
TERRE HAUTE . . . → Read More: Other cities series: Isn’t this Syracuse?
When I discovered bits of plastic in the “compost” sold to me locally for my organic garden, I really got sore. But then, is there any compost anywhere that doesn’t have plastic in it? Even if you can’t see it, those plastic molecules don’t break down into something harmless; they just become smaller and smaller and . . . → Read More: Other cities series: Seattle’s bag fee
Dave and I just got back from a visit to Buffalo, another much-maligned city in upstate New York that has, nevertheless, managed to move forward in its thinking about sustainable urban development. While the addition of one more national chain in Eastwood has caused much furor, Buffalo’s Elmwood Village is just a step or three ahead . . . → Read More: Other cities series: Buffalo’s Elmwood Village
I read with dismay that Tino Marcoccia, owner of the empty spot that used to be the Sport Center on James and Midler, has a slot in Monday’s Planning Commission meeting. He wants to demolish two houses in order to expand parking for a restaurant in the urban enclave called Little Italy.
Those of you who have been reading this blog can already see the problems with the proposal. They center on the bolded words in the first paragraph. What do you think they are?
Philadelphia, so very historic, nevertheless has the same difficulties we have with inappropriate development. But they have a new Director of Sustainability, Dr. Mark Allen Hughes. He has some interesting things to say, not about saving historic landmarks, but rather about preserving the historic fabric of the city. I quote the following from the jargon etc blog (bolding mine):
Continue reading Other cities series: historic fabric
One of our readers alerted me to a great little tool, google alerts. With a search for “walkable ” set up to send me alerts, I’m finding a lot of other cities are seeking to the same things we’re trying to do here. Armed with examples coming in from all over the country, I’ll be posting some interesting finds from time to time in an “Other cities series“. While no city is exactly like Syracuse, I’m betting we can learn a thing or two anyway.
Here’s an interesting question posed by The Tacoma Sun to City Council candidate Keven Rojecki, with his answer. I’m going to bold the terminology we should be thinking about as we strive to make our neighborhood more walkable:
Continue reading Other cities series: off-street parking requirements
When you stack Syracuse up against other cities, you actually end up with a lot of reasons to be cheerful about living here. Yeah, we get into our scraps about what’s the best way to improve it. But at least people really care! Listening to people who have lived elsewhere is often enlightening:
Continue reading Reasons to be cheerful
Anyone crazy enough to read all these posts knows I grew up in Manlius, so walkability was normal for me. My dear ol’ dad was a member of the Village Board for quite some time and I recall fights back in the ’60′s when he and others were trying to prevent the village from tearing down its historic buildings. For the most part, they were successful. And if you walk around Manlius today, you’ll see that there’s still a “there” there. You’ll know, from the quaintly mid-century Sno-Top to the Swan Pond to the ancient Masonic Temple and the early 19th-century homes near the gazebo, that you are in no other place than Manlius, NY.
Continue reading They didn’t pave paradise
Sean Kirst recently wrote an article, The Dinosaur: More success by design, citing one of his previous articles, The Dinosaur, by design, that reinforces that idea that we have a prime example in our town of a business that works, despite all the ways people think it should not work. And that’s the Dinosaur, now the . . . → Read More: A last-century response to a current problem
It’s important to understand where we’ve come from to have a better grasp on where we’re going. The James Street Overlay District Guidelines have become very important because of the many challenges we face in maintaining their enforcement. Understanding the process that went into their creation and their adoption as an ordinance in the City of Syracuse may shed some light on why they are so important. Here I reproduce the words from this brief description of the ESF study that got things rolling (bolding mine).
Continue reading ESF Eastwood Neighborhood Study
Joe Nastri is a long-time Eastwood businessman who was involved in the original Eastwood Review Board that was disbanded by the City.
I too hope that the city does the right thing and upholds the zoning Overlay standards. Assertions have been made time and again that Eastwood looks the way it does because of neighbors and or the Zoning Overlay Guidelines. This is false. The reason why Eastwood has some problems with appearance is firstly because property owners, such as the owner of the old Steak and Sundae building and Byrne Dairy properties have made a conscious decision to allow these properties to fall into disrepair. The plan is for neighbors to get so fed up that we will accept what ever they decide is appropriate.
Continue reading Letter from Joe Nastri
For many years, Kathleen Joy has supported smart, sustainable development in Eastwood. She has been a tireless researcher, an effective communicator, and a source of information that might otherwise have been difficult for the average resident. Some time ago, she started her own blog. As is her habit, when she has something of import to let . . . → Read More: Post by Councilor Kathleen Joy
For all its connectivity to downtown, how is it that Syracuse University blew the exam on global warming? Last evening, people in great cities large and small throughout the world participated in Earth Hour. We decided to do the same, turned off all our lights and headed downtown, expecting to see people walking in the balmy evening, enjoying the 60-minute relief from light pollution, maybe even talking to each other in candle-lit bars and restaurants.
Continue reading Earth Hour downtown: SU gets F-plus
If 100 people in Eastwood were to read this through – it takes less time than watching just the ads in “Dancing With the Stars” – and if each were to educate just one other person about the effect on Eastwood of the proposed Walgreens sign, then we’d have a great turn-out at the April 6 Planning Commission meeting. That’s when a decision will be made about what they want: a 10-foot LED stand-alone ground sign. It violates the overlay district guidelines in four ways: sign square footage, total number of signs, prohibition against ground signs, and prohibition against animated signs.
But here’s what you want to read first, an email reprinted here with permission from our neighbor and retired professor of architecture, Sig Snyder:
Continue reading A 10-minute primer
Syracuse is a great city that is in transition from an era of manufacturing to one of science, technology and education. We’ve always had the latter three, but they’re becoming much more of a focus. During an era of transition, there are losses. Real people are affected in very real ways by those losses. But those . . . → Read More: Despite what Syracusans say about their city…