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  #81  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2011, 9:46 PM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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Much of my complaining is directed at the grumbling that seems responsible for the death of proposed streetscape improvements in 2009. There are certain business owners who only seem to care about surface and on-street parking. I'm sure it's something their customers complain about but it's clearly not a requirement for successful urban shopping districts.
I completely forgot about that - but that helps my suggested route. Most of the businesses along SGR would probably hate having a streetcar out front (because of their obsession with parking). Since there aren't that many businesses along Morris, it wouldn't be such a problem. Plus it's only a 2 block walk.

With Hollis and Lower Water - most businesses along there expect people to park on the street or in parking lots because those streets are limited in on street parking. I think you could keep the on street parking in some parts and then build the stop platform on the same side so that the SC would run in one of the lanes of traffic - thus eliminating the need for removing on street parking.
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  #82  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 12:04 AM
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Plus it's only a 2 block walk.
This is huge; consider how much less valuable Morris Street commercial spaces is than Spring Garden Road space!
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  #83  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 12:30 AM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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This is huge; consider how much less valuable Morris Street commercial spaces is than Spring Garden Road space!
Maybe so - but how likely wood it be to get a streetcar on SGR (considering the parking issue)?
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  #84  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 2:19 AM
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Maybe so - but how likely wood it be to get a streetcar on SGR (considering the parking issue)?
About as likely as it would be to get any streetcar at all. If there's leadership it can happen. If there isn't, well, I hope people like taking the bus.

There's too much hand-wringing in Halifax about how people might be offended, and that extends to the forum. Every good project has its detractors.
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  #85  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 10:53 AM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Originally Posted by halifaxboyns View Post
I completely forgot about that - but that helps my suggested route. Most of the businesses along SGR would probably hate having a streetcar out front (because of their obsession with parking). Since there aren't that many businesses along Morris, it wouldn't be such a problem. Plus it's only a 2 block walk.

With Hollis and Lower Water - most businesses along there expect people to park on the street or in parking lots because those streets are limited in on street parking. I think you could keep the on street parking in some parts and then build the stop platform on the same side so that the SC would run in one of the lanes of traffic - thus eliminating the need for removing on street parking.
The two-block walk is not a huge deal if you think of it in pure terms. Unfortunately, that two blocks could put a serious dent in SGR. Much of the success with streetcars, as they relate to businesses and urban development, is that the commuter/travelling public is pretty much guaranteed to be hanging around on the street waiting for the next train. My fear would be that a streetcar elsewhere would suck life away from SGR. Maybe in the long term that would be OK, because a new shopping strip would probably develop along the new line, but the growing pains would be difficult, and there would be much gnashing of teeth about the death of SGR.

I say stuff the parking two blocks away.
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  #86  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 3:54 PM
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
The two-block walk is not a huge deal if you think of it in pure terms. Unfortunately, that two blocks could put a serious dent in SGR. Much of the success with streetcars, as they relate to businesses and urban development, is that the commuter/travelling public is pretty much guaranteed to be hanging around on the street waiting for the next train. My fear would be that a streetcar elsewhere would suck life away from SGR. Maybe in the long term that would be OK, because a new shopping strip would probably develop along the new line, but the growing pains would be difficult, and there would be much gnashing of teeth about the death of SGR.

I say stuff the parking two blocks away.
I was thinking about the same thing last night. Part of the reason I chose Morris Street in my streetcar concept was two reasons: The first was that it had a very gentle slope up from the shared Hollis Street concept. I think the shared concept on Hollis for the office workers during the work week is very important because it can help attract more people onto a streetcar. Also by using Morris you don't have to worry about the grade change because it's hardly noticable.

The second reason was that it was close to SGR, but I was concerned with putting too much on that street. So it was a close walk, but not right on the street.

It's the second point I've been thinking about more and I think someone123 is right, as it your comment. I'd be worried you'd end up moving the commercial down to Morris, which isn't my intention. But I didn't want to give up the University Avenue segment to service the IWK, VG and Dalhousie before going down Robie to SMU as the terminus.

So I've come up with a solution - which I put into the map. I've changed the '503 - Morris' streetcar route (I just picked a random number) so that it still goes up Morris, but turns right at Queen, then left at SGR and follows SGR until Summer. Then hangs a left @ Summer, Right at University and resumes the original route concept I had. Another change could be SGR all the way from Queen to Robie and then down Robie to SMU.

I've updated the map concept, which is posted in the Rail Discussion Thread. This way the shared concept along Hollis/Lower Water is maintained, the route goes to the main area of SGR, it still services the IWK/Dal/VG site (small walk) and can stay on Morris to take advantage of the little amount of grade change from Hollis and Lower Water.
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  #87  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 4:41 PM
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A streetcar on Spring Garden Road will never happen. Ever.

Not unless some kind of over-land bridge was constructed. Oppss, I mean subway; sorry HT.

Morris Street is the perfect place for a streetcar: seeing as how the 2012 renovations of Fenwick--with additional new surrounding towers (and other south end projects)--are going to increase the population, this further supports the logic of developing this kind of transit on Morris.

The universities should would love it! That's a definite.

And I also completely agree with the avoidance of Barrington.
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  #88  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 4:59 PM
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A streetcar on Spring Garden Road will never happen. Ever.

Not unless some kind of over-land bridge was constructed. Oppss, I mean subway; sorry HT.

Morris Street is the perfect place for a streetcar: seeing as how the 2012 renovations of Fenwick--with additional new surrounding towers (and other south end projects)--are going to increase the population, this further supports the logic of developing this kind of transit on Morris.

The universities should would love it! That's a definite.

And I also completely agree with the avoidance of Barrington.

I can see either street being okay; my main focus was to avoid the steep grade and try not to create huge traffic problems. That's why I am so infavour of a streetcar on Agricola because Robie and Gottigen get the most traffic compared to Agricola, so you have options to avoid it if you don't want to deal with a streetcar stopping and starting.

The adjustment I made moves the route I had thought of off Morris for the SGR commercial component and only as far as Summer Street. Personally, I could see either Morris or SGR working well. SGR would be better for the businesses, where as Morris would be what I call the nimby compromise.
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  #89  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 5:27 PM
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A streetcar on Spring Garden Road will never happen. Ever. ... And I also completely agree with the avoidance of Barrington.
You're not providing much explanation here. My reasons for thinking it could work are:

1) More and more cities have streetcar and LRT systems and the costs are falling. The advantages of streetcars in these cities are the same as they would be in Halifax; more comfortable and permanent service than buses, quieter vehicles that are better for the environment and last longer, and less reliance on fossil fuels. I predict that we will see more and more electrification in the future as the cost of oil goes up. Realistically I think Halifax will be backed into a corner where it has an expensive and inefficient bus system and will be at a disadvantage when it finally converts. The "it can't be done!" crowd will probably be among the first ones to say "WHY ARE WE PAYING SO MUCH FOR BUSES?" and "WHY AM I STUCK IN TRAFFIC EVERY DAY?!". But that's life in a backwards city I guess.

2) Most of these cities run the lines right along major streets. Go to San Francisco and you will see streetcars right on Market Street. Toronto has streetcars on King and Dundas. Those streets are all busier than Spring Garden Road.

3) Halifax used to have streetcars. They ran on Spring Garden Road and Barrington, and back then Barrington was probably busier than it is today. It even had plenty of car traffic by the time the trolleybuses were running.
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  #90  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 5:39 PM
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You're not providing much explanation here. My reasons for thinking it could work are:


3) Halifax used to have streetcars. They ran on Spring Garden Road and Barrington, and back then Barrington was probably busier than it is today. It even had plenty of car traffic by the time the trolleybuses were running.
a lot of the rails are still buried under the asphalt.
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  #91  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 5:46 PM
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I like your point number 1 someone123.
But I think the time to move on this is now, when the cost to install a system is cheapest.

I know I go back to that PBS documentary, but the Portland example is the greatest reason to install a streetcar, regardless of whether it ends up on Morris or SGR or whatever.

When they designed the streetcar, they had planned on 3,000 riders a day. They typically see 10,000 riders a day (average). That's huge and totally beyond their expectations and I'm sure today it's probably closer to 15,000.

That also lead to the logic behind the corridor along Hollis and Lower Water - they pointed out that the streetcar was for distances that we (this is how they put it) 'just beyond the comfortable walking distance'. So walking to Scotia Square from SGR for some may be beyond that. But it would be nice and comfortable to sit in an air conditioned streetcar and enjoy the sites.

That's the point I also took from the youtube video I posted about the Vancouver streetcar in the rail thread some time ago. The vehicles were comfortable, leather seats and were about putting the rider first - this was done to show that the typical 'bus' atmosphere isn't the way streetcars function. They can be way more comfortable and encourage people to get out of their cars.

I suspect that the rails under the street would probably not be able to handle the modern streetcar weights, but certainly the rail beds would be a good start in installing a new line.
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  #92  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 6:10 PM
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a lot of the rails are still buried under the asphalt.
The are visible along much of Barrington and quite the hazard when on a bike!

As far as a line on SGR, you'd need a really good excuse not to use it - and removal of a handful of on-street parking spots isn't one.
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  #93  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 8:59 PM
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The are visible along much of Barrington and quite the hazard when on a bike!

As far as a line on SGR, you'd need a really good excuse not to use it - and removal of a handful of on-street parking spots isn't one.
The elimination of on street parking would depending on how the stations are built and the size of the car. If you look at the Vancouver 2010 streetcar for example, the platform for the station would have to be much longer than the Portland Streetcar. The bombardier streetcar used in Vancouver would require a station length of about 90% of the total car length (to ensure all doors would reach the platform, 10% of the car is typically the cab for the driver). This is due in part to the placement of the doors, more and wider doors.

The Portland streetcar is a little different because the placement of the doors is centred in the cab, unlike Bombardier which is all over the length of the car. So you could get away with building a shorter platform if the Portland style car was used (I'm guessing roughly 75% of the car length) and then the back end past to last set of doors would just stick out past the platform and block a car using the on street parking from pulling out.

In the suggest route update I gave (Morris to Queen, to SGR and then back to University via Summer street), you could take advantage of a Portland Style car and remove only a few on street spots along Queen, SGR and Summer Streets for the platforms, so the impact would be minimal. Add to that the fact that SGR access would become far easier for so many all over the peninsula because of the streetcar, you'd generate more foot traffic from the service itself. People wouldn't have to worry about finding a parking spot, they could just jump on the streetcar instead.
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  #94  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2011, 3:00 AM
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According to ANS this Clyde Street development plans will be submitted to HbD in November.

They're planning to add 330 rental units and 520 parking spots, so in other words there will actually be more parking in this area once the lots are developed. Just as some new highrises have dispelled concerns over height a little, the new infill that replaces these lots will be a great precedent. Spring Garden Road will be a great counterexample to the claim that you need surface parking to have a successful retail area.

The first lot to be developed will be on Queen Street. It will look great with the new library.
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  #95  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2011, 6:24 PM
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According to ANS this Clyde Street development plans will be submitted to HbD in November.

They're planning to add 330 rental units and 520 parking spots, so in other words there will actually be more parking in this area once the lots are developed. Just as some new highrises have dispelled concerns over height a little, the new infill that replaces these lots will be a great precedent. Spring Garden Road will be a great counterexample to the claim that you need surface parking to have a successful retail area.

The first lot to be developed will be on Queen Street. It will look great with the new library.
With a submission in November, how long do you think an answer will require? It would be nice to have the Queen Street lot developed in time for the new library. The grand opening would be more grand.
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  #96  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2011, 7:23 PM
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With a submission in November, how long do you think an answer will require? It would be nice to have the Queen Street lot developed in time for the new library. The grand opening would be more grand.
Wasn't the HbD process that if it met all the rules; you'd get an approval (development permit) within 90 days? If my memory is right, the permit process shouldn't be more than 3 months, including review by the design review committee.
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  #97  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2011, 3:40 PM
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Thumbs up From the Halifax Herald...

A final design for a commercial and residential development on two large downtown Halifax lots will be ready sometime in November.

W.M. Fares Group and Banc Developments purchased two parking lots on Clyde Street, divided by Birmingham Street, in June for $14.7 million.

They plan to build two nine-storey buildings — one floor of commercial retail space and the rest residential — with each having three levels of underground parking.

The design is being finalized and is expected to be presented to Halifax Regional Municipality in November.

"We’re moving ahead. We’re hoping to have construction started in the spring of next year," said Wahid Fares, president of the Fares Group.

The lots are located in an area once known as Schmidtville, named after sisters Mary Ann, Margaretta and Rosina Schmidt, who lived there.

The developments will be built on the Mary Ann lot, a 33,869-square-foot property bounded by Birmingham, Queen and Clyde streets, and the Margaretta lot, the neighbouring 42,600-square-foot lot on the other side of Birmingham.

Plazacorp Retail Properties Ltd. will be a partner in the project and the Fredericton company will own the combined 70,000 square feet of retail space in the ground floors of the two buildings

Besim Halef of Banc Developments said while the design is not yet finalized, the idea is to make the buildings "similar, but different."

"We want to try to distinguish the two buildings from each other," Halef said. "So we are going to probably use different materials for each building, like the exterior facade and things like that."

Neither developer would divulge any defining characteristics the buildings will have, but they promised the buildings will be "unique" and enhance the look of downtown Halifax.

"We’re looking to complement the old and the new of our city. So it will probably have a contemporary look, a modern look," Fares said. "Architecture is very important when it comes to that part of town. And I know people are waiting to see something different."

Story link
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  #98  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2011, 2:46 AM
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I can't wait to see some renderings!
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  #99  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2011, 7:46 PM
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From the CH online

Report: Developers paid more than market value for city lots

By REMO ZACCAGNA Business reporter
Developers of a proposed commercial and residential project on two large downtown lots paid millions more than market value, a declassified city report shows.

The report, released Thursday , showed that W.M. Fares Group and Banc Developments Ltd. bid and ultimately won the competition for two parking lots on Clyde Street, divided by Birmingham Street, for $14.78 million.

That is more than the listed market value of $11.564 million of the two properties, colloquially known as Mary Ann and Margaretta, named after the Schmidt sisters who once lived in the area.

The next highest bidder was a joint submission of $14 million from Urban Capital Property and Killiam Properties Inc.

There were eight bids in all, but only the top two put in proposals for the two lots. The remaining bids were solely made on the 33,869-square-foot Mary Ann lot.

The high bids did not come as a surprise to the city, said Peter Stickings, HRM manager of real estate, who noted the strength of the retail sector on Spring Garden Road, as well as other residential projects in the works as a big draw.

"I think with the announcement of the Central Library and sort of the transformation of that area, all of these things I think have elevated the interest in these properties. And then, of course, eight qualified proponents were bidding, so with competition brings stronger value to the process," he said. "I think if you note some of the lower bids were more indicative of the market appraisal, which would have been performed by a third-party appraiser."

Requests for proposals on projects of this nature often have bids that exceed their market value. It’s the nature of doing business, said Robert Musset, senior vice-president at CB Richard Ellis Limited in Atlantic Canada.

"The value of those sites is tied directly to the density that was allowed within the offering memorandum that was set out by the city. And you can see that range of pricing that came in," he said. "Some people priced it more aggressively than others and reviewing their spreadsheet it looks like they did a pretty good job in evaluating the various components of the bid and allocating a certain amount of importance to each area."

Another lot, the former Halifax Infirmary site on Queen Street, nicknamed Rosina, is expected to be put on the market by the city next year. That site is appraised at $4.851 million, according to the city report.

But that, too, is expected to go for more.

The rest of the story can be found here.
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  #100  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2011, 5:00 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Spring Garden Road is quite the hot spot.
Once the library is completed it will give this street a big jolt of walking traffic.
I love making the downtown busier!

This street was my home for five years, living in Park Victoria. And in a decade I will not recognise her. And that is so exciting!
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