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  #101  
Old Posted May 11, 2012, 7:06 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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The problem I have with caps on height is that once they are introduced, height restrictions only get worse.

Quinpool should have a few more 15 story residential towers. I don't think Quinpool centre was a failure at all, it actually works great... just that its ugly because it was built 30 years ago isn't a justifiable reason as to why new buildings won't be more attractive, energy efficient, and generally add to density...

Oh right, density is a bad word in Halifax. Let's just make everything 4 stories.
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  #102  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2012, 3:51 PM
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Originally Posted by worldlyhaligonian View Post
The problem I have with caps on height is that once they are introduced, height restrictions only get worse.

Quinpool should have a few more 15 story residential towers. I don't think Quinpool centre was a failure at all, it actually works great... just that its ugly because it was built 30 years ago isn't a justifiable reason as to why new buildings won't be more attractive, energy efficient, and generally add to density...

Oh right, density is a bad word in Halifax. Let's just make everything 4 stories.
I totally agree. I finally had a chance to go through the recent height mock ups for the Centre Plan. I found Quinpool to be, frankly disappointing. The same with Agricola.

I find the idea of restricting the commercial to only the lots fronting onto Quinpool to be pretty frustrating. By doing that, you guarentee driveways onto Quinpool which is a central artery into the core. I would've pushed the mixed use designation all the way back to Pepperell and Yale Street so that access could've been off the secondary street. But I would've pushed a provision that the nature of any building fronting to those streets must be residential (so dwelling units had to face those streets, in addition to looking onto Quinpool). The heights were a little disappointing as well. The 20 storey designation wasn't enough for me. I think the portion of Quinpool Place that is 43m, should be 71. Also the 43 metre area to the right of Quingate Place (to me) is also a logical location for 71 metres.

With Agricola, I was disappointed with the heights yet again. I was also disappointed that the area of Davison and John Streets weren't included. I also found it strange that the required streetfront commercial didn't go the length of Agricola - instead there is this wide gap where its not required. Agricola to me is a logical place for a new commercial street that is pedestrian friendly. If I had been able to get the John and Davison blocks included, I would've encouraged the block between Agricola and John street to be mixed use while the other block would be primarily residential. As to the maximum heights, I would've gone up into the 12 to 15 storey range myself and made all that was designated 29 metres up to 15 storeys with the exception of the area at North Street and West Street.

Did anyone also notice on the Robie Street designs that there is pretty much a new commercial strip being encouraged? I like that idea for Young Street but I'm not sure if Robie would work for a pedestrian oriented commercial area. I'd get that feeling along Robie Street between North and Almon, but where Robie opens up and gets wide - I don't know if I'd get the same feeling. But the heights in the area are certainly encouraging.
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  #103  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2012, 11:01 AM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Originally Posted by worldlyhaligonian View Post
... I don't think Quinpool centre was a failure at all, it actually works great... just that its ugly because it was built 30 years ago isn't a justifiable reason as to why new buildings won't be more attractive, energy efficient, and generally add to density...
I don't agree. I think Quinpool Centre is a failure. Certainly not because it's tall. It does a horrible job of relating to Quinpool Road. The residential towers actually seem decent in their relationships and I actually admire some of the retro stylng, but the limited interaction between the street and the commercial units is pretty disastrous. Canadian Tire in particular. Set back from and raised above the sidewalk with limited glazed areas. Gross.
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  #104  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2012, 2:56 PM
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I don't mind the Quinpool Centre. Given the era it was built I'm surprised it wasn't oriented the opposite way, as a traditional strip mall with the parking lot fronting Quinpool Road. I understand there was a lot of controversy about the design at the time though so maybe that's why the design is a little more sensitive than others. Though, working there for five years I grew pretty frustrated with some functional aspects related to traveling through the area -- some of those sidewalks could be improved/extended, and the "stop" markings in the parking lot badly need to be repainted.

I agree though that Canadian Tire turns its back on the street. Same with the other end of the block to some extent: I've always wondered about the disused storefront at Quinpool & Quingate Place. Did it ever open up into the grocery store or the former liquor store?

Last edited by alps; Jun 15, 2012 at 3:10 PM.
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  #105  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2012, 9:38 PM
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I agree though that Canadian Tire turns its back on the street. Same with the other end of the block to some extent: I've always wondered about the disused storefront at Quinpool & Quingate Place. Did it ever open up into the grocery store or the former liquor store?
I cannot recall exactly, but I'm pretty sure that was the entrance to the original grocery store space. The shops as they are today bear little relation to what it was originally, which was set up as an enclosed mall with glass facing the street and the stores contained inside that space beside an interior mall walkway. It failed almost immediately in that mode and slowly transformed itself into what you see today.
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  #106  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2012, 1:52 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
I don't agree. I think Quinpool Centre is a failure. Certainly not because it's tall. It does a horrible job of relating to Quinpool Road. The residential towers actually seem decent in their relationships and I actually admire some of the retro stylng, but the limited interaction between the street and the commercial units is pretty disastrous. Canadian Tire in particular. Set back from and raised above the sidewalk with limited glazed areas. Gross.
I agree, however the parking and residential behind make the whole area very vibrant and core to the neighborhood. It essentially creates a meeting point.

The relation to the street is something that could be fixed in a similar design for a centre along any major street.

The problem I have is that anti-development people completely dismiss Quinpool centre because they are afraid of its density and urbanity and will stop at nothing to prevent similar developments in the general. This is a huge mistake.
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  #107  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2012, 2:22 PM
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The problem I have is that anti-development people completely dismiss Quinpool centre because they are afraid of its density and urbanity and will stop at nothing to prevent similar developments in the general. This is a huge mistake.
Absolutely - the problem is not density or height, it's the finer-grained issues of integration with street-life.
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  #108  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2012, 5:41 PM
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When you examine the streetfronts across from Quinpool Center you see the real problem. That is one seriously ugly area along there.
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  #109  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2012, 11:52 AM
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I cannot recall exactly, but I'm pretty sure that was the entrance to the original grocery store space. The shops as they are today bear little relation to what it was originally, which was set up as an enclosed mall with glass facing the street and the stores contained inside that space beside an interior mall walkway. It failed almost immediately in that mode and slowly transformed itself into what you see today.
Interesting! I guess that would explain the odd way the second floor hallway looks down into some of the stores below.
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  #110  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2012, 2:21 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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When you examine the streetfronts across from Quinpool Center you see the real problem. That is one seriously ugly area along there.
Yeah, more of the houses along quinpool should be demo'd and the sites combined into larger developments facing the street that could have underground parking and would have retail at street level vs. up a flight of stairs.

I think that everything from The Atantica down to the newer building with Edward Jones or whatever (i.e. the blockbuster building and a few ugly houses) should be turned into one site with nice groundfloor retail and residential above up to 10 stories as a step down from Altlantica to this idea for a building to the edward jones building.
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  #111  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2012, 2:56 PM
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Yeah, more of the houses along quinpool should be demo'd and the sites combined into larger developments facing the street that could have underground parking and would have retail at street level vs. up a flight of stairs.

I think that everything from The Atantica down to the newer building with Edward Jones or whatever (i.e. the blockbuster building and a few ugly houses) should be turned into one site with nice groundfloor retail and residential above up to 10 stories as a step down from Altlantica to this idea for a building to the edward jones building.
The problem is with the way the HbD proposal works - if you do exactly what you are suggesting (demo and combine into larger lots) you will still end up with driveways onto Quinpool, which I don't think is a good idea. Quinpool is an arterial road that shouldn't be impeded by driveways. This creates bottlenecks when vehicles attempt to drive out. This is why I was hoping they would extend the commercial all the way to the back onto Pepperell so that you could have commercial on the front and then underground parking access from the rear. I guess you still could, but only residential could face the back and then have shared parking access?
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  #112  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2012, 4:07 PM
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Push on to protect Halifax with huge greenbelt
Group aims to limit urban sprawl


A certain word has been popping up more than usual lately in urban planning circles, but not everyone is sure they like it.

Greenbelt, or a big green swath around a city, is the term in question, and a push is underway for something resembling one surrounding Halifax Regional Municipality in order to stop sprawl.

“It’s getting very expensive to provide services to the outlying areas,” said Coun. Lorelei Nicoll (Cole Harbour).

The municipality didn’t meet its growth targets in the first five years of the regional plan. In 2006, the goal was to limit suburban growth to half the total growth. Instead, the municipality saw 56 per cent suburban growth, 28 per cent rural growth, and 16 per cent urban growth.

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  #113  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2012, 8:07 PM
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The problem is with the way the HbD proposal works - if you do exactly what you are suggesting (demo and combine into larger lots) you will still end up with driveways onto Quinpool, which I don't think is a good idea. Quinpool is an arterial road that shouldn't be impeded by driveways. This creates bottlenecks when vehicles attempt to drive out. This is why I was hoping they would extend the commercial all the way to the back onto Pepperell so that you could have commercial on the front and then underground parking access from the rear. I guess you still could, but only residential could face the back and then have shared parking access?
At the meeting I was at (second CP meeting at Atlantica) staff said that the plan was to allow full development Quinpool to back street and allow parking happen off of Pepperell or Yukon. In fact one of the questions to Andy Filmore was about how all that traffic from the already proposed Vernon/Quinpool building would ruin Pepperell and he said the TRW wouldn't allow a parking garage to enter off of Quinpool with a building that big....
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  #114  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2012, 8:12 PM
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In fact one of the questions to Andy Filmore was about how all that traffic from the already proposed Vernon/Quinpool building would ruin Pepperell ....
I get the sense that a significant number of people seriously overestimate the amount of traffic created by urban infill buildings. The numbers in traffic studies for midrise buildings are very small compared to traffic counts along arterial roads.

Another factor is that if you don't put the buildings in urban neighbourhoods, they go out in the suburbs. In the suburban buildings a larger percentage of people drive and many of them drive and park in the urban area as well. It's really easy to "undersell" urban infill by failing to point out the bigger picture.
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  #115  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2012, 9:30 PM
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I get the sense that a significant number of people seriously overestimate the amount of traffic created by urban infill buildings. The numbers in traffic studies for midrise buildings are very small compared to traffic counts along arterial roads.

Another factor is that if you don't put the buildings in urban neighbourhoods, they go out in the suburbs. In the suburban buildings a larger percentage of people drive and many of them drive and park in the urban area as well. It's really easy to "undersell" urban infill by failing to point out the bigger picture.
Yep. I imagine people don't generally buy a condo downtown if they have to drive to the airport to work, and the evidence is that most downtown apartments/condos end up renting out up to 50% of their parking space in Halifax to monthly parkers because the tenants don't bother having cars if they can walk/cab to everything.
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  #116  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2012, 1:17 AM
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Push on to protect Halifax with huge greenbelt
Group aims to limit urban sprawl


A certain word has been popping up more than usual lately in urban planning circles, but not everyone is sure they like it.

Greenbelt, or a big green swath around a city, is the term in question, and a push is underway for something resembling one surrounding Halifax Regional Municipality in order to stop sprawl.

“It’s getting very expensive to provide services to the outlying areas,” said Coun. Lorelei Nicoll (Cole Harbour).

The municipality didn’t meet its growth targets in the first five years of the regional plan. In 2006, the goal was to limit suburban growth to half the total growth. Instead, the municipality saw 56 per cent suburban growth, 28 per cent rural growth, and 16 per cent urban growth.

Link
More Ecology Action Center nonsense. Rezone people's land to make it undevelopable and worthless, to try and force development into the core where, of course, you cannot build what you want anyway.

Nice Eastern Bloc thinking there, EAC.

"Greenbelting" will hopefully soon go the way of greenwashing as just more environmental sleght-of-hand, only this time as practiced by the eco-terrorists. It is high time HRM rids itself of the EAC trying to make us all live in somewhat stubby commie blocks.
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  #117  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2012, 1:34 AM
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More Ecology Action Center nonsense. Rezone people's land to make it undevelopable and worthless, to try and force development into the core where, of course, you cannot build what you want anyway.

Nice Eastern Bloc thinking there, EAC.

"Greenbelting" will hopefully soon go the way of greenwashing as just more environmental sleght-of-hand, only this time as practiced by the eco-terrorists. It is high time HRM rids itself of the EAC trying to make us all live in somewhat stubby commie blocks.
I don't necessarily see a problem with this idea, but I think if this is going to go forward then either the Province or City should begin to expropriate land to achieve it. To simply rezone and take development rights away, I don't agree with for this purpose.

I also don't have an issue with parking garages coming off Pepperell - I would think that there would be a high level of traffic on the street from people attempting to find street parking and then going to the area. Plus, I too, don't believe you'd see as many cars as one would expect for infill development.
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  #118  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2012, 2:47 AM
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Let's play "spot the greenbelt": http://goo.gl/maps/Jtdf

The net effect of the greenbelt shown above is that everybody living in those outer subdivisions has to drive more if they want to get into the city. It is worse than if there had been no greenbelt, because the type of development did not improve (it can go down when it's pushed out to far-flung towns with weak development rules), and simply shuffling development around does not create any net savings of wilderness land or farmland.

Greenbelts like I said seem good for preserving some particular area but they are not a good tool for improving suburban development or limiting overall urban land use because they do not solve any root problems. One root problem is that suburban development's price tag (development fees and taxes) does not reflect its true cost. Another problem is that we are not building enough good development or transit to satisfy demand, so lots of demand is being met by suburban areas.
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  #119  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2012, 10:22 PM
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Quinpool Centre as it was originally envisioned, would have been fantastic, but again the naysayers (yes they existed back then as well) didn't want 4, 40 storey towers which if memory serves me would have been at the 4 corners of the development making for a far better looking development than the tower they ended up with, which in my opinion is extremely ugly.
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  #120  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2012, 4:11 PM
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The Centre Plan process has hit a slight snag caused by the provincial legislature. The 11 corridors that were to be prioritized did not receive the necessary approval from the province before the spring session ended. This report shows the possible solutions to this delay. Staff are recommending switching to a development agreement process for these areas until approval is received at a future date.

There is another REPORT that gives feedback to the points raised at the public meetings last winter. One thing that stuck out at me was the comment on our NIMBY debate; "Climate change, rising energy costs, seal level rise, rising housing costs, declining public health, rising costs of municipal servicing, all point to the acute need to incentivize densification in the urban cores of our cities. Community tolerance for NIMBY-ism is waning rapidly as citizens are becoming more and more aware of the responsibility we each have in creating a sustainable future for current and future generations."

Both of these documents are going before the Community Design Advisory Committee tomorrow.

Thanks to Councilor Watts for the email alerting me to these documents.
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