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  #21  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 2:34 PM
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I think the moral of this story is that one shouldn't post when in a drunken stupor...

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  #22  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 2:53 PM
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I don't think anybody is sitting around deliberately twiddling their thumbs. The rail lines themselves are much larger, longer, and more complicated construction projects than single site buildings. I'm sure it's true that Union Station is extremely complicated in its design. But even if they had a design ready two years ago, I wouldn't have expected to see construction yet. FasTracks and the rail passengers it brings is the heart and soul of the development. There would be no reason to start on the project right now, they're trying to time its completion with the opening of the first rail line.
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  #23  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 3:31 PM
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Originally Posted by myshtern View Post
I develop real estate, not on a large commercial scale, but well enough to know that things just arent supposed to move this slowly. I'm sure the project is being done by guys just like you, students and professionals of urban planning design; not financiers who are looking out for their pockets and need the project done on time. It's fun to do impact studies and whatnot but I'd like to see a study done on the public cost and impact of the time that all of these impact studies take
thanks, at least someone else can see it for what it is.

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Most assanine thing I've ever read. Thanks.
obviously you're used to the phrase "good enough for government work". but seeing the current state of this country, i can't say i'm surprised by anything, really.


and glowrock, it was posted in my "need to be lucid since i'm an engineer in the private sector" mentality. nothing drunk about my rant at all.
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  #24  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 3:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mr1138 View Post
I don't think anybody is sitting around deliberately twiddling their thumbs. The rail lines themselves are much larger, longer, and more complicated construction projects than single site buildings. I'm sure it's true that Union Station is extremely complicated in its design. But even if they had a design ready two years ago, I wouldn't have expected to see construction yet. FasTracks and the rail passengers it brings is the heart and soul of the development. There would be no reason to start on the project right now, they're trying to time its completion with the opening of the first rail line.
i don't think anyone is sitting around idly either, just the efficiency on it is pure crap. it's the reason why half of the country doesn't trust taxes (sadly enough).
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  #25  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 4:49 PM
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I think it's simply a vocal minority which wants a big whole in the canopy so they can see Union Station in it's entirety from 17th Street. I think the non-vocial majority -- which doesn't bother wasting their time going to meetings and expressing their opinions or even bother keeping up with this project in anyway -- would rather be sheltered fully (100%, not 40%) from the elements while waiting on the commuter rail platforms.

Perhaps this will encourage some people to actually use the historical Union Station to wait (as it was once used)? Also, perhaps when it's all designed and built, maybe it will look great and function adequately? The best thing is to wait and see. It's beyond our control, so we have to embrace whatever is designed. It does little good to complain to one another about it. I have tried writing the proper channels and am just ignored.

In the end, the only good idea, is an idea that satisfies the vocal minority.
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  #26  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 5:19 PM
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My firm has been working on some of the legal aspects of this project, and I can assure you that everyone is working very hard, and that people have done some great work to overcome what seems like one obstacle after another.

And yes, when you deal with government and federal funds, everything is about 100 times more complicated and takes ten times as long. Any CYA mentality that is present in the private sector must be taken to laughable extremes when dealing with public money.

People looooove launching lawsuits at these kind of projects.
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  #27  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 5:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SnyderBock View Post
I think it's simply a vocal minority which wants a big whole in the canopy so they can see Union Station in it's entirety from 17th Street. I think the non-vocial majority -- which doesn't bother wasting their time going to meetings and expressing their opinions or even bother keeping up with this project in anyway -- would rather be sheltered fully (100%, not 40%) from the elements while waiting on the commuter rail platforms.

Perhaps this will encourage some people to actually use the historical Union Station to wait (as it was once used)? Also, perhaps when it's all designed and built, maybe it will look great and function adequately? The best thing is to wait and see. It's beyond our control, so we have to embrace whatever is designed. It does little good to complain to one another about it. I have tried writing the proper channels and am just ignored.

In the end, the only good idea, is an idea that satisfies the vocal minority.

There isn't a hole in the canopy now....check last page
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  #28  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 5:58 PM
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Originally Posted by myshtern View Post
I develop real estate, not on a large commercial scale, but well enough to know that things just arent supposed to move this slowly. I'm sure the project is being done by guys just like you, students and professionals of urban planning design; not financiers who are looking out for their pockets and need the project done on time. It's fun to do impact studies and whatnot but I'd like to see a study done on the public cost and impact of the time that all of these impact studies take
Yes, actually, they are supposed to take this long. If you don't like it, talk to Congress (and the environmental groups). It's not private sector real estate (although, why don't you talk to a California developer and see what he has to say about how long development "should take.")

NEPA is a good thing. And the fact that EISs take so long is (somewhat) intentional. If this were a highway project through environmentally sensitive lands, you'd be damn happy it takes this long, because it would take you time to mobilize the opposition, and you'd be happy they were putting real time into studying it and pre-engineering it as well. As a matter of fact, if you lived along the West Corridor in Lakewood, you'd be damn happy the EIS takes two years, and you'd probably be trying to slow it down. You wouldn't give two sh*ts about "seeing construction start" - you'd want to make sure that the designers and planners of the project are taking all of the environmental (natural *and* human) consequences into account, and you'd want to be sure they are doing everything they can to minimize them.

What you have to understand about an EIS is that it's not really about the final report, it's about the process. And it *is* a deliberate process. And the alternative is much, much worse (at least from the enviormental standpioint).

I'm not sure I would mind terribly if we went back to the "good 'ole days" of Robert Moseses ramming projects down peoples throats; of highways tearing out whole neighborhoods, and whole cities for that matter; and of filling in mile after mile of wetlands for the next subdivision - all without any review process. Just remember, without this horrible, horrible government process, for every Fastracks project that gets done faster, you'd have three projects that you *hate* moving right along as well.

Ask the folks in Clear Creek County if they'd be willing to forgo the process to speed up I-70 improvements. I *dare* you to...
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  #29  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 5280 View Post
My firm has been working on some of the legal aspects of this project, and I can assure you that everyone is working very hard, and that people have done some great work to overcome what seems like one obstacle after another.

And yes, when you deal with government and federal funds, everything is about 100 times more complicated and takes ten times as long. Any CYA mentality that is present in the private sector must be taken to laughable extremes when dealing with public money.

People looooove launching lawsuits at these kind of projects.
I think this is what Bronco is saying. Despite people working hard and caring about the project, it seems like progress is slow. It has nothing to do with the work Ken and everyone else is doing...its just frustrating to see the project come together as it has to, which is bureaucratically. This is the way these sorts of things have always been.

Like many others here, I wish the other proposal would have won the bid for the Station, but I don't prescribe to the notion that if E/W wasn't in charge of the project that everything would be smooth sailing, or even noticeably different.
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  #30  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bunt_q View Post
Yes, actually, they are supposed to take this long. If you don't like it, talk to Congress (and the environmental groups). It's not private sector real estate (although, why don't you talk to a California developer and see what he has to say about how long development "should take.")

NEPA is a good thing. And the fact that EISs take so long is (somewhat) intentional. If this were a highway project through environmentally sensitive lands, you'd be damn happy it takes this long, because it would take you time to mobilize the opposition, and you'd be happy they were putting real time into studying it and pre-engineering it as well. As a matter of fact, if you lived along the West Corridor in Lakewood, you'd be damn happy the EIS takes two years, and you'd probably be trying to slow it down. You wouldn't give two sh*ts about "seeing construction start" - you'd want to make sure that the designers and planners of the project are taking all of the environmental (natural *and* human) consequences into account, and you'd want to be sure they are doing everything they can to minimize them.

What you have to understand about an EIS is that it's not really about the final report, it's about the process. And it *is* a deliberate process. And the alternative is much, much worse (at least from the enviormental standpioint).

I'm not sure I would mind terribly if we went back to the "good 'ole days" of Robert Moseses ramming projects down peoples throats; of highways tearing out whole neighborhoods, and whole cities for that matter; and of filling in mile after mile of wetlands for the next subdivision - all without any review process. Just remember, without this horrible, horrible government process, for every Fastracks project that gets done faster, you'd have three projects that you *hate* moving right along as well.

Ask the folks in Clear Creek County if they'd be willing to forgo the process to speed up I-70 improvements. I *dare* you to...
I think there is a happy medium somewhere in here. Everyone knew what they were getting for quite some time. And in a time where things can change so quickly, I don't think its unreasonable too think that the public can obtain information, interpret info, organize and act more quickly then 10 years ago either. But, in an age where a process takes the same amount of time but the environment changes more rapidly, you are bound to run into problems. From my observation, it seems like by the time a study is complete the thing that was studied is irrelevant and the plan has changed. Time for a new study. Rinse and repeat.
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  #31  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:35 PM
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Who PAYS

My question is , does anyone in Denver pay to ride light rail ? I have been riding from Clear Creek and see little to no one buying fares.
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  #32  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:37 PM
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I would definitely concur with Buntie. The alternative is what I witnessed in Florida, where the Corps of Engineers barely considers a project before it slaps down a FONSI for some 2,000 acre development in the middle of wetlands. Because, you know, there's a housing shortage in Florida and all. If you don't have a careful and deliberate process that seeks input, you end up with new airport runways that send planes within a hundred yards of your bedroom window.

/off-topic and bitter
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  #33  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:40 PM
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My question is , does anyone in Denver pay to ride light rail ? I have been riding from Clear Creek and see little to no one buying fares.
I ride almost everyday and used to think the same thing, but people actually do. During the rare occasions they have someone checking, everyone seems to have paid. You see a person get removed every once in awhile, but not as much as you would think. Most people seem to have passes, which allows them to bypass the ticket machines.
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  #34  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ski82 View Post
I think this is what Bronco is saying. Despite people working hard and caring about the project, it seems like progress is slow.
Bronco directly implied that the people working on this project don't "give two shits about it." I disagree with not only his assessment of the project and its progress, but specifically with his characterization of the people who are working on it.
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  #35  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:51 PM
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This is why so few projects (public or private) allow very much transparency into the process. Projects are complicated, this project is INCREDIBLY so. Having attended a few USAC meetings and break-out sessions I'm impressed by what they've done so far. They are about 6 months delayed at this point, as that is the length of time it took to work out the significant cost overruns (there where also issues with getting the paperwork in place for the actual money to start flowing).

Look at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn or the freedom tower project. Those projects are extremely complex and have gone through incredibly long design and vetting processes. This one is no different. Development takes time, and very rarely does the public get to see so clearly into the process. Its frustrating, but details that armchair QB's like us hand-wave around have very lasting and meaningful impacts when your actually designing the thing. Much less something that has to withstand the population and transit growth this area will see for the next 100 years.
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  #36  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:53 PM
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I ride almost everyday and used to think the same thing, but people actually do. During the rare occasions they have someone checking, everyone seems to have paid. You see a person get removed every once in awhile, but not as much as you would think. Most people seem to have passes, which allows them to bypass the ticket machines.
There are a LOT of Eco passes out there. Everyone related to Auraria campus (Faculty, students, administration, etc..) and most anyone who works downtown seems to have one.
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  #37  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 6:55 PM
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this project is awesome...scope, scale, impact - it's going to be amazing. though i agree that we will rue the height limits in the CPV once there are 100k people getting off the trains each day.

that said - the major mistake is connecting the north side of lodo to the rest of the CPV. when the 18th street connection was yanked, we lost quite a bit....

buntie i'm not sure i'm with you on the reasoning behind the lenghty EIS these days. from the meetings i've been to it seems that the purpose is very CYA - "we listened to you and gave everybody a chance to do it, but here is how it's going to be done". changes enacted by citizens at meetins is VERY minor.

one outstanding example, unfortunately, would be the folks along Welton pushing away double track to 40th / 40th...and also pushing away trains direclty going to jobs in the W, SE and SW. Why? somebody stated emphatically that Downing street would lose "important historical buildings" if the loop was completed. i've walked it and driven it many times....there is not a SINGLE contributing / registered building along the route, but RTD let it die on the vine and we're left with an uncertain single-car light rail solution.

what did we lose? the creation of a major north station at 40/40...system flexibility with routing on a loop...billions in development potential...all based on a BS historical claim.
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  #38  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 9:42 PM
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one outstanding example, unfortunately, would be the folks along Welton pushing away double track to 40th / 40th...and also pushing away trains direclty going to jobs in the W, SE and SW. Why? somebody stated emphatically that Downing street would lose "important historical buildings" if the loop was completed. i've walked it and driven it many times....there is not a SINGLE contributing / registered building along the route, but RTD let it die on the vine and we're left with an uncertain single-car light rail solution.

what did we lose? the creation of a major north station at 40/40...system flexibility with routing on a loop...billions in development potential...all based on a BS historical claim.
I agree with you of course - the NEPA process is an incredible NIMBY-power tool. But that's what it was *meant* to do, and most Americans, I'd bet you, wouldn't want to give that up.

You ever think that maybe democracies are at an inherent disadvantage in responding quickly to serious problems? (or in responding at all, if the problems are slow in coming... like the frog in slowly-heated water?) The only time anything gets done that really works or happens quickly is with "strong leadership" (which is a synonym for "cram it down your throat" - i don't buy the "convince the people they want it" leadership theory - it's just cramming). Our system is *built* for NIMBYism, as much as we here all decry it.
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  #39  
Old Posted May 1, 2008, 10:12 PM
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it's a great question....

i'd advocate that the pendulum has swung much too far away from strong leadership toward too many people (and non-experts) contributing toward decisions.

we dont want dictators, but we also elect people (including RTD board) to represent us and MAKE decisions...the EIS / NEPA process is like saying "we don't know, let's have a few thousand people help us make a decison"...instead of haivng elected leaders make them and move forward. if we dont like their decisions? well, elections are more frequent then record-of-decisions it seems.

i cant tell you how many times RTD employees, in casual conversations, have stated that they know how to build the best system, but are not allowed to move forward (keep in mind these are trained, experienced, transit experts...not elected, but they deserve some more slack on the line.)
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  #40  
Old Posted May 2, 2008, 6:07 AM
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it's a great question....

i'd advocate that the pendulum has swung much too far away from strong leadership toward too many people (and non-experts) contributing toward decisions.
Ding ding ding - correct answer IMO. Government workers are terrified of accepting responsibility for decisions especially when they reap none of the benefits.

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Look at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn or the freedom tower project.
You really want to compare laying railroad down as complex as the freedom tower? When did the light rail project begin? Was it before 9/11? Now which is going to end sooner?
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