Andrew Moore 
Member since Aug 29, 2011


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Re: “Transfer Hell

"An advanced city is not a place where the poor move about in cars, rather it’s where even the rich use public transportation."
Enrique Penalosa

70 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Andrew Moore on 07/08/2014 at 8:00 PM

Re: “A Tiny Urban Oasis: Parklets May Be Coming to Richmond

It is really fantastic to see momentum continuing to build on Robinson Street with this type of "tactical urbanism": small scale, affordable and achievable interventions with potential for large impacts on the quality of life in the neighborhood.

I also want to thank Mark Hill, graduate of VCU's Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program, for his work towards improving the streetscape of Robinson Street. The Robinson Street Association, the organization currently doing great things on Robinson Street, was a direct outgrowth of Mark's public engagement in final project as the inaugural recipient of the Glave & Holmes Architecture Fellowship, a partnership between VCU MURP program and Glave & Holmes. It is gratifying to see his project evolve into a self-sustaining initiative. Bravo!

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Andrew Moore on 08/07/2013 at 12:03 PM

Re: “Spaced Out

Although Ned Oliver’s article raises one of the perennial and most persistent topics of urban life, the discussion of parking in the Fan fails to address a fundamental question: “Why is free, municipality-provided automobile parking treated as an unalienable right?” Parking spaces in the public right-of-way are owned by…the public. Why does the individual homeowner have a greater right to the parking space in front of their house than any other taxpayer?

The real answer to the parking issue in the Fan (and elsewhere) is to allow the market to establish the value of the parking in the public realm. Here’s a thought experiment: If you are a homeowner in the Fan, how much is it worth to you to have a parking space available for your use directly in front of your house at all times? What sort of fee would you be willing to pay to the City to have that space reserved? Ok, now imagine that same space reserved for your use somewhere on the same block or within a certain block radius. Would you be willing to pay the same amount? Probably not.

My point is that the parking spaces on the street have a real value that can be established along a continuum and when placed in the context of other choices in terms of real cost, interesting things start to happen. What sort of choices do we make as individuals and communities in this context? At what point does the value/cost of parking start to tip the scales toward public transportation? How about short-term pay-for-parking zones near Fan businesses that encourage customer access? Free parking is not a right and, for that matter, is not really “free” – the costs are borne by all. Let’s allow the value of parking to establish its use.

For more on this topic, I recommend Donald Shoup’s book The High Cost of Free Parking – the seminal text on how parking policy affects our physical environment in profound ways.

Andrew Moore, AIA
President, Board of Directors
Partnership for Smarter Growth

15 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Andrew Moore on 03/05/2013 at 4:17 PM

Re: “Inward and Upward

In the historical sense, a village was distinguished by contrast with its surroundings. The village was a relatively compact cluster of dwellings enveloped by agricultural land supporting the village and the wilderness beyond. And, the village was created perpetuated for sociability and defense.

In a similar fashion, West Broad Village stands as a contrasting anomaly within its surroundings – a walkable development within a car dominated landscape of use-segregated development, usually termed “suburban sprawl.” As author Ed Slipek notes, West Broad Village does some things well, but reflecting Trip Pollard, let’s avoid “celebrating such projects too soon.” West Broad Village’s highest achievement may be simply its contrast with and defense against the surrounding sprawl.

Make no mistake – West Broad Village is no refuge for “residents eager to ditch their cars.” Residents are entirely dependent on cars to access the Village and to reach anywhere else. Who in their right mind would attempt to cross the multiple lanes of West Broad Street on foot to reach the Best Buy on the other side? (As an aside, I am always amused by the token inclusion of wheel-chair ramps at the “crosswalks” in this area of West Broad. Who are we kidding?) At best, West Broad Village provides a token pedestrian experience that again, is only validated by the contrast with the surrounding development.

Where West Broad Village really struggles is its connectivity. Like the villages of antiquity, it is surrounded by a wilderness of car dependency and thus is forever limited to an introspective sense of community. The possibility of mixed-income residents (along with the vitality of diversity) is also limited since the price of entry (aside from rents and property values) is car ownership. I am well aware of the challenges faced by those advancing public transportation in the Richmond Region and the staunch opposition in Henrico, but to be truly vibrant as a walkable community, alternatives to car ownership must exist. The article is mute on whether West Broad Village was designed with any kind of transit-readiness in mind or not, but the exclusion of any kind of planning is a missed opportunity.

Speaking of connectivity, how about the street grid so celebrated in New Urbanist circles? The last time I checked, you could not enter West Broad Village from Three Chopt Road, meaning that access was limited to West Broad Street and John Rolfe Parkway (navigating though shopping center parking lots), both typical suburban collector roads. This kind of limited access is a huge contributor to the traffic snarls prevalent on West Broad, meaning that in its planned state, West Broad Village increases the traffic as much as any other car-centric development in the area. Contrary to the assertions of many, opening up connections helps reduce overall traffic, not increase it. (Granted, opening up connections requires systemic thinking about the road grid to avoid problem “cut-throughs”, but simply perpetuating the status quo is not the answer.)

Again, the highest praise that can be given to West Broad Village is that it provides a welcome contrast with the surrounding Short Pump, car-dominated nightmare. And for the villagers living there, it provides a taste of urban living in the context of sociability and defense. Maybe, someday, they will experience the real thing.

26 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Andrew Moore on 01/30/2013 at 11:13 AM

Re: “City Renews Push for Downtown Bus Hub

Of the potential locations identified in the article, the Grace Street location has the potential to complement the proposed GRTC Bus Rapid Transit line on Broad Street. The locations on Cary are too far away from Broad to comfortably walk and involve a serious uphill climb from Cary. Although the "serious concerns" raised by CenterStage are not listed in the article, if history proves to be a guide, the "concerns" are likely the spurious objections to urban life that always seem to accompany this debate.

It's a shame that the Main Street Station location has been sidelined as a candidate - another victim of "serious concerns," I suppose.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Andrew Moore on 08/02/2012 at 9:25 AM

Re: “Farmed Out

For the record, the parking at Main Street Station is clearly marked "Public Parking," with no restrictions. Please park there when visiting 17th Street.

The point is that the market's struggles are more complex than any single cause and certainly not lack of parking, nor the design of the market structure (though I would love to have some more detail on the functional shortcomings). It is entirely possible that the market doesn't work at that location for entirely plausible reasons. Perhaps the space should be used for other uses.

[Full disclosure: Andrew Moore directs the Urban Architecture Studio at Glave & Holmes Architecture, the firm responsible for designing the 17th Street Market structure. Although the market was designed before Andrew joined the firm, he was responsible for including the images on the firm's website.]

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Andrew Moore on 08/31/2011 at 5:14 PM

Re: “Farmed Out

Although Nancy Finch clearly cares enough to be a voice in lament, she doesn't seem to understand the nuances of urban vitality that make place like the 17th Street Farmer's Market successful or unsuccessful. The market's struggles are not the result of the physical form of the market structure. Urban markets are remarkably adaptable to circumstance, as innumerable examples demonstrate worldwide. The ultimate success of markets like the 17th Street Market is driven by a complex mix of political will, culture, physical accommodation, economics, buyer demand and most importantly, vision.

Although accommodating the car can play an important role, especially in car-dependent Richmond, farmer's markets in urban settings are most successful in serving the local residents that can walk. Nevertheless, I am puzzled by Nancy Finch's complaint because aside from the plentiful curb-side parking on surrounding blocks, Main Street Station has a public lot less than 100 feet from the market with the first hour of parking free. The suburban mentality of parking within a few feet of the front door is best served by, you guessed it, the suburbs.

This dialog is healthy and my hope is that it will continue. However, I also hope that the analysis of the 17th Street Market and its ills comes from a deeper understanding of the life of a city. I hope that Nancy Finch finds the right farmer's market as a source for local, fresh, reasonably-priced produce close to where she lives. And, for the sake of the urban life of Shockoe Bottom, I hope 17th Street finds its way.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Andrew Moore on 08/29/2011 at 2:59 PM

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