Monday, August 8, 2011

Site Visit: Park Lane Place

This weekend, between a trip to Freebird's and Best Buy, I asked the lovely woman driving the car if we could stop through Park Lane Place to see how it might be doing, had anything changed, any new businesses opened or closed since my last visit, or my last commentary which could be found in this column at D Magazine. Before I started writing for D, I would simply answer questions for them with responses such as this one about Park Lane and development/placemaking in general:
Patrick Kennedy, an urban planner and designer, has spent some time walking around Park Lane. He says a development like this one needs to do two things to succeed. “It has to be so well-designed, so lovable that the citizenry will always care for it and ensure that it endures,” he says. “The other is, it has to tie into the rest of the city, the adjacent properties, neighborhoods, street network, and transportation framework so that the improvement, stewardship, and resilience are mutually ensured. I’m not sure Park Lane successfully accomplishes either. I think the underlying logic defining Park Lane—that of convenience—undermines certainly the latter and possibly the former, as the experience is ultimately degraded by the disconnection, no matter the level of detailed design.”
This visit led to that lovely lady visiting some perfume and makeup store giving me free license to wander. And wander I did, with twitter twitpicking (spelling?) at the ready. What follows is my pics and associated tweets from the visit. These are fun and easy, and truthfully, I do them all the time just to verify and/or test my hypotheses and opinions on places against reality and how users actually interact with places. So I'll try to do more and more of these as twitter/blog posts.

This arcade will not be confused with Bologna. Baloney perhaps

Every axis seems terminated by yet another garage entrance

Or every block interrupted by another

Can you be realistically called transit-oriented dvlpmnt when this is the pedestrian connection to DART?

Garages look maybe 20% full. Tell me again that the development needed all that upfront expense?

Garages forever dominating experience

Nobody likes fixed seats unless they're low seat walls. WhWhyte 101:

Ubiquitous CCTV cameras don't give sense of security but unease. Know what makes a place safer? Human eyes

This actually looks/feels like most comfortable space on property. Shame it is utterly buried by service dock

Additional commentary: the shade brought by clustered buildings made for a rather comfortable microclimate on yet another 110 degree day. You'd think we'd do more of it rather than less.

Im confident somebody pitched this as "Spanish steps" & the empty terraces as "prime restaurant locations"

I count 5 of 25 units w signs of occupancy on balconies

Tell me it wouldn't have made sense to put whole foods on the highway frontage side rather than on garage

Vertical circulation takes up 130 linear feet of building frontage more valuable as ANYTHING else

Building accommodation without integration Park Lane Place, typically forlorn