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Thread: BOK Park Plaza

  1. #201

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Fly on the Wall View Post
    I don't think GoDowntownOKC's comments are "spin", I think it's an honest assessment that is in line with how many people feel about a project like this. I have to admit I'm a little mystified by some people's nearly dogmatic dislike of Sky Bridges. You know what kills street life? 20 degree F weather with a 40 knot wind howling out of the north! I've worked downtown OKC over 10 years. My group and I walk all over the place at lunch to different establishments. When the weather is bad, we often are in a sky bridge at some point going to an establishment quite a distance away to spend money as a group in a place we would not have gone to if we had to walk in the cold rain and driving wind. That particular business and others like it benefit from our little treks.

    When the weather is nicer, we always walk outside, walking from anywhere to the Museum Cafe, Joey's all the way to Bricktown on foot. Sometimes we track down a food truck and just sit either in the Devon Plaza area, Myriad Gardens or where ever. So from my perspective, the much hated (here anyway) occasional weather related stroll through a Sky Bridge is a convenience. I'd much prefer a nice walk outside, even when it is cold. But, driving cold rain and 0F wind chills will have us not going out for lunch or taking a indoor route if possible to where we want to go. Not long ago we were paused overlooking a street on such a nasty day and saw some guy nailed by truck splashing a puddle of water and someone commented, "I wonder if that was they guy who's always whining about Sky Bridges on OKCTALK?".

    People can and will always nitpick, but over all, this project is a big positive for the downtown area. Don't let an obsession with perfection be the enemy of progress. There are a lot of things I would like to see right now, yesterday really in OKC. Parking garages everywhere on this block, I get that distaste. I'd much rather have the ability to hop on a light rail service from Edmond, get off at the Santa Fe station and walk to work. But that option doesn't exist so the parking issue needs to be addressed.

  2. #202
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    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    There is a lack of political will to do so in the aftermath of the bombing. This is openly discussed in conversations on this topic locally.
    I think the lack of proposals for even limited housing on top of the new Main Street Garage probably also reinforced the idea that developers are not interested like we would want them too. That would have been the easiest and cheapest of all, and in a great location. But no one was interested.

  3. #203

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    [SIZE=3]Developers are in it to make money. Big money can be made, but also big money can be lost. Cost too much to build a parking garage down, especially with the clay and water table here. The availability of land compared to many other cities is also a factor. I for one am excited, just as it was stated earlier no speculative office building has been built downtown in 30 years. As far a the implied short- sightedness of Larry Nichols, if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have a growing and vibrant downtown. Can you imagine if he would have decided to pack up and go to Houston years ago.
    Also, why would Devon want apartments on top of parking garages, they are not in the real estate business. Let Clayco develop this. When the streetcar comes through there will be plenty of areas for retail.

  4. #204

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    The planned skybridges are particularly a bad problem here because Devon already has a bunch of un-utilized retail space in their garage along Hudson, and there will be more now along Main and Sheridan that they will have to lease out.

    I remember when the space was added along Hudson, they said something to the effect that they would put in false fronts "until the area develops". Well, not it's being developed, but in a way that will not add to the street like and thus retail demand.

    I fear we are going to have those Devon windows forever and this new retail space may meet the same fate.
    Pete,

    I respect your opinion and know that you are Very knowledgeable, but I personally don't think that the skybridges in OKC (particularly the one across Hudson) will affect the retail demand in those parking garages in a negative way. I know there have been studies done on skybridges but I haven't been able to find any that relate to a city like OKC with the culture that we have. There have been numerous times when the current skybridge system has allowed me to spend money in Leadership Square or Robinson Renaissance on cold or rainy days. A typical New York-er would probably say something like "who cares if it's cold outside, it's only 3 blocks away". An Oklahoman on the other hand would probably say "Why would I walk 3 blocks in the cold when I could just get something in or near my building?". In my experience, people here donít just wander the streets until they find something that looks good (especially in inclement weather). They know whatís available and they take the most comfortable route to get there. If there were shops or restaurants in those parking garage spaces, people would see them when driving down the street to work and would walk there on the sidewalks on nice days or take the skybridge system to get as close as possible during cold or inclement weather.

    I do understand your point that the skybridge might take some people off the sidewalks but I donít think it reduces demand for street level retail or restaurants (especially those close to the skybridge system). If people know itís there and want whatís offered, they should find their way there. But why not make it as convenient as possible?

    I also donít think that we are suddenly a ďsuccessful cityĒ if there is so many people trying to cross the street that traffic flow is inhibited. Why not let the people that want to get from the DEC to the 499 restaurant take the skybridge and the people that want to go to the garage retail spaces take the crosswalk? All those people COULD just use the crosswalk, but that doesnít change the fact that half of them are going to the 499 restaurant and half of them are going to the garage retail.

    I think that the way to make shops (or restaurants) survive in the parking garage retail spaces is to curate businesses that there is a real demand for that donít compete with other nearby businesses.

  5. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Fly on the Wall View Post
    I don't think GoDowntownOKC's comments are "spin", I think it's an honest assessment that is in line with how many people feel about a project like this. I have to admit I'm a little mystified by some people's nearly dogmatic dislike of Sky Bridges. You know what kills street life? 20 degree F weather with a 40 knot wind howling out of the north! I've worked downtown OKC over 10 years. My group and I walk all over the place at lunch to different establishments. When the weather is bad, we often are in a sky bridge at some point going to an establishment quite a distance away to spend money as a group in a place we would not have gone to if we had to walk in the cold rain and driving wind. That particular business and others like it benefit from our little treks.

    When the weather is nicer, we always walk outside, walking from anywhere to the Museum Cafe, Joey's all the way to Bricktown on foot. Sometimes we track down a food truck and just sit either in the Devon Plaza area, Myriad Gardens or where ever. So from my perspective, the much hated (here anyway) occasional weather related stroll through a Sky Bridge is a convenience. I'd much prefer a nice walk outside, even when it is cold. But, driving cold rain and 0F wind chills will have us not going out for lunch or taking a indoor route if possible to where we want to go. Not long ago we were paused overlooking a street on such a nasty day and saw some guy nailed by truck splashing a puddle of water and someone commented, "I wonder if that was they guy who's always whining about Sky Bridges on OKCTALK?".

    People can and will always nitpick, but over all, this project is a big positive for the downtown area. Don't let an obsession with perfection be the enemy of progress. There are a lot of things I would like to see right now, yesterday really in OKC. Parking garages everywhere on this block, I get that distaste. I'd much rather have the ability to hop on a light rail service from Edmond, get off at the Santa Fe station and walk to work. But that option doesn't exist so the parking issue needs to be addressed.
    My sentiments too, but with a twist. My Thunder tickets come with a parking pass in the Santa Fe garage. When the weather is okay, we park on the west side of the Stage Center site. This saves about 10 minutes each direction for the game. Now when it's a downpour or snow/ice or cold and a howling wind, we park in the garage and take the sky bridges all the way to the Cox Center. Then it's just a dash across Reno. Thank the good lord for the sky bridges.

  6. #206

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Fly on the Wall View Post
    I don't think GoDowntownOKC's comments are "spin", I think it's an honest assessment that is in line with how many people feel about a project like this. I have to admit I'm a little mystified by some people's nearly dogmatic dislike of Sky Bridges. You know what kills street life? 20 degree F weather with a 40 knot wind howling out of the north! I've worked downtown OKC over 10 years.
    Sorry, but weather has no bearing on whether or not a place has active street life. The cold isn't the problem (Northern Europe, for example). The driving wind isn't the problem either (When I lived in Taipei, people would still go out shopping or to restaurants during typhoons). The difference between those places that remain active during the winter/monsoon months and OKC is urban design. Taipei's arterials are lined with arcaded, sidewalk-fronting buildings featuring a contiguous wall of storefronts. This strategy is so successful that people don't mind leaving the protection of home in order to go out and do something when the weather is awful. A consequence of this is that even collectors and neighborhood streets, which aren't protected by arcades, see successful, year-round street life. Their cafes, shops, bars, and restaurants are full of locals who know there will be an umbrella stand just beyond the entryway.

    When you have good urban design, you get good urban results. When you design for the office worker to arrive by car, park in a garage, sky walk to and from the office, and leave to the suburbs, you get exactly what you designed for. Weather is a red herring here.

  7. #207

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Downtown last night was very active with a lot of street activity, but it wasn't really that cold.

    20*F with 40 mph winds would be a different story because Oklahomans aren't used to that kind of weather. In Chicago that is likely a typical winter day so it's not that big of a deal to them. Weather does play a part in street activity, though it's only a part of the equation.

  8. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by boitoirich View Post
    ...When you have good urban design, you get good urban results. When you design for the office worker to arrive by car, park in a garage, sky walk to and from the office, and leave to the suburbs, you get exactly what you designed for. Weather is a red herring here.
    100% agree.

  9. #209

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan



    Well this is what we get in exchange for those historic Art Deco buildings. Pickard Chilton should make this rendering their website's home page banner.


  10. #211

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    The idea that cold weather dictates street life seems to make intuitive sense, but it just doesn't really hold up in the real world.

    All you have to do is look at the 4 biggest cities in the US: New York, LA, Chicago, and Houston.

    Now, New York is pretty obvious. It's one of the most urban cities in the world and certainly the most urban in the United States. The average high in the winter months is around 40 degrees. Average lows are at freezing. I have been to New York when it was freezing and snowing and when it was 60 and sunny. There's no noticeable difference in street life. The park was less busy when it was cold, but because of the way New York city is built, there is no way not to interact with the urban landscape every single day, no matter what the weather is, so it's more the way the city was developed than it's weather that dictate its street life.

    LA's lowest average monthly low is 48 degrees with monthly highs never dipping below about 68. It more or less exists because of its great weather, yet there is a song about how no ever walks there. Granted this has changed a lot in the past 20 years or so and there are now pockets of urban life to be found. However, this is not because the weather somehow got better. It's because parts of LA began to be developed in a way that encourages street life and urban activity.

    Chicago's urban center is much like New York, except that its winters are even colder and much longer. It certainly has some days where abundant snow falls can temper street activity (mainly because you just can't walk on them), but it's prepared for this and the street life is back in abundance soon after the storms pass. This is because Chicago is dependent on its urban landscape to be functioning. The funny thing is that Chicago probably didn't have to be this way. It could have developed more like LA where it just has one water barrier on one side. In fact, it was kind of an engineering bitch to do with its swampy land and flood prone river. But, that's what the market wanted and so it developed into one of the biggest urban centers in the US with some of its best street life.

    Houston I know less about, but it's lowest monthly average low is 41 degrees in January. It certainly can get hot and the humidity can be awful, but its reputation for being one of the most sprawling cities in the US is certainly not due to harsh winter weather. This is because of the way it was developed. Like LA, I think Houston has also managed to offer some urban living these days as more people demand it. I'd love to know about how they've done it, but I am willing to guess that their successful urban revitalization districts are not 50% land use for parking garages and skywalk connected towers. Maybe someone who knows more about it can post their examples of urban restoration.

    Now, we know that Oklahoma's weather is very volatile, but when compared to two of the largest and most urban cities in the country, our average highs in the winter months are about 10 degrees higher than New York's and about 20 degrees higher than Chicago's and our average snowfall is 17 inches less and 28 inches less respectively. So, arguing that Oklahoma City's weather requires the use of elements that compromise street life or other urban qualities seems specious at best. Some Cities with much harsher winters actually serve as epitomes for urban development and living.

  11. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    It's more than just hot or cold weather, as we have the occasional thunderstorm that keeps people inside as much as possible too.

  12. #213

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellaboo View Post
    It's more than just hot or cold weather, as we have the occasional thunderstorm that keeps people inside as much as possible too.
    And they don't? They have 17+ more inches of so than us every year, too.

  13. #214

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    This convo kind of shows what I have always thought to myself. Many Oklahomans simply dont dress prepared for the weather of the moment. That winter wind isnt that bad with a scarf or a stocking cap. Rain isnt much of a nuisance with, you know, rain coats or an umbrella. Maybe these are things that are too troublesome for Okies to possess and use...I dont know.

  14. #215

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    To be fair, New York or Chicago thunderstorms don't usually have golfball+ sized hail with them. However, they come seldom enough even here that I doubt they have a lot of impact on street life.

    I think more than anything, what impedes street life here is culture. I was hanging with some friends the other night and they had parked in the Devon parking garage to go to the Myriad Gardens. Afterwards they wanted to go to Bricktown to eat but instead of walking there, they insisted on going back to their car and then driving to Bricktown, of course parking as close to the restaurant as they could. I suggested walking and they looked at me like I was crazy. That mindset is still pretty prevalent here and in my opinion is one of the largest impediments to street life. Even good urbanism wouldn't have mattered in this case. There are numerous other cities with Skywalks that still have great street life. People will take the Skywalk when the weather is bad but they will still go outside when it is nice because most people would rather be outside enjoying the fresh air.

  15. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by onthestrip View Post
    This convo kind of shows what I have always thought to myself. Many Oklahomans simply dont dress prepared for the weather of the moment. That winter wind isnt that bad with a scarf or a stocking cap. Rain isnt much of a nuisance with, you know, rain coats or an umbrella. Maybe these are things that are too troublesome for Okies to possess and use...I dont know.
    They don't need to wear them or bring them...because they are either in their cars or inside (dropped off near the front door). It's a bit of a chicken-or-egg situation, but honestly it is the lifestyle that dictates the preparedness (or lack thereof), rather than the other way around.

  16. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by BDP View Post
    And they don't? They have 17+ more inches of so than us every year, too.
    What about skirt alerts ? None of the 4 cities listed have the obnoxious winds that we have in OKC ?

  17. #218

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bellaboo View Post
    What about skirt alerts ? None of the 4 cities listed have the obnoxious winds that we have in OKC ?
    New York's average wind speed is the same as Oklahoma City's:

    According to the National Climatic Data Center's list of annual average wind speeds, the windiest U.S. city is Dodge City, Kansas, with an average speed of 13.9 mph. Other windy cities include Amarillo, Texas (13.5 mph) and Rochester, Minn. (13.1 mph.). The windiest "big" cities are New York City (LaGuardia Airport) and Oklahoma City, which both have an average annual wind speed of 12.2 mph.
    (funny that they put 'big' in quotation marks)

    USATODAY.com

  18. #219

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    i think more than anything, what impedes street life here is culture.
    ding!

    Thing is though, that with proper development techniques, that culture can change in some areas. LA and Houston are good examples. I know LA has very urban areas and it's actually hard to notice the parking garages when you're in them. The funny thing is that if it weren't so easy to park in one garage for the MBG and another in bricktown, you and your friends would have walked by default. In some ways it's too easy to park here.

    And really, I understand some people not wanting to hang out in some of our weather. But that shouldn't mean that we are incapable of having one urban area in the city and downtown seems the most logical part of the city to do that. So, I don't think it's too much to want or ask that this little 2 square mile area out 600+ square miles be done in an urban way. There is still miles and miles of area to build on where, if you want an isolated development, you can have one and no one would care.

  19. #220

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I think it has less to do with weather and more to do with what people are used to. In NYC, Chicago or any other city with reliable mass transit, people use cars less, walk more and interact more. Oklahoma, as a whole. is built around the automobile so much so that a person will wait 2-3 minutes for a parking spot five spots away from the front of the store when they could have parked ten spots away and walked in by then. I know it is not the most reliable source on the face of the planet, but look at the comments on newsok.com articles when a story about anything to do with density and nine times out of 10, someone will ask where everyone will park. My cousin worked DT at Leadersjip square for 15 years and was appalled that he had to pay for parking if he wanted a descent space in BT for a baseball game. We are so used to parking right in front of our destination, walking in and walking right out that we can't fathom the idea of parking more than a block away, walking around and walking back to our car. One of my coworkers complained that she had to park on NW 17th street and walk a block to Pie Junkie and walk back. I believe this is a lot of the standard way of thinking in OKC, sadly. Hoepfully it will change with the streetcar and an improved transit system in the area.

  20. #221

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by warreng88 View Post
    Oklahoma, as a whole. is built around the automobile
    This probably has more to do with it than anything. Oklahoma City was developed with an urban core at first, but as the car took over, that concept was abandoned and that now informs our culture. LA and Houston petty much did the same thing.

  21. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    The aforementioned "culture" is simply a product of the built environment. Look at early photos of OKC through the early 60s. Downtown was CRAWLING with people. We all like to think that we are masters of our own tastes, wants and desires, but they are almost exclusively a result of our environment. And in Oklahoma City, the built environment and associated visual cues generally say "why in the hell would you bother getting out of your car for THIS?"

  22. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    The aforementioned "culture" is simply a product of the built environment. Look at early photos of OKC through the early 60s. Downtown was CRAWLING with people. We all like to think that we are masters of our own tastes, wants and desires, but they are almost exclusively a result of our environment. And in Oklahoma City, the built environment and associated visual cues generally say "why in the hell would you bother getting out of your car for THIS?"
    Maybe in the past OKC just wasn't as cold, hot, or windy as it is now. Either that or some of the people living in OKC just aren't as manly as their fathers were.

  23. #224

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    The aforementioned "culture" is simply a product of the built environment. Look at early photos of OKC through the early 60s. Downtown was CRAWLING with people. We all like to think that we are masters of our own tastes, wants and desires, but they are almost exclusively a result of our environment. And in Oklahoma City, the built environment and associated visual cues generally say "why in the hell would you bother getting out of your car for THIS?"
    Agree!

    Hate to excavate a 'turd' from the grave; however wasn't it I.M Pei that almost cried when he discovered that Oklahoma City had built the metro street tunnel concourse, the tunnels he attributed to 'killing the vibrant street life.'

  24. #225

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by onthestrip View Post
    This convo kind of shows what I have always thought to myself. Many Oklahomans simply dont dress prepared for the weather of the moment. That winter wind isnt that bad with a scarf or a stocking cap. Rain isnt much of a nuisance with, you know, rain coats or an umbrella. Maybe these are things that are too troublesome for Okies to possess and use...I dont know.
    I was actually surprised how little it took clothing wise it took to be comfortable in Oklahoma winters for long periods when I got into hiking/mountain climbing (granted the Wichita mountains are not exactly the tallest mountains).

    When most people just have walks that last less than a minute between their home to car, then car to destination and then the reverse; they barely need more than something to block the wind, is easy to put on and take off.

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