Lessons from NY city

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    • #710096

      So I am just back after three weeks in New York, I lived there for a year in 1999/2000 and this was my first substantial visit back, so here are some suggestions about what we should think about here, based on what you might see there

      Turning right on a red. So famously in America cars can turn right, our left, while pedestrians have a green light, pedestrians obviously have right of way. Perhaps unexpectedly, this is a real boon for pedestrians, imagine taking the tiny bit of each cycle that is allocated in Dublin to pedestrians and adding it to the left filter time and allowing pedestrians to cross throughout that period, and allowing them to cross on all four sides of a junction, not just three and giving them this time on each cycle, not just when someone presses the button. It makes pedestrian flow much much better.

      The village is a university district. So by far the best place to live in NY is Greenwich Village which is basically the NYU university district, with a few other institutions as well. It is great, artistic, bohemian, full of nice eateries, fun bars, galleries and families. There is a ton of student housing and faculty housing and everyone wants to live there. We need a university district, probably the best bet would be along Dame St and Thomas St linking TCD, NCAD and the digital hub. Our universities provide very little student accommodation and no faculty housing, universities in decent cities, where housing is expensive, can’t get away with that and without student and faculty housing, students here get a diminished education experience and the city and civic life don’t benefit as they should from the academy. Student fees and university administrators more aware of the international norms in university life may help, the touching gifts of tasty real estate most city councils give their universities would help too.

      We need a hospital district. NY has one on York in the high 70s, low 80s. It is amazing, a number of hospitals, the Rockefeller University and the Cornell Medical School and a ton of related institutes are crowded into just a few blocks. The benefit for medical research and patient care is huge, huge. Move the Beaumont to the Mountjoy site, it is our only chance.

      Why do we have such crap cafes. I spent a lot of time working in a cafe; it was great, free internet, coffee, tea and bagels, amateur art for sale on the walls, a noticeboard advertizing poetry slams and urban guerrilla gardening, freakish staff, packed all day and late into the night. One table was always taken by some people running an art magazine from there, another by two women who kept Skyping to commission Chinese textile manufactures or pitch their frocks to shops, lots of lab PIs held their lab meetings there, there were people meeting to chat and lots of people, like me, just working on a laptop. Everywhere I go in America has a cafe like this, Dublin does not seem to.

      Icons. This is an obsession here so I looked around at photograph sellers etc to decide what the icons for New York, the greatest city on earth, are.

      • John Lennon in a I heart NY tee.
      • Empire State Building
      • The Brooklyn Bridge wires.
      • Chrysler Building.
      • Some guys, probably Irish, having lunch on a I beam.
      • The Flatiron building
      • The Reservoir
      • Tom’s Restaurant
      • Times Sq at night
      • Christo’s gates installation
      • A yellow cab
      • The Twin Towers.
      • The Statue of Liberty.

      A pretty mixed bunch, including an art installation, an English musician, a heavy piece of Victorian era transport infrastructure and 22 story beaux art building. It might be hard to predict these if you didn’t already know they stood for New York. We need to relax about self-consciously creating icons.

    • #802679

      @notjim wrote:

      I spent a lot of time working in a cafe

      What was the pay like?

    • #802680

      Oh sorry I read that wrong. Totally true about lack of soulful cafes in Dublin. Cafe Irie just opened a new branch on Thomas Street, which is kind of cool.

    • #802681

      I think the key lesson is the benefit of density and clustering which create the level and types of activity in an area that you want, also mix of uses and ground floor activity.

      I agree on turning right or left over here on red, good idea that works well in north america.

      As for cafes, there’s very few open past 5 or 6pm in Dublin, I think that would be a start.

    • #802682

      Some more …..Learner drivers also are banned from the city. They have barrier-free tolling; they use road cones to improve traffic flow (e.g. lanes 2+2 can become 3+1) The traffic lights are synchronised (I could cross the Triboro in the 120’s , drive south on 2nd Av until I reached my garage on 82nd without – regularly – being stopped by a red light. They use “street cleaning rules” with alternate side street parking. On one weekend c 1999/2000 the surface of East 79th St from Park to York was removed and it was repaved in tarmac. Not sure that I would class the Resevoir as an icon though.

      The medical quarter grew out of hospital locations in the 19th century when what is now the Upper East Side was farmland. Some major bequests helped expand the properties. Also, Roosevelt Island (opposite, in the East River) was a quarantine island for many years, them a prison. Lots of interesting new and old buildings there, including the gothick Smallpox Hospital.

    • #802683

      @notjim wrote:

      So by far the best place to live in NY is Greenwich Village

      Yes the Village is a wonderful place, nothing better than spending a relaxing Sunday afternoon exploring the streets, but then followed by a fleeting tinge of sadness when you emerge (around 14 st somewhere) back into the real world of chaos and canyons:D. I’m not sure if one could exist without the other, the ying and the yang if you will, one intensifies the other.

      On the all important subject of coffee, i’m afraid to say i’ve found since returning the quality(taste) of coffee across the board in Dublin is way higher than over in NY.

    • #802684

      Well, a Dubliner did become the world champion coffee maker in June……..at least we can boast a gold in something !!!

    • #802685

      The concept of the urban Village is indeed a valid one.
      Needless to say we had it before,in bucketfulls….

      In fact we STILL have it,but we choose to ignore it and even to do our level best to destroy it…..Take,for example Ranelagh :rolleyes:

      In Ranelagh we have a very strong example of how fortune presents us with a Second Chance opportunity to achieve something,yet we look opportunity in the eye and cast it to the wind.

      The construction and commissioning of Luas provided at a stroke one of the essential elements of success for any village environment…..sustainable accessibility.
      Luas,combined with a reasonably comprehensive Bus service gives Ranelagh the edge in terms of getting the punters in and out.

      Sadly,not one of DCC`s worthy administration professionals,appeared to grasp the huge potential which Ranelagh provided them with and instead these philistines continued with the City Councils tried and trusted enslavement to the concept of unfettered private car usage.;)

      So now we have this potentially attractive wee Village area literally sinking under the weight of abandoned cars,suv`s,converted military vehicles and assorted other private vehicles thrown randomly about the place.

      So bad is the situation that the very public transport which could be an integral part of the Village life cannot even get through the congested main and access streets due to unregulated parking.

      The Street Parking Service people DO make a contribution,but a very modest one,concentrating on a short,well signposted section of 24HR Clearway.
      The Gardai….:confused:,well in their own inimitable style they continue apace without expressing an interest one way or the other…doubtless the members being unwilling to make that choice between a Frappuccino or a Transfer….:eek:

      The Luas station has stagnated and declined into what appears at first view to be an abandoned commercial premises nearly as bad as the original aspect of the site before the opening of the station….

      What is it about us as a society that renders us incapable of grasping opportunity and making discernible improvements to our collective environment ?

      And in closing,heres a thought…….In the context of a Ranelagh village literally being rendered stagnant by unfettered private car parking,what exactly is SO bad about Noel O Gara`s idea of a discreet multi-storey in the area which if properly designed and managed could free up Ranelagh`s streets and return them to civilized and beneficial use !!! 😀

    • #802686

      @Alek Smart wrote:

      And in closing,heres a thought…….In the context of a Ranelagh village literally being rendered stagnant by unfettered private car parking,what exactly is SO bad about Noel O Gara`s idea of a discreet multi-storey in the area which if properly designed and managed could free up Ranelagh`s streets and return them to civilized and beneficial use !!!

      Well because it won’t; adding parking doesn’t reduce parking elsewhere.

    • #802687

      Ranelagh is not stagnant, anything but, it’s a vibrant village with restaurants, bars, cafes, one of the better villages around Dublin actually…part of the reason that the surrounding area is being gentrified and rents and house prices are high in the area….so you’re talking baloney…

      As for the cars, parking is completely regulated through pay parking and clamping. Also, the road through the village is a radial route through to the city. I’m all in favour of traffic calming and stronger pedestrian priority but you’re living in fantasy land if you’re talking about banning cars from the village…that proposal will actually make the village stagnant.

      I’d say the Luas stop there is well used although there’d be a lot more use if the trams weren’t jammed by the time they reach ranelagh and if the service actually ran further than St Stephen’s Green…

    • #802688

      @notjim wrote:

      Why do we have such crap cafes

      @SunnyDub wrote:

      As for cafes, there’s very few open past 5 or 6pm in Dublin, I think that would be a start.

      Although there are hundreds and hundreds of cafes in Dublin, you can count on the fingers of one hand the ones that are open late into the evening in the city centre: E.g. Nude on Suffolk Street, Joy of Coffee in Temple Bar, Starbucks on College Green and Café Mocha on South William Street. Maybe also the front bit of Bewleys/Café Bar Deli, Grafton Street. There’s Boticelli in Temple Bar, though really it’s part of the restaurant of the same name next door.

      Add any more if you can. Outdoor-only cafes like the ones on Temple Bar Square not included. And I mean cafes only, and not “café bars”, which in this country are still uselessly bad and are really just pubs with a button-press coffee machine incapable of serving 2 shots of espresso in your coffee if so required.

      Somewhere that might resemble the cafes notjim talks of – Simon’s Place on George’s Street – closes at the incredibly early 5 or 5.30pm, even though most of its custom don’t get up til about 2pm.

      What is the reason for the lack of late cafes (and decent ones for that matter) in Dublin? One might say that it is because few people still live in the city centre and there is a mass exodus at 5pm, and that those who do – primarily the young, foreign-national transient population – won’t be around long enough / don’t constitute a sufficient critical mass whereby good, late-opening cafes would develop and become part of the city? But the city is thronged at night, esp Wed-Sat. It is a mystery ….

      The early closing problem is the same with city parks. The other week, I was sitting in the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, at 5.45pm, having just done a hand delivery to the planning appeals board on Marlborough Street. It was a fine, slightly balmy evening with several hours of daylight to go. There were tourists, Italians etc., sitting around looking relaxed, like they’d finally found some respite in Dublin after several hours’ exposure to the taxi, bus and motor car hell of the city centre. Suddenly the attendant started going round roaring “The perrrrk is clossssin!” Yep, all back out to the road network moshpit from whence ye came.

      Can you BELIEVE that this small park, of which there is dearth in the north inner city, closes at 6pm throughout the summer?? It’s run by the OPW. Dublin City Council’s parks aren’t much better. St. Stephen’s Green, wonderful spot that it is, gets cleared out at least an hour before the light goes down, which is a killer on a nice evening. And the parks are so important in lieu of the public spaces that the city doesn’t have (grumble College Green).

      Dublin City Libraries haven’t moved with the times either. They are using the same f*****g opening times they used 15 or 20 years ago. In the “Central Library” of the city, the bloke will start going around shouting “De Libery is Closing” at 4.45pm on Fridays & Saturdays, and 7.45pm Mon to Thu, and it’s not open at all on Sundays (an Asian I know thought this was very peculiar when everything else imaginable in the city is open on a Sunday). Even the colleges’ libraries are open much later. GET WITH THE TIMES Dublin City Libraries!

      In so many respects, we haven’t entered urban living mode in this city. We’re still in Evacuation-of-the-city-centre-1950-to-1990 mode. Why would a library or a park need to open late? Go home to Blanchardstown!

    • #802689

      Exactly Sunnydub. Ranelagh’s such a short walk to the city centre, it’s not really worth your while taking the Luas in, from there. That’s why the Luas isn’t used as much as you’d imagine.

      I do agree, that a car park, somewhere close to the main road, would be useful. It’s very hard to park around ranelagh, but I don’t know where it could go, without ruining the character of any particular part.

    • #802690

      Sunnydub,you misunderstand my point regarding Ranelagh,or more correctly its Potential.
      This Potential is not anywhere near being explored,at least not in the genre being espoused by the thread-starter here.

      Ranelagh Road is of course a radial route but for much of the day it`s a uni-directional one which is totally dependent upon the willingness of drivers to blink,thus allowing some of the opposing traffic to nip in and explore an escape route.

      There is little beneficial about the currrent car-parking mess which afflicts the village in both directions.
      I would certainly concur that given our modern (planned) dependence on the motor-car a degree of private car presence has to be tolerated in the “Living Village” Irish style.
      However,what we have now is little more than anarchy,with vehicles being “thrown up on the kerb” whilst their drivers “nip in for a paper” or attempt a delivery.

      The interesting point about the Clamping is it`s somewhat odd application which centres around clamping those motors which are parked OFF the main drag rather than those which are actually causing severe disruption at,for example the short stretch (outbound) between Chelmsford Rd and Chelmsford Lane where coffee sipping drivers can sit opposite and gaze disinterestedly at the disruption being caused by their own vehicle.

      I would describe Ranelaghs current parking as semi-regulated with no real plan or management in place other than a hope-for-the-best.

      I see the village`s potential in a different light,not car-centred at all but instead as Blisterman sez a short-walk location with wider footpaths and some form of reinstatement of the ould Triangle,now given over to a melange of Taxi`s and “Just Nippers”.

      However,one of the problems of the “short-stroll” approach is the landscape through which one will be strolling….sadly,the route from Harcourt St through Charlemont St can be somewhat enlivening but has the potential with some creative and supportive development to provide a very viable gateway to the big R 😮

      It`s encouraging to see the efforts being made by many of the restauranteurs and others at creating a civilized ambience which might even attract more visitors and repeat visitors at that…..my vision involves a far less transient melange but hinges on a strong core of residents and regulars all of whom add to the melting pot.

      One things for sure,allowing the current situation to continue will eventually impose a stagnation on Ranelagh and other villages like it as the parked car becomes it`s symbol.

      Once again,to adopt my Noel O Gara`s PR persona…….:)

      “Visit Ranelagh,a traditional Dublin village and just a “short-stroll” from the O Gara Memorial Multi-Storey ” 😀

    • #802691

      Stagnation? Ranelagh? It’s much nicer now than when I lived there in the 90s, traffic and parking have always been an issue there but the environment has certainly not stagnated quite the opposite infact

    • #802692

      Yes Rory,I would agree,however there is a inherent reluctance to go for the burn and make the Village a focal point which encourages free and easy movement and even the desire to dally.

      Currently the need to cross the road safely tends to occupy most strollers minds…..try crossing Chelmsford Road at its junction with Ranelagh road whilst all the time remembering DCC`s committment to the pedestrian… 🙂

      I`m not doing Ranelagh down,far from it,I belive it has a unique blend of ingredients which are absent from other Dublin satellite villages but which should be developed with people in mind rather than on-street car-parking 😀

    • #802693

      Still off topic, I too would like to see better pedestrian facilities in ranelagh, wider footpaths, better crossings, etc.

      I think your assumption that on-street parking is automatically bad is not necessarily the case. Urban design manuals actually advocate on-street parking as a means of traffic calming, narrowing the road, slowing vehicles down. It also provides a buffer between pedestrians and cars.

    • #802694

      I`d be happier if the Urban Design Manuals advocated some wider footpath circulation space and perhaps less available kerbside space to abandon one`s vehicle at..( Note: I do differentiate between designated sustainable safe on-street parking and what is on display daily in most of Dublin`s satellite area`s)

      I would have some issues with the reliance on on-street parking as a means of implimenting rules and regs which “should” be observed as a consequence of signage and enforcement.

      I can attest to the effectiveness of the Urban Design Manuals theories and it may well be on display along Chelmsford Road this evenin if one single driver fails to return to their voiture before the evening peak..one car left here can extend it`s sphere of calming influence well back to Leeson St Bridge 😀 😀 😀

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