Ashon Nesbitt 9:48 PMFrom the Million Dollar Pier to the current inverted pyramid pier, The Pier has become a St. Petersburg icon. For a time, The Pier was the biggest attraction in downtown St. Petersburg. Before BayWalk (which is having its own issues now), the new and improved Beach Drive, 600 Block and other things, The Pier was the place to go for both locals and tourists. Today, it is mainly what I consider a secondary tourist attraction with touristy shops and restaurants. I, personally, have not been to The Pier in a couple of years. There is so much to do in other parts of downtown that when I think of going downtown I rarely think about The Pier. I would say most locals probably think the same way.
Well, the City of St. Petersburg aims to change that, and bring this attraction back to its former iconic status. St. Petersburg is developing some architectural interest with the new Dali Museum, The Signature, the Grand Bohemian proposal (if it ever gets built). A new Pier presents the city another opportunity to add to that architectural interest while at the same time giving the city a new icon. Like it or not, most people recognized the city in photos by the now-dated inverted pyramid design of the current pier. So it makes sense that the city would want to create a new icon.
Recently the city held a design contest. The three finalist designs were released to the public earlier in December. Each has a name - The Lens, The Wave and The Eye - and each aims to create a new icon for the city that will attract both locals and tourists. Here, I do not want to get too much into the costs associated with each. I just want to talk about the design elements.
Overall, if I had to choose, I think the Wave is the best of the three. It is iconic without being overbearing. It has interesting activities within the structure. From newspaper articles, and discussions around town, it appears to already be garnering the most interest from locals. So, my vote is for the Wave. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
|Due Volte Casa Two-FamilyHouse|
|Due Volte Casa first floor plan|
|Due Volte Casa second floor plan|
Ashon Nesbitt 6:50 PMWell, not quite...or not yet. Hillsborough County's light rail plan seemed to offer the greatest hope that something big might be happening here in Tampa Bay. That, along with new new high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, and the Tampa Bay area was about to hit the big leagues. We know that transit is very important to urban design and economic development. Fixed transit, particularly rail transit, like any infrastructure investment, can dramatically change development patterns, and can greatly improve access to jobs (something employers look for when planning expansions and relocations). New transit has redefined many cities in recent decades - many in the Sunbelt, such as Charlotte, NC, and Phoenix, AZ. So when light rail in Hillsborough and high speed rail were both delayed indefinitely, all steam seemed to be taken out of the push for transit improvements here in Tampa Bay.
However, quietly, Pinellas County has been moving forward with its transit plans by doing an alternative, taking the first and crucial step toward developing its portion of what would eventually become a regional transit system. From what I've seen, it looks pretty promising. The routing of the first leg of what I predict will be light rail will go from Downtown St. Petersburg to Downtown Clearwater through Gateway. It hits the the major employment centers, provides direct access to the St. Pete-Clearwater airport and would eventually connect across the bay to Downtown Tampa through Westshore.
It has always been my thought that Pinellas and Hillsborough should come together on transit, and build a rail line from Downtown St. Pete to Downtown Tampa first, and expand from there. This would connect the two major urban centers, biggest employment centers, and really help both cities build true urban environments by way of transit oriented development. TBARTA may be vehicle for this. There seems to be an attitude of cooperation and collaboration building. However, I know with the bureaucracies in place, its difficult for the counties to work together. Until then, I am glad Pinellas continues to move forward, and hopefully will lead the way! We will revisit this other posts. Until then, I will say that I look forward to voting yes for this initiative next November.
If you are interested in this, check it out at www.pinellasontrack.com
Ashon Nesbitt 7:27 PMHello! My name is Ashon Nesbitt, and welcome to my blog! I am a native of St. Petersburg, FL, with degrees in Architecture, Urban Planning and Real Estate and some legal educational background. I love cities! I love urban development! I love all that cities have to offer in terms of quality of life - employment, education, entertainment! I also love my city, St. Petersburg, FL. Well, it is developing into what I call a "real" city, slowly but surely, but we will talk more about that as I post on my blog.
So, what is the purpose of this blog? I started this blog to share my ideas and thoughts on urban development, particularly here in my city. I like to read and observe what other places are doing and think about how similar things would work here. This is also a place for you to share your ideas with me. This stuff really excites me! So I look forward to the dialogue that will take place here! I'll be back soon with my first idea post: what to do with Tropicana Field in St. Pete.