Monthly Archives: June 2016

On Paint and Historic Preservation

The heat is increasing in the dispute between the City of Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission and property owners/artists in the”Arts District” (inner West Street). Good background can be found in articles in The Capital here, here and here. I am certainly not against historic preservation and it has been good for the city, but when it gets to the point of micromanaging (witness the past tussle over fiberglass columns), the balance has shifted too far. The city would be far better served with efforts like a form based code that dictates the general form – which we all love so much and which will last for a long time – instead of the minutia like paint color/design which can be very ephemeral. The City needs to concentrate on more important things. I think my paraphrase of Justice Potter Stewart’s infamous comment about pornography is à propos.

Time Lapse – Tsunami Mural Annapolis, MD from Power Play Creations on Vimeo.

——————-
Dear Mr. Mayor, Members of the City Council and Interested Parties-

I have been following with great interest the debate between property owners and the Historic Preservation Commission concerning whether paint color/design is within the purview of the Commission to regulate. While I understand and appreciate the hard work the Commission has done over the years to keep the town’s historic nature intact, I find the recent issue and potential litigation over the Tsunami mural distasteful at best and a waste of the city’s resources at worst.

Clearly the rules as written are ambiguous and in the words of Justice Potter Stewart in Jacobellis v. Ohio, paraphrased to whether murals of this sort are “architectural alteration”:

“…I know it when I see it, and the mural involved in this case is not that.”

With all of the problems the City has, especially vis-a-vis the budget, this seems to be a complete waste of time and money. Not only that, additional hurdles to utilization and revitalization of the numerous empty properties downtown are the last thing the city needs. Let’s concentrate on problems that really matter.

2016 Snipe North American Championships

Note my finest hour sailing-wise, but I had a great time sailing with Lisa – despite being DSQed in a race for not doing my penalty turns fast enough after getting flagged for pumping.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Doug Hart Back On Top After 20 Years

Doug Hart has always been near the top of the score sheet but it took 20 years to repeat as North American Champion, having won last in the Bahamas in 1996. Sailing this year with Ryan Hopps they took the 2016 North Americans Birney Mills Trophy by a scant two points over George Szabo and Dianna Waterbury after a close last day. The winner was not known by the competitors until the scores were posted at the club because the variety of conditions over the three day regatta resulted in very inconsistent scores over the eight races sailed. In an unusual turn, the scores posted by Szabo/Waterbury were overall more consistent, but Hart/Hopps despite counting a 17 had four top 3 finishes. Nick Voss/Nicole Popp had been lurking well down the results sheet, but once they were able to drop a 45th from day one, they slid up to third overall. Fourth place team Jensen McTighe/Brendan Feeney counted no finish worse than ninth, a great result just ahead of their departure for the Snipe Western Hemispheres in Brazil. Edgar Diminich/Iberth Constante rounded out the top 5.

upwind 31313

Upwind on the Chesapeake Bay.

Annapolis Snipe Fleet 532 is experiencing its own comeback. Regatta Chairman and Annapolis Fleet 532 Captain Chris Ryan is a relentless promoter of the Snipe Class and had as a goal to get together the largest collection of Snipes seen on the East Coast for a long time. He succeeded attracting 69 registrants and beat the last two NAs held in Annapolis in 1994 (62 boats) and 1985 (68 boats) as well as being the largest regatta in North America since 2009 with boats arriving on single, double, and triple trailers from all over the continent. This was in part due to encouraging sailors with older model boats to participate with a Silver division and arranging many chartered or borrowed boats to insure that every available local boat would make it on the water. A great sign for the continued growth of the class were a significant number of junior sailors at the event, fresh faces from new teams or new crew members, and a re-emergence of less travelled class members. The event created a significant number of class membership renewals as part of the registration process as all skippers, crews, and boats were registered for the event.

Chris along with the rest of the fleet volunteers, the Severn Sailing Association (SSA), PRO Steve Podlich and his handpicked race committee put together a great event despite tryingly light conditions at the beginning of the regatta. Annapolis typically holds this regatta in the fall when the breeze is freshening as the temperatures drop, but for this edition the NAs was held concurrently with the Colonial Cup, the annual SSA Snipe Spring Invitational. In keeping with the nutty weather the mid-Atlantic has been experiencing this year – the spring felt more like Seattle than Annapolis – with less than a week to go, the forecast was for light easterly breezes and cooler temperatures throughout the weekend. For those who don’t know the Chesapeake Bay weather, easterly breezes coupled with cool overcast conditions are almost never a good prognosis.

As boats streamed in on Thursday, fleet members Brett Davis, Steve Pickle and Jon and Happy Anthony with their teams got all boats through measurement and registration. The class approach to streamlining measurement helped speed the process by limiting measurement to boat weight and new sail measurements. It was hoped to run a practice race Thursday afternoon, but the breeze completely turned off after a few boats left the dock for a practice sail: a bad omen. On the social side, the regatta saw the return of a large tent to be used for evening dinners as well as a real beer truck (well trailer, but close enough!), something not seen on the SSA lot for some years: a good omen.

Friday morning started as predicted with a light, but sailable easterly and racing began promptly at 11am. Fortunately, being a weekday the pleasure boat traffic was nonexistent so the 5-7 knot breeze, although tricky, was enough. Starts were very competitive causing multiple recalls and a steady appearance of I and Z flags. The downstream current at the start pushing competitors towards the starting line did not help and contributed to the number of general recalls and affected which side of the course was favored. As the first race progressed the breeze got lighter and lighter, but still a fair test of skill and the first boat finished within several minutes of the 90 minute time limit, but unfortunately a number of boats did not make the time limit window. After a pause, the wind came back up and a second race was run in similar conditions, with only a few boats not making the time limit window. Hart/Hopps showed their light air prowess with two firsts. Eventually Steve Podlich called it a day and the fleet headed in for the evening’s social activities and Taco Bar dinner.

On Saturday, a very patient race committee ran three races. The first was (as expected) sailed in a very light southeast wind. The ebbing current was wreaking even more havoc on the starting line than the day before and the Z flag (20%) penalties figured prominently on the scoresheet for race 3. It looked like it might be the end of the day after race three with the breeze going down to nearly zero, but wisely Steve Podlich chose to keep us out waiting and eventually the breeze came around to a southerly direction and increased slightly when the clouds began to clear. With the current abated and the wind shift to the south, the second two starts were much more manageable for the competitors (and the race committee) and even got crews and skippers into the hiking straps by the last leg. With more consistent scores and no drop (yet) Szabo/Waterbury finished the day tied with Hart/Hopps. Back on shore the competitors participated in a post-race debrief followed by a crab-themed dinner including MD hard shelled crabs. The “locals” had a lot of fun introducing “out of towners” to the proper technique for “picking crabs” as it is called.

Once again, Sunday started light with current pushing competitors over the line, the appearance of the Z flag, multiple recalls and a lot of alphabet soup on the score sheet in race 6. But for race 7 the breeze finally increased out the south to the point where skipper and crews were full out hiking and the “Annapolis Washing Machine” was on – at least the medium rinse setting anyway – thanks to the Chesapeake chop and pleasure boat wake. This was the quintessential Annapolis condition that we all know and love and it was great to finally see it given the earlier forecast. Despite the breeze beginning to fade, after race 7 the race committee “leap frogged” the course to start the last race with plenty of time to spare. It was a shorter course, a little less than an hour race to close out the 8 race series, a pleasant surprise the way it looked on Thursday. The fleet blasted in as the breeze increased with the impending approach of a cold front, but thankfully the predicted thunderstorms didn’t materialize until after most competitors had packed up.

In addition to the awarding the Birney Mills Trophy to the North American champion, the Kim Thompson Trophy for the top crew and the Colonial Cup Trophy to Hart and Hopps, awards were presented to Fleet 532 members Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud for the Silver division and Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney for the Junior division, both scored separately within those divisions. The Chuck Loomis Trophy was also awarded to Jensen McTighe as the top placing Junior in the overall score.

This was definitely not a “one setting” regatta and being able to perform consistently in the top three in a wide variety of conditions was the key to success. Variety may be the spice of life, but it is also a great test of skill.

–Alex Pline

Series Standing – 8 races scored

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Points
Pos
1 20/ 31297 Doug Hart/Ryan Hopps Mission Bay Yacht Club 1 1 2 [25] 4 17 6 3 34.00 1
2 57/ 30337 George Szabo/Dianna Waterbury San Diego Yacht Club 4 8 7 [11] 3 4 4 6 36.00 2
3 63/ 28814 Nicholas Voss/Nicole Popp Coral Reef Yacht Club 3 [45] 5 4 6 12 8 5 43.00 3
4 36/ 30027 Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney Lauderdale Yacht Club 8 5 [32] 8 9 7 3 8 48.00 4
5 09/ 31027 Edgar Diminich/Iberth Constante FEVELA/SYC [70/OCS] 2 10 13 5 2 2 16 50.00 5
6 49/ 31130 Ernesto Rodriguez/Eduardo Supercrew no club affiliation 7 [22] 3 16 7 11 5 2 51.00 6
7 08/ 30288 Augie Diaz/Julia Melton BBYC/CRYC/CGSC 21 6 6 7 1 1 [24] 10 52.00 7
8 02/ 30473 Arthur Blodgett/Terra Berlinski no club affiliation 9 7 1 3 [27] 3 12 17 52.00 8
9 34/ 28854 Randy Lake/Nikki Bruno no club affiliation 5 4 12 [19] 2 14 19 1 57.00 9
10 05/ 30860 Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz Severn Sailing Association 16 [18] 13 2 11 6 11 4 63.00 10
11 21/ 29114 David Hernandez/Christine DeSilva Coral Reef Yacht Club 6 11 [21] 10 10 15 1 11 64.00 11
12 16/ 8653 Hal Gilreath/Andre Guaragna Florida Yacht Club 12 3 17 18 8 5 [22] 9 72.00 12
13 03/ 31171 Jim Bowers/Julia Rabin Winchester Boat Club 2 24 [27] 5 17 9 25 12 94.00 13
14 67/ 29682 Wilson Stout/Byran Stout no club affiliation 15 19 18 1 12 19 [23] 20 104.00 14
15 47/ 30759 Enrique Quintero/Simon Sanders Coral Reef Yacht Club 20 [62] 15 12 15 10 9 23 104.00 15
16 14/ 30903 Cameron Fraser/Elizabeth Glivinski Medford Boat Club 22 9 [47] 15 23 18 10 21 118.00 16
17 45/ 31355 Andrew Pimental/Megan Place Sail Newport [29] 27 14 27 14 22/ZFP 7 13 124.00 17
18 18/ 30904 Lee Griffith/Hillary Noble Surf City Yacht Club 19 20 4 30 13 22 20 [32] 128.00 18
19 51/ 31280 Art Rousmaniere/Jesscia Bennett Winchester Boat Club 23 23 9 9 20 27/ZFP 17 [37] 128.00 19
20 12/ 30552 Christian Filter/Declan Lombard Severn Sailing Association 18 13 8 28 21 24 [32] 22 134.00 20
21 55/ 29044 Sonya Smith/Steve Pickel Severn Sailing Association 10 16 [36] 22 26 26 15 26 141.00 21
22 31/ 29782 Zachery Kelchner/Lauren Schoene Severn Sailing Association 13 31 23 26 19 20 [35] 19 151.00 22
23 07/ 29671 Tarasa Davis/Kim Calnan Atlanta Yacht Club 25 26 30 24 34 [42/ZFP] 13 7 159.00 23
24 13/ 28142 Bryan Fishback/Lorie Stout Severn Sailing Association 11 33 26 36 31 [41/ZFP] 21 14 172.00 24
25 39/ 30629 Gavin O’Hare/Holly O’Hare Eastport Yacht Club 24 21 [42] 31 22 32 27 25 182.00 25
26 58/ 31013 John Tagliamonte/Linda Epstein Winchester Boat Club 37 [70/DNF] 39 20 16 31 18 27 188.00 26
27 65/ 30606 Peter Wolcott/Kerri Wolcott Quassapaug Sailing Center 34 28 24 6 32 [54/ZFP] 41 24 189.00 27
28 23/ 30500 Brian Hetherington/Max Hetherington SSA 40 15 [54/ZFP] 17 37 30 28 28 195.00 28
29 56/ 30749 Christopher Stang/Lindsey Stang no club affiliation 41 [42] 16 32 25 37/ZFP 29 18 198.00 29
30 06/ 30391 Brett Davis/Christina Perrson SSA 17 10 41 39 36 35/ZFP [70/DNF] 30 208.00 30
31 46/ 31313 Alex Pline/Lisa Pline SSA 30 32 59/ZFP 14 24 [70/DSQ] 38 15 212.00 31
32 32/ 30687 Sean Kelly/Trisha Kutkiewicz SSA 38 25 44 40 29 [45] 30 29 235.00 32
33 48/ 31357 Eric Reinke/Morgan Commette SSA 33 12 25 29 28 43/ZFP [70/DNS] 70/DNS 240.00 33
34 68/ 29016 Phillip Schofield/Katherine Bennett SSA [53/TLE] 40 19 23 38 52 36 33 241.00 34
35 64/ 30325 Harry Waskow/Rosalind Hansen Surf City Yacht Club 14 48 22 [52] 41 48/ZFP 43 31 247.00 35
36 04/ 30262 John Coolidge Atlanta Yacht Club 44 37 [70/ZFP] 21 35 36 39 36 248.00 36
37 53/ 24089 David Schoene/Sandy Westphal SSA 35 17 34/ZFP 48 46 [70/DNF] 34 38 252.00 37
38 29/ 30928 Chris Jankowski/Eleanor Wells SSA 31 30 38 33 18 39/ZFP [70/DNS] 70/DNS 259.00 38
39 10/ 29147 Liz Dubovik/Alex Romagnoli Chatham Yacht Club [53/TLE] 14 33 34 53 37 45 44 260.00 39
40 35/ 31256 Ed Machado/Jon Robertson Mission Bay YC 39 29 37 54 [58] 42 14 46 261.00 40
41 28/ 29536 Julian Inglis/Nathan Poulton GCBC 36 38 28 45 [49] 47/ZFP 33 34 261.00 41
42 66/ 29111 Joel Zackin/Pam Corwin Quassapaug Sailing Center 42 41 [59] 42 40 50 16 35 266.00 42
43 22/ 30600 Kevin Hetherington-Young/Audrey x2 Winchester Boat Club 28 47 53 38 42 [61/ZFP] 26 41 275.00 43
44 52/ 29499 Adam Rousmaniere/Jennifer Rousmaniere Winchester Boat Club 26 51 [57] 47 43 41 42 39 289.00 44
45 54/ 31344 Luciano Secchin/Cicero Barcelos Iate Clube do Espirito Santo [53/TLE] 49 48 41 51 16 37 49 291.00 45
46 17/ 305 James Golden/George Kaye Annapolis Yacht Club 53/TLE [56] 31 53 30 44 40 45 296.00 46
47 33/ 31259 William Kibler/Harrison Reisinger Atlanta Yacht Club [53/TLE] 34 29 50 47 48 48 42 298.00 47
48 19/ 29318 Christopher Hains/Barbara Mann Guelph Community BC 45 52 [70/ZFP] 49 39 38 31 47 301.00 48
49 01/ 31157 Martin Bebb/Anne Rusnak no club affiliation 47 60 11 44 48 54 50 [70/DNS] 314.00 49
50 70/ 30301 Chris Ryan/Nicole Ryan SSA 27 36 43 43 33 [70/DNF] 70/DNS 70/DNS 322.00 50
51 41/ 29964 Robert Panza/Charlie Baywood Quassapaug 48 46 46 35 54 [56] 49 50 328.00 51
52 62/ 30236 Kenneth Voss/Kay Voss CRYC/CGSC 53/TLE 54 51 [56] 55 35 44 43 335.00 52
53 37/ 30510 Keisha Meyer/Josh Meyer Bellport Bay Yacht Club 53/TLE 43 49 [59] 50 43 47 51 336.00 53
54 26/ 29987 Jason Hill/Maryl Ludden no club affiliation 53/TLE 39 [64/ZFP] 55 45 49 53 48 342.00 54
55 40/ 29311 Gilmore O’Neill/Connor O’Neill Medford Boat Club 50 [58] 54 57 56 53 46 40 356.00 55
56 11/ 31061 David Eggleton/Tyler Eggleton SSA 32 35 48/ZFP 37 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 362.00 56
57 43/ 26280 Gareth Petko-Bunney/Kimberly Leonard Cowan Lake SA 53/TLE 50 [64] 62 57 57 51 52 382.00 57
58 44/ 30819 Francisco Perez/Kerry OBrien OHCC 46 44 55 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 39 70/DNS 70/DNS 394.00 58
59 24/ 28714 Matt Heywood/Chris Bickley North Cape Yacht Club 49 53 [70/ZFP] 51 44 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 407.00 59
60 61/ 28277 Jon Virden/John Quay SSA 53/TLE 65/TLE 35 60 61 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 414.00 60
61 38/ 30390 Howard Miller/David Miller Cowan Lake SA 53/TLE 59 56 58 60 58 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 414.00 61
62 25/ 26895 Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud SSA 53/TLE 61 60 [70/DNF] 52 55 70/DNS 70/DNS 421.00 62
63 15/ 27734 Mark Fuhrmann/Lee Polites SSA [70/DNS] 70/DNS 52 46 59 59 70/DNS 70/DNS 426.00 63
64 50/ 29645 Danielle Romme/Josh Romme SSA 53/TLE 55 [70/ZFP] 61 62 60 70/DNS 70/DNS 431.00 64
65 30/ 31322 Todd Johnson/Faye Ferguson SSA 43 57 [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 60/ZFP 70/DNS 70/DNS 440.00 65
66 27/ 26109 Randy Holl/Dawn Hamilton SSA 53/TLE 63 [70/ZFP] 63 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 459.00 66
67 59/ 31007 Guy Thomas/Will Thomas Lincoln Sailing Club [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 65/ZFP 52 70/DNS 467.00 67
68T 42/ 28999 Jaimie Peva SSA [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 490.00T 68T
68T 60/ 29908 John Upton Rush Creek Yacht Club [70/DNS] 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 70/DNS 490.00T 68T

Notes

(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts


Subdivision: Junior (5 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Points
Pos
1 36/ 30027 Jensen McTighe/Brenden Feeney Lauderdale Yacht Club 1 1 [5] 1 1 1 1 1 7.00 1
2 12/ 30552 Christian Filter/Declan Lombard SSA 2 2 1 [3] 2 2 2 2 13.00 2
3 68/ 29016 Phillip Schofield/Katherine Bennett SSA 4/TLE 4 2 2 4 [5] 3 3 22.00 3
4 33/ 31259 William Kibler/Harrison Reisinger Atlanta Yacht Club 4/TLE 3 3 4 [5] 4 5 4 27.00 4
5 17/ 305 James Golden/George Kaye Annapolis Yacht Club 4/TLE [5] 4 5 3 3 4 5 28.00 5

Notes

(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts


Subdivision: Silver (5 boats) (top)

Pos Bow/Sail Skipper/Crew Club 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Points
Pos
1 25/ 26895 Joe Hidalgo/Ethan Schroud SSA 2/TLE 2 2 [6/DNF] 1 1 6/DNS 6/DNS 20.00 1
2 50/ 29645 Danielle Romme/Josh Romme SSA 2/TLE 1 4/ZFP 2 3 2 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 20.00 2
3 61/ 28277 Jon Virden/John Quay SSA 2/TLE 5/TLE 1 1 2 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 23.00 3
4 27/ 26109 Randy Holl/Dawn Hamilton SSA 2/TLE 3 5/ZFP 3 [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 31.00 4
5 42/ 28999 Jaimie Peva SSA [6/DNS] 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 6/DNS 42.00 5

Notes

(1) Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2013-2016
(2) Time limit expired (TLE) penalty is: Finishers plus 2
(3) Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts

Information is final

Principal Race Officer: Steve Podlich
Jury Chair: Elliott Levy

New Annapolis Library: Is It Good Urbanism?

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When The Capital published an article about the new Annapolis library design – you can see the site plan and initial renders here: http://www.aacpl.net/new-annapolis – my initial reaction and comment on The Capital site was the snarky “Call the architecture police!”. In our  West Annapolis Civic Association neighborhood Facebook group I ditched the snark and made two substantive comments, which I also submitted to the Library association:

  1.  Of course this is subjective, but looks too modern for the surrounding architecture. A variant of colonial revival would be much more in keeping with Annapolis.
  2. The preferred site plan with the parking in back is best and they acknowledge a “strong connection to West Street” but the MAIN entrance needs to be on West Street, not on the parking lot. Front doors facing a parking lot are counter to traditional urban architecture.

What ultimately bothers me about the design and site renderings is that this building is not sensitive to the area. It is a generic modern design that could exist in virtually any suburban location. This section of West Street is the transition from the loved “inner” and the unloved “outer” or “upper” West Street. The comprehensive plan and the Upper West Street Sector Study both spend a lot of time saying essentially, we need to extend the things that make inner West Street work out farther. Look at the renderings in the sector study. Do they look this the picture above? Architectural preferences aside, it is how the building addresses the street that is most important. We want this street to be people oriented and for that to happen we need the building to respect people on the street, making it appealing and inviting for people walking, not favoring auto mobility. This means putting cars in the back, siting the building closer to the street and having the main entrance on West Street, not turning it’s back to the street and facing the parking lot for motorists convenience.

The best way to illustrate this is with an extreme example of the contemporary schlock that passes for “urbanism” in the City of Annapolis (outside the historic district anyway): the new-ish CVS on Bay Ridge Ave (site of the old Mexican Cafe). Before you jump on me and say, yeah, but that’s Forest Drive/Bay Ridge Ave and it’s a car sewer anyway, yeah, I get that but aren’t we trying to change that?

 

IMG_5696

Facing north.

The CVS is chock full of check the box city planning. A little something for every interest group, trees, a wide sidewalk, gobs of parking, brick facades, stormwater management; but it all combines for a horrendous end result and this is what I want to avoid happening at the new West Street Library.

Let’s start to pick this apart: The wide sidewalk with a grass buffer from the street is great, although it needs street trees in the median between the sidewalk and roadway, but the “right in, right out” slip lanes to facilitate quick car turns off the 35-45 mph traffic are horrible for anyone walking as cars don’t naturally pause and if someone gets hit, it will not be pretty. This design telegraphs to motorists that throughput and speed are the most important things, not stopping and looking for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This is the same idea that wide lanes, straight runs and no street trees promotes. But the biggest issue is the front door is located in the far back corner of the building which you can not even see from the road.

IMG_5697

The view from the street.

This is the view from the road which highlights how “disrespectful” the building is to the public realm. Note the service equipment on the left. This type of stuff is usually relegated to the back of the building where people won’t see it. The faux divided light windows and faux second floor (I guarantee there is no actual second floor) are meant to be vaguely reminiscent of Annapolis’ colonial architecture (except for the CVS trademark awnings) for anyone whizzing by at 40 mph and remind people of real colonial architecture like that of the state office buildings on Bladen Street:

state office buildings

Real colonial architecture, although actually built in the 60s.

Now back to the CVS and the coup d’ etat, a drive thru pharmacy.

IMG_5699

Facing south. It almost looks like a prison with superficial accouterments.

IMG_5698

The coup d’ etat: the drive thru.

This is the ultimate in autocentric design. Yeah, yeah, I know people don’t want to get the kids out of the car to pick up a simple prescription, but jeeze couldn’t you put that in the back along with the service equipment and not have it be the predominant feature on the street? This says “don’t bother coming here unless you are in a car”. Furthermore anyone walking to the front (actually, back) door has to walk across the parking lot (there is no pedestrian path from the sidewalk to the door) and perhaps worse, the drive thru lane that is so common on fast food restaurants like my favorite new Taco Bell on West Street.

IMG_5702

The new Taco Bell farther out West Street. Note to walk into the restaurant, you have to cross the drive thru lane. How inviting for a pedestrian. But then again no one walks here.

Now with the sensitivities of extreme examples, go back and look at the preferred site plan along with the image at the top of this piece:

preferred library site plan

The design doesn’t completely turn its back on street but gives it the cold shoulder and is sited like any other typical suburban office park-like building. While not nearly as bad as the CVS or Taco Bell, a suburban office park-like building is not appropriate for the traditional environment of this part of West Street which at least initially celebrated the street’s public realm. Since the lifespan of this building is planned to be more than 50 years, we should make sure that it will integrate with the long term plans for the area so that as West Street is once again celebrated as a wonderful public realm, this building won’t turn into an eyesore.