Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Prairie Heights Progress Picture Post

Why, what is that skinny strip of blacktop in the image to the right? I do believe that would be the very first alley North of Kimberly. Garages face the rear alley? This means that the residents of this neighborhood will look across the street and see houses facing them instead of 3 car garages. It must be Prairie Heights, Davenport's first attempt at New Urbanism. I've got a map of the neighborhood at the bottom of this post if you're curious how its supposed to work. It wasn't exactly a nice sunny photo-friendly day yesterday, but I still went out to check out the progress.


If you click on the above image I took facing south towards 53rd, you can see the baseball diamonds shown on the map to the right. The road connecting the neighborhood to the park (possibly called Country Lane) ends in the foreground of this image. I assume it is to be completed sometime in the spring. The plan to the right is outdated, as you can see from the map below, but it kind of shows the relationship between 53rd, the park area, and the neighborhood. I may try to acquire a more up-to-date plan for the whole project, and post it later.

The plan, last time I saw it. It may have changed since then, although after driving these streets I feel its still fairly accurate. Yes, those are 30' wide lots, and again, yes, those are alleys.

Over on the other side of the railroad tracks, I took this shot looking East from 65th behind the old cinemas. The controversial 65th/67th Street connection looks to be graded and ready for paving in the spring. This should really make the 65th and Brady intersection (where Menard's is going) look a lot better to potential developers. Hopefully one will come along who's interested in redeveloping the old cinema and hotel properties.

12 Comments:

At 12/04/2007 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a newish development north of Kimberly in the Cheyenne/N Pine area that has alleys too. It's "neat" but the houses are way too close together. Nothing like passing the sugar between kitchen windows!

 
At 12/04/2007 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will there be any businesses in the neighborhood or is it entirely residential?

 
At 12/04/2007 4:52 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Unfortunately, the last plan I heard was entirely residential except for the possible commercial down by 53rd. That's why I said Davenport's first attempt at New Urbanism. Much like I've seen in some other Midwestern cities, the developers just can't make the plunge and do it right. You can see how many curvy streets the plan includes (and one cul-de-sac) and there's no mixed use or "corner store" like there should be.

 
At 12/04/2007 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that mixed use is pretty key for anything to be considered "urban." It's a shame they're not even going to put in a convenience store of some sort that kids in the neighborhood could walk or ride bikes to.

One of things I liked about growing up in Windsor Crest in the late 80's was that even though it was entirely residential, we could ride our bikes to Walgreens and Eagle to buy a candy bar or whatever.

Is there anywhere in Davenport where a kid can still do that? These days it seems stores in Davenport and suburban areas all over the country are separating themselves from their neighbors more and more.

Walgreens is a perfect example. Where they once were in a strip mall I could ride my bike to, they're now in a standalone store with a parking lot that only connects to super-busy streets.

 
At 12/04/2007 5:58 PM, Anonymous Shelley said...

lots of kids in the East Village area ride to Meme's to get candy after school or on the weekend.

 
At 12/04/2007 5:59 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

There are plenty of "old-urban" neighborhoods where you can walk to the store. The area I grew up in is certainly one of them. I frequently stopped at Golick's on the way back from Sudlow to pick up junior high necessities like baseball cards or Laffy Taffy...

When you talk WindsorCrest to Eagles, I don't see that being any closer than this neighborhood will be to the future retail along 53rd. The city is trying to keep that development fitting with the theme of Prairie Heights, which may be scaring off spineless developers who won't try anything but their usual sprawl stores.

 
At 12/05/2007 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When you talk WindsorCrest to Eagles, I don't see that being any closer than this neighborhood will be to the future retail along 53rd."

Good points. The key, however, is whether there are quiet residential streets and sidewalks the kids can take to get there. My fear is that the stores will be accessible only from the major streets. From Windsor Crest, it was an easy bike ride down Belle Ave (where a sidewalk connects the Belles between Dorchester Ct and 38th Pl) and then there is a back entrance to the strip mall off 38th St that doesn't require going anywhere near Kimberly.

Compare that to the Walgreens at Kimberly and Eastern, where the parking lot opens onto Eastern and only onto Eastern. Kids living in the neighborhood behind it (33rd St, Adams St, etc.) have no way of getting to that Walgreens without walking through a ditch. It's not just pedestrian and bicycle unfriendly. It's inaccessible.

 
At 12/05/2007 2:43 PM, Anonymous Kyle said...

Although I support new urbanism to an extent and am somewhat familiar with the council of new urbanism founded in the early 90s, the problem with new urbanism is that it works alot easier in Europe where towns and cities are not as spread apart as say midwest communities. The US is vast and it is difficult to get people off that post world war II mentality of a huge yard big house and spread apart homes that really started with the great "white/suburban flight" in the 70s. However, i have seen it work in iowa City and Des Moines for instance, so we'll see. I think the problem that QCI is getting into is that in the country, specifically the QC there is a redundance and oversaturation of retail. In other words, because its more convienent to some, lazy people would rather have 5 walmarts in a 10 mile area as opposed to maybe 3 in the whole metro. A better example is in restaurants, where people allow businesses to have multiple fast food and "upper scale" restaurants that compete with the same company in the same city (AppleBees). The question becomes, "how many mcdondalds does the world really need?". So as it relates to future development, its important that we as a people recognize that big box stores need not apply as much if at all anymore, and that we have more than enough restaurants to get our fat American bellies even fatter. If we allow more retail positions that pay minimum or just a couple bucks above, we will continue to have people living below the poverty line and most definately below a sustainable realistic salary. If we do not begin to do the things neccessary to invite new technologies and industries gray and brown space will be more abundant than ever before.

 
At 12/05/2007 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope to see the retail that was first invisioned as part of Prairie Heights, and I still believe it will happen. This is just one more example of what is happening in our great city.

 
At 12/05/2007 5:39 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

9:52, the un-connectedness of "modern" stores like the Walgreens at Kimberly and Eastern is completely the opposite of what New Urbanism is all about.

One of the points frequently made by NA folks is that we separate retail from residential from office with ditches, berms, or even walls. In old-urbanism, you might live a block down from Golicks, and simply walk down the street to get there. In the suburb world, you may live directly behind a Walmart, but have to walk down your cul-de-sac to a bigger street, down that to an arterial street, and then maybe half a mile around to the side of the WalMart not surrounded by ditches, berms or fences. The suburb world is designed for cars only. If you're walking you must be some kind of deviant or homeless person...

New Urbanism is trying to return to the logical days where things physically close to each other can be easily walked between. Generally this means a grid of straight streets, sidewalks that cut through the middle of long blocks, and no cul-de-sacs. Unfortunately, Prairie Heights still clings to curving streets and one cul-de-sac, but its still better than all of our other recent suburbs. Our local (or statewide?) builders are timid when it comes to trying something new, because the same old crap still works for them. Hopefully people will jump at this new housing option and show developers that its a profitable way to build.

 
At 12/06/2007 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do not plan very well in Davenport. We don't have a council nor staff nor thought process that plans well. The good thinkers are eihter threatened by Malin, waiting for retirement or lazy. We need spunk at city hall. I don't see that happening. We simply do not plan this city very well. We react to business, instead of being proactive. PHs is stupid. A gated New Urbanist community, now that is such a bone head idea. We instead need to look around us and see that we have NEW URBANISM inour older areas and put all the money there instead of the gated community. It will not be a sampling of diversity because poor people cannot afford to live there. We will keep shiving the poor in the central city and open more soup kitchens to make all the people who live in Praire Heights feel good about helping "those people".

 
At 8/09/2010 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this development is a good idea. The area where they would like to build apartments I think they should consider a business underneath with the apartments over the top of the business.

 

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