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GTA NHL Arena Siteplan - Rescind the Draft Financial Framework of April 26th, Defer the siteplan and complete the Markham Live/Centre Secondary Plan

GTA NHL Arena Siteplan - Rescind the Draft Financial Framework of April 26th, Defer the siteplan and complete the Markham Live/Centre Secondary Plan

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Published by Jim Jones
Do a Charrette to finalize the Markham Live Vision and complete the Markham Centre Downtown Secondary Plan in a public process
We have spent millions of dollars studying the Markham Center over the last twenty two years. Some of us know practically every square foot of the area. That is why I am saying that we expedite the Markham Live vision and the preparation of a draft updated secondary plan by March 31, 2013. Never has there been an issue in my twenty years in politics that has galvanized the people of Markham in seeing the proper planning results. The planning process that has happen over the last two years is totally unacceptabe. We owe the people an open process and allow them to help determine what our future priorities are.
Do a Charrette to finalize the Markham Live Vision and complete the Markham Centre Downtown Secondary Plan in a public process
We have spent millions of dollars studying the Markham Center over the last twenty two years. Some of us know practically every square foot of the area. That is why I am saying that we expedite the Markham Live vision and the preparation of a draft updated secondary plan by March 31, 2013. Never has there been an issue in my twenty years in politics that has galvanized the people of Markham in seeing the proper planning results. The planning process that has happen over the last two years is totally unacceptabe. We owe the people an open process and allow them to help determine what our future priorities are.

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Published by: Jim Jones on Nov 04, 2012
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02/13/2013

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We have spent millions of dollars studying the Markham Center over the last twenty two years. Some of us knowpractically every square foot of the area. That is why I am saying that we expedite the Markham Live vision and thepreparation of a draft updated secondary plan by March 31, 2013. Never has there been an issue in my twenty oneyears in politics that has galvanized the people of Markham to ensure proper planning is done. The planning processthat has happen over the last two years is totally unacceptable. The people of Markham owned the vision; thelandowner will inherit the development rights. We owe the people of Markham an open process and allow them to helpdetermine what
Markham’s
future priorities are.
Don’t build your plan aroun
d an individual building, plan your system board function first (Vision Masterplan for Markham Live) 
Focus on a holistic comprehensive integrated solution for the Markham Live/Markham City Center
 
Action Plan for the Markham Live component of (Markham Live is approx 100 acres)the Markham City Center:
 
The following components need to be studied in a visioning exercise to determine their viability, if viable their location andconnectivity in the Markham City Center.
What are the citizens of Markham’s
priorities
?
 
a.
Twin 40 Story University Towers at the Hub
b.
Markham International Sports Training Academy (MISTA
) 
 
Contains University Class rooms, Offices, Retail, Residents and Condos in the towers at the hub and attached to MISTA
 
 
c. Performing Arts Center d. Metrolinx Hub and Express Rapid (Rail) Transit
(I-METRO-E
)
 
e. NHL (20,000 seats) Arena f. Multi-purpose Entertainment Facility (Casino)g. World Class Retail h. Five Star Hotels and Convention Centeri. Class A Office j. Residential StrategyK. Develop financial funding model and investment strategies 
1)
Rescind the draft financial framework approved at the April 26
th
Special Council Meeting
 
 
Develop a economic development plan that should include private sector investors
 
Need to do proper Due Diligence on the Promoter
 
2) Confirm that the City will not be providing funding or parkland credit for this project
 
 
Take back all Simcoe Promenade parkland credits (approx 8 acres) and claim 8-10 acres of land adjacent to 407 Hwy for Markham Live
 
3) Direct staff to cease work and terminate negotiations on operating and cost-sharing agreements
 
 
Develop a draft secondary plan; the city must take charge
 –
complete in March 31
st
, 2013
4)
 
Validate the visioning & planning for a new draft Secondary Plan with appropriate public notification and input
 
 
Need a world class urban designer with experience in city center design & integrating the components above to be engaged by the City
5) Adopt a holistic Comprehensive integrated planning approach to Markham Live (dis-regard Ownership)
 
 
Plan Markham Live as engineers develop the system board of the computer and
don’t plan the
components first
6
 ) 
Develop the Markham Live framework(Vision) in the open
 –
(weekly evening committee or Townhall meetings)
 
 
Need 100% open process, focus on creating a great place and getting Markham City Center (Markham Live) back on track
Citizens of 
Markham must be involved in the vision and in setting Markham’s priorities
 
 
A.
 
Complete a public visioning exercise for Markham Live and get the public to sign off on the priorities for Markham.A lot of attention has been paid to this area and we need to complete the vision with the public.B.
 
Complete an updated draft secondary plan for Markham Center asap (by March 31, 2013)C.
 
Move the 407 Transitway (rail) alignment ... MTO and Environment Ministers agreed to moved the alignment based on anapproved secondary plan
The current approved 407 Transitway EA alignment is estimated to cost $525,000,000 and if on south side of 407 Hwy costs is
 
$163,000,000.
 D.
 
Finalize the road systems
.. will be based on the completed secondary planE.
 
Complete the urban design and Markham Live/Markham Center
Vision …. Vision is owned and belongs to the people
 F.
 
Develop a private sector orientated investment strategy plan and take the city out of the financial equation
Complete the Vision and Draft Secondary Plan
 –
timeframe: by March 31
st
, 2013
 
 
Following are some Preliminary thoughts on the current siteplan versus earlier work done by
 
Calthorpe/Adamson that suggest we should step back and take into consideration of creating
 
place and a more connected city center.
 
Current Site Plan North-South Orientation of GTA Arena
 
Divides
 
Breaks East-West road network and limits connectivity across Markham Centre from Warden to Kennedy.
 
The GTA Arena Siteplan divides the Centre West Precinct from the Centre East Precinct.
 
Acts like a literal 600' wall between the precincts.
 
The arena will act as an Eastern anchor for Center West Precinct moving the centre of gravity to DowntownMarkham.
 
Land-locked by the arena, the Center East Precinct will become the "back-of-house" parking field for GO and thearena.
 
This severely limits the development potential of the Center East Precinct.
 
The arena will look like the presentation renderings of the GTA Center Arena shown at public meetings, anobject building in an open field periodically full of cars for decades to come.
Large Block
 –
suburban planning model
 
 
 
Arenas are large facilities and do create large blocks.
 
Orienting the arena North-South literally blocks or interrupts the predominant East-West movement acrossMarkham Centre, forcing traffic and pedestrians to go around this large object (i.e. like walking around a homedepot).
 
This arena sits into a 400x600' block. The scale of the facility is very large and not typically pedestrian friendlywhen it is not in event mode.
 
This is why arenas are now planned using an urban model to mitigate the scale of the building, limit the size of the block by enclosing it with buildings in close proximity and putting the emphasis on place making, ie goodpedestrian scaled streets to help bring daily life and activity to the context around a mostly lifeless box (arenabuildings are only active a few hours a day for a few days a week).
Object - Oval Design
 
 
The building is not rectangular, it is an oval.
 
This reinforces the suburban planning model of the object in the field.
 
It is difficult to make streetscapes when the building is set back and curving away from the curb or street wall.
 
The curvilinear design of the building reinforces the "building-in-the-round", with setbacks that increase as itcurves away from the rectilinear street.
 
This does not make good streetscapes.
 
Great streets require consistent street walls to contain and scale the street for the pedestrian.
 
This oval object building is suited for a suburban plan in a Greenfield and not an urban downtown city centre.
 
This oval object set back from neighboring blocks, with a wide margin all the way around it, will be a cold andwindswept open space much of the year and will not be an appealing pedestrian place.
Entrance -
Main Entrance on Enterprise
 
Enterprise Drive is not a pedestrian scaled street, it is a thoroughfare.
 
Try to walk it now.
 
It is now primarily for cars and buses moving at higher speeds from Warden to Kennedy.
 
It is wide and not conducive to pedestrians.
 
East-West Orientation (Parallel to 407)
 
 
Connects
 
 
Maximizes the potential E-W road connections across Markham Centre.
 
Opens up the potential to develop the Center East Precinct as Markham Live, as a 100 acre, higher densityprecinct.
Large Block - Urban Model
 
 
 
Optimal pedestrian-
scaled block dimensions are 300x400', or 1,320’ perimeter = ¼ mile = 5 minute walk.
 
The scale of the arena does dictate a larger block and that is one of the reasons that it is best placed parallel tothe 407 Highway.
 
The scale of the GTA Arena is enormous and can be mitigated by the scale of the 407 Highway.
 
The Northern elevation of the arena is long, but the buildings and square in front can be carefully planned toframe and scale the extent of the main entrance.
 
Again, arenas are single-use facilities that are inevitably empty. Retail can act as a liner along this northelevation to animate the building in non-event mode, and the three other elevations are minor, fronting ontominor streets or the 407.
 
In effect this orientation sets up a clear hierarchy of facades with the money and emphasis on the Northelevation.
 
This primary elevation is the side that engages pedestrians and is "front-of-house".
 
The secondary cost-conscious elevations do not require special treatments.
Fabric Building - Rectangular Design
 
 
 
The oval design is extravagant from an economic standpoint.
 
Most arena facilities are rectangular to optimize the program and keep costs down. You find that this is therule-of- thumb for most arenas under $350 million.
 
Typically 3 facades are relatively simple and the main entrance facade has a curve or some kind of feature. Thiseconomically-minded arena design works well against the 407 and squares up to make good urbanism on theNorth side of the facility.
 
Here the tight economics of the building naturally works well fitted tightly into an urban model thereby creatinga city centre conducive to good place making and civic life.Presentation materials associated with this scheme would clearly show that the arena facility is not the center of theNew City Center; rather, the arena would be integrated seamlessly into an urban fabric of carefully scaled street andblocks. The renderings would show Markham Live, a 100 acre precinct, part of Markham Centre, with the arena as onecomponent of many that make up this larger VISION for a great place.Never have there been a better time than to plan the City Center (Markham Live
 –
100 plus acres
 –
develop theboundaries). Doing it right means the difference of having a world class city center and a pedestrian city cen
ter. Let’s
get it right by doing the Visioning Exercise and updating the secondary plan first.

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