Let's make our downtown a more pleasant, attractive experience for the citizen and vising pedestrians who come to shop, walk eat and explore Harrisonburg downtown by diverting large commercial truck traffic via [e.g.] Rt. 11, Erickson (280), Rt. 42, Mt. Clinton Pike, thus eliminating primary culprits of near-road air and noise pollution while sustaining our vibrant downtown.
As our city grows, I believe (if it isn't already part of the requirements of new development), that new commercial construction must include at least 10% green-space. This is to prevent our city from becoming all brick, glass, concrete, parking garages, parking lots etc. It can be accomplished in the form of landscaping, wide areas of grass and trees. It cannot include INDOOR green-space. I'd also add that a good portion of that green space should be flowering plants. Not the non-flowering (low insect) crops you see popping up everywhere.
Or offer a tax incentive (break) to those developers that include at least 10% green-space in their construction.
The NW corner of rte 11 and Stine Spring/Erikson is undeveloped and an eyesore. We need a suite hotel in town, and a real diner (Friendly's), and a gas station there as well would create a solid anchor.
I don't care that it's a Wal-Mart Fresh Market. It's another Wal-Mart, and that is the last thing Harrisonburg needs. Is there any way we could entice a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Wegman's, anything else here? I'd rather see the space used as an indoor farmers market. Anything but another Wal-Mart.
I'm all for variety but of late the new 'food' options going up in the budding areas of our city are just plain ridiculous. Bojangles? Popeyes? I might understand the logic if I was aware of a majority of people that voted to bring these business in (if this place exists, to cast a vote, please make me aware). If we are to 'vote with our wallet' that just leaves empty buildings and wasted money.
So can we? Do we have any say in whether another fast food joint can spring up. Really, there are PLENTY already.
While it may take many months till the road widening project is completed on Reservoir St., it would benefit students and neighbors who turn right at the corner of Chestnut Ridge and Reservoir St. if a temporary left (or right) turning lane were constructed (a bit of a widening for the car to pass the left turning care on the right). Since the majority of drivers turn right at the Chestnut intersection, a left turning vehicle causes a significant back up due to the heavy traffic going south on Reservoir St.
Harrisonburg should invest in the IoT era. Technology is advancing and so is the world with it. Harrisonburg would greatly benefit from free wifi in a expanded area of Harrisonburg. The city should be "updated" by becoming a "Smart City". Sensors should be placed where data can be collected and used to improve the city. From wzter pipes to public parks and even the streets. Busstops should be outfitted with screens that displays the information from the Internet. Buildings should aslo be covered with appealing solar panels to power many things throughout the city for free that visitors and residents of Harrisonburg could use. Like maybe a info booth placed throughout hburg that helps displays info about Harrisonburg.
The City is currently planning the construction of a multi-million dollar middle school to accommodate the growing number of student in our school system. I believe that the City should take a long-term view of the cost and usefulness of this building, and as such should strive to make it LEED certified (or equivalent) and a Net Zero Energy Building, meaning that it produces as much energy each year (on average) as it uses. Doing so would decrease the long-term costs to taxpayers, insulate the City from future increases in energy prices, promote sustainability, and enhance our children's educational experiences by creating a modern, forwarding looking building that incorporates scientifically and technologically sound building practices. Depending on the financing mechanism chosen, a LEED/Net Zero building need cost very little or no more initially than a conventional building, though I would encourage the City to focus more on long-term costs than simply the bottom dollar up front. If we as taxpayers have to invest a few extra dollars now in order to save many more dollars for years (decades) to come, isn't that the best choice?
The architects have been selected, but the school design has not yet been set. The firm chosen has experience in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and LEED, including with K-12 schools. Please join me in asking our School Board, City Council, and other city leaders to make the new middle school LEED/Net Zero. It is the best choice for our city, our children, and our future prosperity.
For more thoughts about why a Net Zero middle school would be a good idea, see this blog entry by a local architect with expertise in this area: http://harrisonburgarchitect.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/why-build-a-zeb-middle-school-in-harrisonburg/