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Posts Tagged ‘Sarasota Bayfront’

A couple weeks ago I posted about merits of replacing a second car (or even a first car) with a bicycle. Bicycles are big right now in the worlds of urban planning and placemaking, for many good reasons. As mentioned before: bikes are affordable, they don’t add to noise and air pollution, they don’t require any fuel beyond the food consumed by their operator, they take up very little space, and they increase the average health and happiness of communities that embrace them. Bicycles are also incredibly functional, especially if one thinks a bit outside the box. To prove this last point, I’ve included a collection of photos of bikes at work (below, click on images for source).

It’s strange and a bit saddening that bikes have become politicized symbols of environmentalists, liberals, communists, hippies, hipsters, or whatever other group. The fact is that an increase in cycling benefits everyone and hurts no one; intelligent, universally beneficial activities are nonpartisan, and should be allowed to remain as such. So many towns and cities in the US could become vastly better places to live simply by recognizing bicycles as a valid and viable means of transportation.

The next time you happen to be stuck in traffic on 41, just imagine if half the cars were replaced by bicycles. Imagine how much nicer the bayfront would be without the endless lines of traffic. How much more accessible Main Street would be if you never had to look for a parking spot. Imagine how much more freedom children and elderly people would have. Imagine how much space would become available for homes, shops, offices, or parks if the vast parking lots at shopping centers were no longer needed.

Loving the bicycle doesn’t mean hating the car. It’s about making smart decisions that improve the lives of individuals and communities alike.

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Andres Duany has been a polarizing figure in Sarasota ever since he and his firm helped author the downtown master plan in 2000. While some of his recommendations warrant criticism, it is probably more his demeanor that creates controversy. After all, Duany has referred to local governance in Sarasota as “ass-backwards” and “prissy,” among other things. Equal parts planner and provocateur, Duany (and his outsized personality) is largely responsible for building New Urbanism into both a legitimate force in planning and a divisive polemic.

Without agreeing with everything Duany has to say, we at Laurel Park Management support the tenets of New Urbanism and Duany’s efforts to apply them to Sarasota. We think walkable mixed-use neighborhoods, slower traffic, and better connectivity are great things. We think that downtown should continue to be Sarasota’s epicenter, and that there is work to be done to insure its future as such. And even the traditional architecture most commonly associated with New Urbanism is a natural fit for Laurel Park and the other historic neighborhoods of Sarasota, what with our history of Florida cracker bungalows. Again, without agreeing on every point, we think the man has provided a pretty good roadmap for Sarasota to follow.

Change is never easy. Especially in a place like Sarasota. It wasn’t so long ago that we were essentially a small village. It wasn’t so long ago that Siesta Key was a virtually uninhabited frontier, or that Bee Ridge was a barely-there path cutting through the wilderness. It was a special time in a special place, carefree and far removed from the responsibilities and troubles of city life. But we should all be careful not to gild the past too much. We shouldn’t forget that Sarasota was built by city people, with city money. That it supported a railroad. And that no matter how great the past was the future is always something different. Our task as a community is to thrive again in a new context, a more urban context, without losing some of those aspects of the past that we all remember so fondly. New Urbanism seems to be a good fit for such a future.

Laurel Park Management encourages residents to check out the master plan for downtown Sarasota and draw their own conclusions. We encourage you to walk around Laurel Park, Gillespie Park, Main Street, the bayfront…what do you see that moves you? That charms you? Where do you like to linger, or to meet friends? What paths do you seek out, and which ones do you avoid? Does the master plan speak to your concerns?

Duany might not be making too many friends by saying to our city, “I’m sorry, but you have to grow up,” but he has a point. That which doesn’t, dies. We do have to grow up, and we are. Growing pains are inevitable. But by embracing growth—maturation, not necessarily expansion—we can help guide the process. We will, however, have to abandon simple slogans and in-fighting (the “no boss mayor” campaign comes to mind). We can’t be one-issue voters. We will have to accept that Sarasota’s future will be more urban (and, consequently, urbane) than our past. We will have to treat each other and the issues at hand with respect and deep consideration.

It’s all well and fine for Duany to speak in sound bites; he is a public figure and a salesman for the ideology he helped coalesce. But let us be a bit more measured in our internal discussions while giving honest evaluations of the recommendations Duany has given us. By looking past the rhetoric, we might just find that the path to the future is right in front of us, and that it isn’t so scary after all.

For more from Duany, check out this recent article from metropolismag.com

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Silva Court pool

Looking for a place to live near downtown Sarasota? Afraid your budget will force you to choose between the charm of a historic building and being able to walk to Main Street? Why not have it all? Laurel Park Management rents a variety of unique affordable apartments—many in historic homes and buildings—all within walking distance of Main Street, the Bayfront, Whole Foods, and everything downtown Sarasota has to offer.

Today we are featuring the Silva Court Studios complex that nests just behind the Laurel Park Management office. Silva Court is a locally designated Mediterranean Revival Historic Structure that includes twenty-six residential rental apartments and two commercial storefronts. All of the apartments have been updated with wood flooring and new appliances, ceiling fans, and fixtures. The twenty-four large studio apartments and two one-bedroom apartments feature tall ceilings, generous natural light, full kitchens, and bathrooms with tubs.

Interested? Stop by the office at 235 S. Osprey and say hello, or contact us via phone or email (contact info is listed near the upper right hand side of this page). For more pictures of the Silva Court Studios, check out its property page.

 

 

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Looking for a place to live near downtown Sarasota? Afraid your budget will force you to choose between the charm of a historic building and being able to walk to Main Street? Why not have it all? Laurel Park Management rents a variety of unique affordable apartments—many in historic homes and buildings—all within walking distance of Main Street, the Bayfront, Whole Foods, and everything downtown Sarasota has to offer.

Today, we’re featuring one of a handful of Laurel Park’s “Grand” historic structures that dates back to the early 1920s. Seven Gables is the beautiful yellow home at 405 South Osprey Avenue. Originally constructed for a wealthy doctor, the house has since been divided into five apartments with ten off street parking spaces. Its name name is derived from the seven gable roof dormers built within the roof line and accessible from the second floor apartments. see property page for more pictures

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Looking for a place to call home? Want to be able to walk to Main Street and Downtown Sarasota? Curious about this whole Urban Village thing? Laurel Park Management welcomes you.

We have studios, 1BD and 2BD apartments, cottages, and bungalows for rent throughout Sarasota’s Historic Laurel Park neighborhood. All units are close to bus lines, within walking distance of Main Street, Burns Square, Payne Park, the Bayfront, and everything Downtown Sarasota has to offer. New College, Ringling College, USF, Asolo, and East-West College are all within a ten-minute drive or a twenty-minute bike ride.

Most units have been completely updated, with many featuring hardwood or tile flooring, laundry facilities, and energy-efficient lighting, fixtures, and appliances. Pet policy varies by property. Students are welcome.

Feel free to call us at 941-906-7609 or email us for more info.

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