Linwood Park

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carla's picture
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Plan for Linwood Park - ArdmoreThis is the plan for Linwood Park

This morning I wrote something on Linwood Park. Then a few minutes after I wrote it, it was deleted by me. Partially by accident because I thought I had posted the same post twice, and secondly because I wanted to clarify a few things. But because I really did not post the same post twice, once I hit the "delete" button, the post was lost forever.

Well to ensure no one misunderstands what I think about the park, I am going to start with saying I do NOT object to a pocket park in this location, or in Ardmore in general. I am FOR this pocket park, but like others have my opinions on the matter.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, these are my thoughts:

I have a pocket park I love in my neighborhood, I know how it has evolved, and it wasn't everything all at once...and bit by bit, the park has gotten everything people want in it.

It's not really my issue, I support the park, but I am also a realist: simpler will get it done and keep it safe (especially in this sort of economic climate, and the ever-changing Lower Merion political landscape). I also think an idea that could be useful until the park gets going - the parking lot actually - might be a good way to test that idea of an antiques/craft market that many in the Ardmore community want (including the business community) - let a small thing go on there and have a percentage of the profits (say 35%) from this antiques/craft market be contributed towards the fund for Linwood Park. That way, in a small controlled area you not only raise $$ for the park, we can all see if the antique/craft market as a general concept would work. Two birds with one stone.

Also I would suggest reaching out to the garden clubs in the area to see if any will adopt Linwood Park too - if this were to occur, it would further defray cost of upkeep and maintenance in the park. It would also attract the Philadelphia Horticultural Society for accolades and recognition - like Sharpe Park. Sharpe Park has a garden club that has adopted it, and some of the grounds at Historic Harriton House has at least one garden club which helps out and plants.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I would like the commissioners to formerly adopt a master plan for the park ASAP. If that doesn't occur, it's like a certain block of Ardmore remaining blighted when it's not - you can never trust it will be 100% safe.

I am NOT against the park. I know some don't think that, but I can't be responsible for that thought process. While I might have an opinion on HOW things are done, including questioning how much consultants cost (and yes I have been told that taxpayer money did not pay for the consultant), it does not make me ANTI-park.

The friends of Linwood Park should also apply for non-profit status if they have not already so they can go for grants in PA.

(I would rather see a park on Linwood and Athens Aves in Ardmore then a misplaced fountain on Bryn Mawr Trust's property at Ardmore and Lancaster Aves in Ardmore.)

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Tony Morinelli's picture
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Houw much worse can "Linwood Park" get? To start - the design is abominable. Who, in this part if Pennsylvania would ever use red concrete. Who would make plantings that did not include azalea, mountain laurel or rhododendron? But even look at the plan? Now, that disaster of a space, because of the ridiculous bump-out on Linwood Ave, has had to add two reflectors and a sign that says "No Turn On Red." And, furthermore, the sign, blocks the orginal street sign. - How green? Linwood Park is a useless and ugly space. Yes, it is better than a housing development but I don't see it as a space better than where my childen and many others learned to ride bikes and drive cars.

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Wells Fargo.

Have we not be assaulted enough? We are still living with the lowest level brutish and ill maintained McDonald's structure in Ardmore. Now, we have the Wells Fargo. Along every town on the Pike we have the offensive red and yellow

Hugh Gordon's picture
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It does seem that when decisions about aesthetics are made in Lower Merion there is a reach for the banal and the third rate.  That certainly goes for the absurd faux-gracious Bryn Mawr Trust entrance with fountain, and also, to my mind at least, the lighting project in the Anderson Avenue tunnel, which remains the gloomy, dank, off-putting space it always was, with the dark and dingy walls now being lit up in whimsical colors.   Last summer's paint job is rusting already and the drip of filthy water from above has begun again.  ($1.4 m cost, too, is something to ponder.)  

There has been a lot of fuss about creating public open space in the new City Avenue zones, and there will be meeting on Saturday, January 21 in the GSB Building at 10:00 a.m. to work on creating a kind of land use map for the spaces that will show roads, trails and open spaces.  I am really skeptical about the public open space part of this endeavor, because if you look around the township at its public open spaces that aren't genuine parks you get Schauffele Plaza which is essentially a litter collecting area, you get the dismal seating area between Genuardi's and the Wynnewood Post Office, you get Ed Bacon's horrible spaces around City Hall downtown.  (Bob Gray thinks that we're going to get Rittenhouse Square somehow.)   These are pedestrian-hostile spaces, not pedestrian-friendly.  Designed by people who never get out of their cars, it seems. 

Linwood Park seems to me to suffer from trying to be too many things to too many different constituencies, so that too many mini-eco systems were crammed into too small a space.  The plan that Carla shows at the top of this thread might be awesome if the property were 4 times as large as it is (and then the red wall might seem innocuous even if rather out of place).  But the space can't accommodate it all.   Also, the bump outs have always seemed like traffic accidents waiting to happen; Jane Dellheim heralded them as traffic calming devices, but since they weren't marked, the unaware driver was just as likely to crash into them as to be calmed.  I gather they have finally gotten around to putting up some signage warning of their existence, but it seems that the main function of the new signs is to further disfigure the streetscape.

Has there been a really well designed, architecturally interesting commercial building erected in Lower Merion in the last 40 years?  Maybe the 401 building on City Avenue? Any others?  How about institutional buildings?  The Fanny Cox Center science building on the Friends' Central School campus is a first-rate design that had the effect of helping to pull together the disparate an integrated feel for the campus.  Otherwise, I haven't seen it.  Can anyone else cite examples for really good design at work in this Township?  Maybe some of the expansions of the elementary or middle schools in the Lower Merion School District?  The new high schools seem intelligently designed given all the constraints,  but at the same time they are rather bland.    

How do people feel about the new $10 million Ludington Library building?   Does it look good from the Lancaster Avenue side?  Is it the right size?  How will it function? 

 

 

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LexoTime5's picture
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Can anyone else cite examples for really good design at work in this Township?

I can think of the Benham Gateway building at Bryn Mawr College.

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LexoTime5's picture
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Although I've never been inside, I do like the look of the Corinthian building.  And I also like the perpendicular row houses they stuck next to the Exxon  station on Montgomery in Ardmore. Those seem to sit well between the residential strip and the gas station and the train tracks.

As for Ludington, I'd like to wait and see when it's all finished. But so far, the stone facade and glass work give the impression of something less than solid and permanent. Reminds me more of a mall building than a public institution.

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LMT Observer's picture
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It does seem that when decisions about aesthetics are made in Lower Merion there is a reach for the banal and the third rate. That certainly goes for the absurd faux-gracious Bryn Mawr Trust entrance with fountain, and also, to my mind at least, the lighting project in the Anderson Avenue tunnel, which remains the gloomy, dank, off-putting space it always was, with the dark and dingy walls now being lit up in whimsical colors. Last summer's paint job is rusting already and the drip of filthy water from above has begun again. ($1.4 m cost, too, is something to ponder.)

There has been a lot of fuss about creating public open space in the new City Avenue zones, and there will be meeting on Saturday, January 21 in the GSB Building at 10:00 a.m. to work on creating a kind of land use map for the spaces that will show roads, trails and open spaces. I am really skeptical about the public open space part of this endeavor, because if you look around the township at its public open spaces that aren't genuine parks you get Schauffele Plaza which is essentially a litter collecting area, you get the dismal seating area between Genuardi's and the Wynnewood Post Office, you get Ed Bacon's horrible spaces around City Hall downtown. (Bob Gray thinks that we're going to get Rittenhouse Square somehow.) These are pedestrian-hostile spaces, not pedestrian-friendly.

Agree. 

Who all were responsible for:

(a) the initial design,

(b) evaluating the design from the perspectives of independent aesthetic impacts plus consistency with the most appealing and historically LMT-consistent aesthetic characteristics of the surrounding areas, and

(c) signing off on, on behalf of LMT, the aesthetic qualities of each example that Hugh Gordon noted?

  1. Bryn Mawr Trust entrance area with fountain and so on.
  2. Lighting project in Anderson Avenue tunnel
  3. Schauffele Plaza
  4. Seating area between Genuardi's and the Wynnewood Post Office, covered with stormwater run-off unfriendly pavers 

Same question for Linwood Park.

Why ask?  Identifying common factors that contribute to the accumulating mediocre, or worse, recent examples can reduce the probability of continuing to install more around LMT that emanate from an essentially comparable aesthetic sensibility and set of principles.   

Surely, LMT's citizen and other resources include the talent and information needed to analyze the mistakes and their main contributing factors, enabling LMT to benefit by learning from them and changing course. 

 

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politeia's picture
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Yep.

My issue has been how many of these project get done without citizen knowledge/input.

The Anderson Ave. bridge was over $1 million.

Yes, there was an outside “grant” involved, but that is our tax money too.

State and federal “grants” are just a shell game where we get money for such a project, but our tax dollars are being used by other municipalities across the state/country for the same stuff, so it is essentially a wash – and our own tax dollars at work.

I think any project over a certain amount, even if it is 100% “grant” money and does not use any township tax dollars, should go before the BOC.

Still may not please all the people like with Linwood, but I was not pleased with such a huge expenditure for the bridge lighting with not only no citizen input, but no knowledge it was even being done.

Someone remind me - I know the funds for Linwood were voted on, but the design - did that involve true citizen input, or was it just farmed out by the commissioners?

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Tony Morinelli's picture
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Yes, Bryn Mawr College is quite nice. More important, their "natural" space next to Gerhardt that few ever see is most ideal. Along the public street - the Pike - the Murphy construction in Bryn Mawr is a wonderful example of maintaining early 19th century commercial building in present day sites. Those folks have a real sensibility. But on the whole, the Main Line is a horror. Who approved the design of the pink stucco monstrosity on the corner of Anderson Ave and the Pike that was the travel agency - now vacant. Who gave the ok to the MacDonalds in Ardmore West? And who approved the Main Line Bank graham cracker pre-fab with its embarassing garden store fountain and nouveau riche balustrade? What will we see on the now vacant opposite corner?

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Wells Fargo.

Have we not be assaulted enough? We are still living with the lowest level brutish and ill maintained McDonald's structure in Ardmore. Now, we have the Wells Fargo. Along every town on the Pike we have the offensive red and yellow

politeia's picture
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Have always agreed on Linwood. Heinous. Might work in a city environment, but not at all in keeping with the neighborhood.

Wells Fargo has got to have the ugliest signage and it is everywhere on their banks.

It's been discussed here before. It makes Lancaster look like one giant string of pawn shops, and I don't know why anyone would want to bank there based on the signs alone.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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onmyown's picture
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I'm not sure if everyone is going to like the new facade of Ludington Library. But not to worry, just look through the new windows and you can see the old facade still right there. Brilliant eh?

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Tony Morinelli's picture
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Actually, aside from the fact that it's so big, I think Ludington looks ok. The most important element of th library is that they used stone. Stone, especially field stone, is elemental in this area from the very start from Harriton House onward, not to mention the even older orginal Welsh houses.Stone is what they should have used on Linwood. The great monstrosity we will have to deal with is the read end of the new Acme facing the pike.

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Wells Fargo.

Have we not be assaulted enough? We are still living with the lowest level brutish and ill maintained McDonald's structure in Ardmore. Now, we have the Wells Fargo. Along every town on the Pike we have the offensive red and yellow

politeia's picture
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Anyone know what the Acme facade will be?

Brick would not be bad.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Tony Morinelli's picture
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Linwood park. - The park is on my corner. Every morning, every evening I have to make the turn. Each time as I turn right, I have to negotiate the alternate traffic. Each time I see the ugly plantings. Each time I see the ugly concrete. Each time i think how much more homelike it would have been to see local stone and local greens.... Does anyone care? NO. You've made you bed with your delights. you don't live here. You don't know.

On the bigger scale - Ardmore is joke. Historic center - who are you kidding. If that were true you wouldn't have to say it. it would be self evident. But look at the garbage - from the new Bryn Mawr Bank to what was Liberty Travel. It's pure architectural garbage,

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Wells Fargo.

Have we not be assaulted enough? We are still living with the lowest level brutish and ill maintained McDonald's structure in Ardmore. Now, we have the Wells Fargo. Along every town on the Pike we have the offensive red and yellow

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