So time has passed since my last post. I was putting in extra hours at the office and in early June I went to the homeland for a vacation. I had not been in the valley for almost one and a half years and I was very pleased to see the place was just as I remembered it. First, the weather was beautiful with dry heat and unseasonably cooler temperatures. I sat outside a Starbucks in 90 degrees and thought this is what 90 degrees should feel like. I was happy to see all my friends and family were doing well. When flying in, I realized I forgot about the city's true scale of sprawl. It's amazing from the perspective of someone now living on the east coast to see a world of such low density. I think the sprawl isn't as bad as I thought it was in the past. While there are still negative impacts, certainly on the environment, I think the city for the most part can adapt what they currently have to make the city better through increasing densities in older parts of the city. I'm glad to see a push towards moving into downtown Las Vegas. This part of town is a true gem and I'm sure rents will rise as more people realize this.
I found a few new development since I last lived in the city. I am happy to see the mass transportation system is still expanding and really meeting the needs of the high density routes. I am glad to see the new terminal and signage system for McCarran Airport, although the new airport doesn't seem to be nearly as attractive as the adjacent terminal 1. The pastel colors of the parking garage reminds me more of post modern architecture over something complimentary to the desert landscape and Terminal 1. Additionally, the designers of the parking garage convey a real slapdash placement of the building with the center spiraling ramps being about 20 feet off center of Maryland Parkway. Every time I sat at the light of Maryland Parkway and Russell Road I cringed at the off centered spiral. It would have been a simple and easy gesture to have the spiral on axis with Maryland Parkway. I would comment on the airport itself, if I could have seen it over the parking garage.
The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health was less exciting that I thought it would be. I found the steel structure overwhelming. The main interior space seems like it could offer something good.
I also took a moment to look at Predock's Las Vegas Library also part of the Lied Discovery Children's Museum. I was really surprised at what the library had to offer. One of my favorite features were the outside reading rooms. The small rooms inserted around the exterior of the building offer patron the ability to take books outside without checking them out. A really good courtyard inserted in the center of the building reminded me of the courtyard next to the Cordoba Cathedral where small canals allow water to flow from one tree to the next. Unfortunately, this courtyard looked closed and not well maintained. I recommend a stop for the designers in the valley that haven't been inside since childhood.
I like the development around the center of the strip. My only complaint is the new pedestrian walkways around the Cosmopolitan and City Center are a pain to navigate. The design of the walkways don't address the need for pedestrian to pass by the two casinos, instead making you go into the mall or walking down to street level to only go back up shortly after. Also, could the county finally connect Harmon to a major street on the west side of I-15? This is a great thoroughfare that is underutilized.
All in all, the city is still great. Keep up the good work Las Vegas.