What seating is there, 15′ from the curb on Maple? 2/15/2019, updated 2/19/2019

Posted on February 15, 2019

All of the new MAC-mandated outdoor dining space adjacent to Maple seems … delusional, to me.  I think that no sane person is going to want eat dinner sitting 15′ from the Maple Avenue curb.  Not if they have any alternative.  At least not until electric vehicles are the norm.  Because with 33,000 vehicles a day,  serving as an artery for all kinds of commercial traffic, the space adjacent to Maple is noisy and polluted.

Edit 2/19/2019:  I was out and about on Tuesday 2/19/2019, around 3 PM, so I decided to record what it would be like to try to sit 15′ from Maple and have a conversation.  I sat in the bus stop (below), and recorded myself talking in a conversational tone of voice, with my cell phone facing me at arms length.   So here’s my best impression of what it will sound like to hold a dinner conversation in the fine streetside dining provided by these new MAC buildings.  (And note, this isn’t even rush hour.)

Oh, and here’s what the view would be like, below.  If you’ve ever wondered why the developers show nothing but empty streets, and never show you what the view would be from their roadside dining areas, it’s because a realistic view would look like this.  This is from the same bus stop where I recorded my voice.   The back of the bench is 16′ from the Maple Avenue curb.

Yet, as the Town reads the tea leaves of the Visual Preference Survey — and as I found in my own random-sample survey — people want broad sidewalks.

I think people are just not thinking this through, when much of the extra sidewalk space is going to be devoted to roadside seating.  So I’ll just point out a few things.

First, any commercial establishment along Maple could have, at any time, put in roadside seating for their customers, 15′ from Maple.  And yet, nobody has.  That’s what you call a market test.  And that should tell you something.  The closest we get is the picnic tables/umbrellas at Sweet Leaf Tea, a very space-constrained establishment.  Those tables sit, as I recall, about 30′ from the curb.

Second, just look at the in-your-face front of the ever-growing Chick-fil-A/Car Wash building, and realize they are going to have outdoor seating in front of that.  A “plaza”, I guess they’ll call it.  Just take a gander at that, next time you drive by, and picture yourself trying to enjoy some fine dining while seated that close to Maple.

Finally,  if  you want to know what it’s going to be like sitting 15′ from the Maple Avenue curb, your only option is to check out the bus shelters.  Again, if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about how pleasant that space is … there’s not much I can do to get through to you.  Hint:  the Town and/or local land owners are willing to give that land away, for public transit use.

These new outdoor seating areas will literally have all the aural ambiance of our bus shelters.  If you want to anticipate what MAC is bringing you in this regard, it’s easy enough.  Get yourself some take out and eat your dinner, some rush-hour evening, at this cute-but-doomed little bus stop at Maple and Center.   It’ll be torn down to make way for the assisted living that is going into that lot.  Might as well enjoy it while you can.  This where the recording and photo above were taken