Post #303: Big Yellow Taxi

Posted on June 20, 2019

Spoiler alert:  No matter how sincere this seems to be, it’s actually sarcasm.

Suppose you have to design a new pedestrian-friendly retail area from scratch. 

First, let’s provide a broad pedestrian pathway with a smooth surface.  It needs to be large enough to allow groups of individuals to pass each other, and have no tripping or other hazards — particularly important for those with mobility issues.

Second, let’s protect the pedestrian pathway from the weather.  So, some sort of roofing overhead to keep off sun, rain, and snow.  And yet, with significant openings to allow fresh air ventilation at all times.

Third, let’s move it well away from the noise and pollution of Maple Avenue.  As I have documented empirically in this posting, the noise level directly adjacent to Maple is high.  And, generally, air quality directly next to arterial highways is poor, due mainly to fine particulates from diesel engines, but also to irritants such as nitrogen oxides and ozone.

Fourth, let’s place it adjacent to a low-speed access road, and require bicycles, skateboards, and other wheeled traffic to use the access road.  So the pedestrian access pathway is solely for pedestrians — the safest possible configuration.  For added safety, place decorative steel-and-concrete bollards between the pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  We want people to feel so safe on this new pedestrian walkway that parents are comfortable allowing their children to use it unattended.

Fifth, let’s place the pedestrian pathway as close as possible to the retail shops.  This makes for more efficient shopping and minimizes the amount of time spent in walking from the pedestrian pathway to the actual shop entrances.

Sixth, provide an easy transition from vehicular transport to this pedestrian pathway.   Eliminate widely spaced “choke point” entrances in favor of distributed access onto and off of the pedestrian pathway and the associated vehicular area.  Design it so that individuals can park just once and then use the pedestrian pathway to access an array of shops.

Sounds pretty good, right?  If you put that all together, here’s what you get:

Those of you of a certain age will get the cultural reference of the title.  Kids, you’ll have to Google it, or whatever you young people do over the internets these days.

To finish this off:  Narrow this path, take off the roof, remove the protective columns, roughen the pavement, move it directly adjacent to Maple Avenue, run some driveways across it.  And then yak about how pedestrian-friendly MAC is going be.

(In case you don’t recognize it, this is the Giant Food shopping center.   You can read a related description of my daughter’s walk to school now, and what that would be like with the new 444/Tequila Grande building, on this page)