What do you think of the idea?
What do you think of the idea?
They tried that on State Street (the main street in the downtown area) in the 80's when only buses were allowed to drive down the street and it didn't work too well.
Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis is doing so well that the state government is dumping $40 million into it for "revitalization" since it's not vitalized enough on its own. I wouldn't find this infuriating if it was Minneapolis dumping money into it, but why should people throughout the entire state of MN be paying for a 12 block long car free zone in Minneapolis to be "revitalized"?
If the residents and business owners in those areas of Chicago want it than by all means let them have it.
Being as objective as you want to be, what (if anything) is good and bad about Nicollet Mall? I get that you don't like the government spending money on it, but what is the scoop on the mall itself as a shopping zone, or whatever it's supposed to be?
I've only been there once for a job interview. It's a 12 block car free street in a commercial district that often has farmers markets and such. I don't have a problem with local government spending on it if that is what local residents want. I have issue with state funds being allocated to a 12 block district in Minneapolis that the vast majority of Minnesota residents will never go anywhere near nor see any economic benefit from.
I honestly thought that all of that was pretty clear from my first post.
I notice some of the proposed Chicago carfree spots were shopping streets. There were dozens of these put in Midwestern cities in the 1950s through the 1970s. Many have since been removed. I guess they "didn't work"--at least from a carcentric definition.
Change is always worrisome, Chicagoans just need to be shown examples of how productive and prosperous a pedestrian mall can be. In my state, Denver's 16th Street Mall (a free shuttle bus runs along it) and Boulder's Pearl Street are good examples of successful car-free shopping districts, what are some others?
I think there are plenty of successful car free areas in the US, but only do well because the population that frequents them is by and large car free already: tourist destinations and college campuses and towns.
College campuses aren't strictly car free, but there are quite a few where access is limited to seniors or juniors and even then the cost can be prohibitive. Boardwalks and other tourist zones (Times Square, St Augustine, etc…) are successful despite lack of motorization. I freely admit that the student and tourist populations aren't indicative of the general public and that some of these areas aren't necessarily completely car free. It's worth exploring the things that make that kind of pedestrian environment work, though. In my opinion, high density quarters coupled with people who walk because driving is such an unrealistic option… the opposite reasons that people drive everywhere else.
I do think it's interesting that people take vacations to places they don't need a car or have to drive and consider it 'a break.' It's also worth mentioning we don't consider either group systematically crippled or isolated, unable to travel to where they need to go.
I'm just saying, there's might be a number of reasons why these pedestrian malls "don't work" but I don't think cold weather is one of the reasons.
Another neighborhood resident who identified himself as "Gary R." visibly scoffed when he heard the plan while standing on the half-mile stretch of Broadway packed with businesses and motor vehicle traffic.
"No," he said. "Why would you want to do that? This is a busy street that's been here for hundreds of years — that doesn't make any sense."
My favorite quote. Hundreds of years! It's been like this since the dawn of America herself!
I know the pedestrian mall main street thing has been tried in a lot of areas, then done away with. I have a strong suspicion that is not a one size fits all situation. I know it was tried in several towns here in NC and most if not all of them have been done away with. My take on it is you have to have the right combination of stores, population size, available parking and the malls are a good ways away.
I too grew up shopping downtown areas, I still remember Christmas shopping in Huron, SD... there was a huge snow drift in the middle of the downtown area, people were pushing cars up and over. I don't doubt the perceived convenience of the mall helped to bring the downtown shopping areas down.
What seems to be saving downtown business districts is a new mix of businesses. Here in Lansing we no longer have vacant storefronts. Every single spot is filled by a restaurant or bar. No more stores or banks, just food and liquor.
I think that's the key: people need some reason to travel to the outdoor mall (distinctive shopping or restaurants, or maybe special events) and some easy way to get there without having to pay a lot for parking or exert themselves physically. Even Boulder's downtown mall took a hit in the mid-2000s when a bunch of businesses left for a new shopping center with free parking.