Zoning Update may restrict long storefronts and blank walls
Today is the third meeting of the Retail Strategy zoning update group. I can't make it, but I really like two of the proposals they will be discussing: a frontage limit for stores, and a limit on blank walls facing the street in retail space.
A street with more storefronts is better than just one big one. A big single store limits the diversity of retail on that block, and also means that most of the front is probably just windows or walls. It's better for the street's activity to have more entrances that lead pedestrians to go in, see some merchandise, and then go back out to get to the next store rather than staying inside a single building for a long period of time. It's also just better to have more different types of stores facing the street. If bigger stores build deeper instead of wider, there's more street room for other stores.
Restrict the amount of ground-level street frontage that is blankGreat ideas!
— either walls or covered-over windows. (CVS is perhaps most infamous for this practice, but big law firms are killing streets all over downtown DC with their street-level conference centers, and there are other perpetrators such as the Studio Theater and Whitman-Walker Clinic on 14th Street.)
Edited to add: I really like that Office of Planning is using language like "killing streets," even if it's just in their suggestions for discussion topics rather than more formal documents. These practices do kill streets, and we shouldn't mince words, nor should our government officials tasked with protecting the streetlife.
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