Posts about New Haven
Shaw's Plaza is in the heart of downtown New Haven, but connected to nothing.
Design New Haven tells a tale of two shopping plazas.
One, anchored by a Shaw's supermarket, is in the thriving heart of downtown New Haven, a city that was just ranked in the top 25 "Best for Gen Y" nationally. The other is a Target complex in the middle of an industrial wasteland at the city's edge. Which is more friendly to human beings?
We'll let Design New Haven's editor, Mark Abraham, tell the counterintuitive story:
The Shaw's Plaza, built in the mid-1990s, is home to the only major supermarket in Downtown New Haven, and attracts many local residents and Yale students...
Despite the supermarket's popularity and the incredibly high density of the surrounding neighborhood (according to the Census, the Dwight neighborhood just west of Downtown has a population density close to those of many of the central boroughs of London, 50-60% higher than that of Chicago or Downtown New Haven, and about 3X higher than that of the East Rock neighborhood), there are no crosswalks or traffic calming measures anywhere near the store. In addition to the lack of any pedestrian plaza right at the store's entrance, DNH readers regularly observe families of all ages, even people in wheelchairs, trying to cross Whalley Avenue near the Shaw's plaza. Usually, they dart across under great stress. To make things worse, vehicles regularly speed in excess of 50MPH down the 4-lane, median-less highway...
In contrast... the Target Department Store in North Haven, Connecticut opened about five years ago as part of a National Realty project, and is located in an industrial zone near the city's old landfill (known as "Mount Trashmore"). Other than its location off of I-91, Target has no physical relationship with any surrounding residential or commercial areas.
The store is the epitome of "dumb growth." But wait!
Look at the beautiful Dutch-inspired, textured, shared space plaza at the front of the store. Chicanes, vehicle bollards, traffic calming, medians, brightly-striped ladder crosswalks, and pedestrian walkways can be spotted throughout.
Those who frequent this Target report feeling exceptionally comfortable and safe walking to it. Families with children are regularly spotted walking, skipping, or hobbling into the store's entrance with ease. The Starbucks located at the store's entrance does quite well, with people spilling out to enjoy their coffees in the nice weather. This despite that the area often smells like industrial emissions or manure processing, and has views of abandoned rail tracks and one of the largest parking lots in New Haven County.
As Abraham, points out, the contrast is illuminating in two ways. First, it shows how much design principles have advanced in the last ten years, and how they can make a difference in people's experience of space, even in a poorly placed development. Second, it raises this question: "Why are residents living in sections of one of the densest downtown areas in the United States
More from around the network: Transportation for America reports on a study that shows Americans continued to use public transit in record numbers during the first quarter of this year. City Parks Blog writes about the concept of "the humane metropolis." And Urban Review STL asks the timeless question, "Are developers evil?"
Cross-posted from Streetsblog.
navigate a blockaded Eleventh Avenue in Manhattan during a demonstration, stopping at stop signs, avoiding other vehicles and pedestrians. How long until we have real autonomous vehicles on regular streets? Check out the video. Tip: Phil Lepanto.
Not saving the environment: A new Atlanta-area motorsports park will be LEED certified. Only thing is, motorsports is about driving loud cars very fast, and it's 57 miles from Atlanta. Via Richard Layman.
New Haven moving toward a boulevard: New Haven took one more step toward converting its underutilized, neighborhood-killing Route 34 stub freeway into a boulevard, soliciting proposals for consultant teams to design and execute the change.
11,000 tour buses and no place to park: District and WMATA officials are trying to plan for an estimated 11,000 tour buses to come to DC for the Inauguration, and where to park them. In addition to common sites during major events like RFK Stadium, according to the Post, WMATA will use some Metro station parking, but wants to keep some (free) for area residents. They're also looking at sites as far away as Laurel Racetrack, Six Flags in Bowie, and Wolf Trap.
And: Advocates of a more walkable Tysons argue Fairfax needs to move faster to change the zoning now that the FTA has approved the Silver Line; Annapolis' three-year-old municipal garage is losing lots of money, because people would rather park on the street for free (tip: Ben Ross); a tongue-in-cheek DailyKos diary attacks Obama's choice for Secretary of Transportation as not representing change ... even though he hasn't nominated anyone yet (tip: Jeff Wood).
- Barack Obama rode his bike for fun. Streetsblog LA writes, "it's refreshing to see a nominee on two wheels who is neither A) biking in the woods, nor B) straddling an $8000 Serotta while clad in spandex." (AP)
- A growing coalition is advocating for replacing New Haven's Route 34 freeway with a boulevard. (Mobilizing the Region)
- Salt Lake City plans to significantly cut its parking requirements. They're not getting rid of them, but it's a start; some people are still complaining, of course. (SLC Tribune via Parking Today)
- Tulsa built an arena but decided it needed no new parking. (Of course, that's because Tulsa already has gobs and gobs of it, but still.) (Parking Today)
In 1957, New Haven tore down a neighborhood near its waterfront to build a freeway. It created a barrier between downtown and Union Station, cut off streets, created dark shadows under huge ramps, and fostered more car-oriented and pedestrian-unfriendly development in the hospitals and huge parking garages that were built there.
The freeway never went anywhere, with other neighborhoods successfully fighting the destruction that the freeway wreaked on Oak Street. Now, Tri-State Transportation Campaign reports that New Haven is proposing to tear down the freeway, develop new mixed-use buildings in the space, and reconnect the street grid.
- Cyclists are special and do have their own rules
- M Street cycle track keeps improving, draws church anger
- O'Malley announces first projects using new gas tax money
- Can Loudoun grow while protecting its rural areas?
- ICC losing bus service in classic bait and switch
- Silver Spring mall could get massive facelift, new name
- WMATA launches "Short Trip" rail pass on SmarTrip