While Walking Down Jefferson Avenue...

On Saturday afternoon while checking out construction progress on the new Frank E. Merriweather County Library at the corner of Utica & Jefferson, I noticed a series of new benches had been installed recently along Jefferson. Saturday afternoon was a terrific day. The street was full of people. I was stumped because not a single one of the dozen new benches was occupied.
New Urbanism?
click to enlarge
I sat down to see if they were comfortable. Big time. Then I realized. The benches are not located next to bus stops and are way too close to the street for comfort. On Elmwood, they'd be set back from the street. Call it city or "shitty" planning? I mean how hard would it have been to have placed this bench in the green space there on the corner?

A shot of the new "suburban" Top's Market that opened less than a year ago at the corner of Jefferson Avenue & Riley, in case you haven't shopped here yet. And a cool satellite view of the neighborhood clearly showing the Tops and an adjacent plaza set back a good 100 feet from Jefferson Avenue. Yeah, more good "city" planning, I know.
Jefferson Avenue & Riley The image “http://citycomfortsblog.typepad.com/cities/urb-anim-illo/urb-to-sub-3.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
click to enlarge
I lifted the "sub-urban" diagram from City Comforts which I have been linking to over on the left hand side for the past few months.
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq


James said...

You're totally right about how bad it is to have parking in front. Besides other problems this makes it hard in winter for older folks walking and carrying bags.

Unfortunately I'd guess one aspect Tops would cite as reason not to build store near sidewalk is security (faster getaways for holdups or shoplifts).

I'd disagree with that priority and would much prefer if they'd built as you suggest in urban-friendly way and just hire decent number of security guards.

fix buffalo said...


I don't know if Tops did insisted on this design for security reasons or why city planners let it pass. It clearly should not have happened.

Seems like Wegman's got away with "sub-urban" design on Amherst Street, too!

Shrinkage is something stores like this factor into their biz plan. So the "get away thing" I think is for the most part urban legend.

Thanks for your interest...check back again soon.

Chris B. said...

The problem is that neighborhoods are so EXCITED, as was the case with this Tops, so excited to get a supermarket that things as you've outlined here get ignored...

James said...

True, that can be factored in biz plan, but many customers who have choice might not keep going to a place that has a lot of "incidents" so company might be being proactive based on market research, etc. You're right, Wegmans did same lousy thing with front parking lot. They're very security focused in many ways with 1 or 2 guards standing near doorway 24/7, and now that I think about it I've NEVER seen any problems there. At both W-Farms I go to often (Elmwd/Auburn, Grant/Forest) I've witnessed "getaway" thing several times, and a few scary cases in which reckless clerks confronted people on way out of store. Higher crime rate is part of urban life of course, but I think rightly or wrongly it's also hidden factor in things such as building decisons. I've read in Bflo News that Amherst and Chktg town courts have way stronger enforcement records than city courts, so I wonder if city judges changed approach in serious way if that might encourage stores to be more open to urban-friendly building plans. Just a thought. Love your site, by the way - I read it a lot - keep up the great work!