Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fast Food Midtown - UPDATE

Well, it looks like we'll be getting a Mickey D's in midtown. Add this to the Chick-a-Fil-A, Food Court at the mall and the Starbucks & Pei Wei across the street (with their backs to the traffic -that's weird, right?) and you're in everywhere. I mean nowhere. I mean you're in midtown. If you didn't know it just check out the banners that now line part of University Avenue. This, of course, is where we just added sidewalks and took the exit ramp down from two to one lanes. It's the newly hip area with a promised mixed-use development. Above a Target. Which is soon to have a Staples next door. Oh, and have you seen the new Cheddars that's about to open?

Can we now stop talking about the Park Avenue (seriously, Park Avenue?) as a great new-urbanist development that's going to be the first of many mixed-used developments to come.

All of this on the same same day the board of directors finalized the vote to turn Ray Winder Field into a parking lot. Cities need places for people, not cars. Parking lots are not a redevelopment strategy.

But, there is an opportunity. Develop the Mickey D's in a worthwhile manne
r. I haven't seen the plans for what is surely another boring, cookie-cutter fast-food restaurant that isn't exactly development which considers the overall public health picture of the city. Actually, newly constructed McDonalds (sometimes replacing the McDs that that once existed on the same lot) are often the best architecture in a community. The 'retro' Mickey Ds that, while extremely bright from the florescent light that abounds, are better than the box that once stood in Generica. Now that's a sad commentary on American architecture. But I digress.

We could look to Saratoga Springs, NY where a
recently opened McDonalds is brick construction, built to the street and actually enhances the streetscape when compared with the strip mall or convenience store.

But I wouldn't count on it.

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