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Old 02-26-2013, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,767,316 times
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These are different kinds of modern commercial developments in my area. How would you rank them in terms of where you'd rather be walking, without having to consider how you get there?

Hurontario St, retail on one side, 7 lane high volume arterial on the other: Mississauga, ON, Canada - Google Maps

Thompson Square, same as above but more landscaping buffers and additional floors: Milton, ON, Canada - Google Maps

Shops at Don Mills, retail on either side of the street, street is only 1 lane each way, only 1 lane of parallel parking on either side of the street, additional parking is elsewhere: Don Mills, Toronto, ON, Canada - Google Maps

BCE Place, indoor mall: Eaton Centre, Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada - Google Maps

Hawthorne Village Square, retail on one side, small parking lot on the other with the street: Milton, ON, Canada - Google Maps

Kingsbridge Plaza, similar to Hawthorne Village but with the parking lot between the stores and the street: Oakville, ON, Canada - Google Maps

The Abbey Plaza, similar to Kingsbridge but bigger and with a bigger parking lot: Oakville, ON, Canada - Google Maps

300 Albion, sidewalk with landscaping on either side, but otherwise an arterial on one side and retail across a large arterial on the other side: Thistletown, Toronto, ON, Canada - Google Maps

Thistletown commercial area, sidewalk with arterial road on one side and retail (with offices above?) across a small parking lot but no landscaping: Thistletown, Toronto, ON, Canada - Google Maps

I would say

1. Shops at Don Mills
2. BCE Place
3. Hawthorne Village Square
4. Kingsbridge Plaza
5. Thompson Square
6. The Abbey Plaza
7. Hurontario Street
8. 300 Albion
9. Thistletown

I prefer outdoor to indoor if the outdoor setting is still pedestrian friendly (an actually pedestrian mall would be even better), but indoor mall environments are still better than outdoor next to parking lots or big arterials. I also prefer having a small parking lot on one side than a big arterial road.

Although Kingsbridge Plaza is along a relatively minor road, I prefer Hawthorne Village Square since it is quite well isolated from the arterial road by having the retail between the storefronts and arterial. Small parking lots are obviously not as bad to have next to you as big ones and landscaping helps make arterials and parking lots less unpleasant.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,261 times
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Out of all of those, I think from a pure "comfortable to walk around" standpoint, the Shops at Don Mills is pretty awesome looking. Thistletown looks a little run down, but if it has useful businesses it works for me.

As far as walking, it all depends on how close I'd be living to any of the above shopping centers. If I lived within a 10 minute walk of any of those stores, the weather was nice and I had some extra time on my hands, I could see myself walking to any one of them with the same feelings all around. All the nice pedestrian improvements, walkability improvements, etc don't mean much to me, as I am a very proactive and spatially aware walker, I grew up having to cross many a Manhattan avenue as well as I've had the great displeasure of visiting and subsequently having to walk around many shopping areas in Chennai, India last year when I went there for work. I guess a little suburban arterial traffic or large parking lots don't bother me much lol.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,131,257 times
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I'm not sure if I am supposed to take the surrounding neighborhood into account or judge it strictly be the immediate area. I sort of did a mix of both:

1.) Eaton Centre, Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada (Step out of the mall and you are in DT Toronto). I don't love malls but urban ones aren't all terrible.

2.) Mississauga, ON, Canada - Retail on both sides, only thing that breaks it up is a large field. Looks like there is more retail in the distances

3.) Thistletown, Toronto, ON, Canada - though they are strip malls they are packed with shops and seem to go on a decent stretch in either direction

4.) Don Mills, Toronto, ON, Canada - Looks nice at first glance but then I realized it is situated in the middle of pretty suburban tract-style homes. Good to walk around in but seems like you'd need a car to get there.

5.) Oakville, ON, Canada (Oakville, ON, Canada - Google Maps) - The this is a strip mall and seems to be fairly isolated, at least the parking lots are small, the street's narrow and the surrounding neighborhood's on a grid so it is easy to get to the shopping center on foot.

6.) Thistletown, Toronto, ON, Canada (Thistletown, Toronto, ON, Canada - Google Maps) - Large parking lots, narrow sidewalk, street's not too wide but not great either. It appears to be right down the street from Thistletown 1, just the less pleasing part of that drag

7.) Milton (Milton, ON, Canada - Google Maps) - Huge road, fairly isolated, surrounding streets are on a weird suburban street pattern. The street facing retail is nice though and what puts it above the last two.

8.) Milton 2 (Milton, ON, Canada - Google Maps) Isolated, large roads, large parking lot, the homes are on that same suburban street pattern.

9.) Oakville 2 - Largest parking lot, isolated location, in the middle of greenfields, the residential streets are windy and make it difficult to walk to the shopping center efficiently.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,767,316 times
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I didn't mean this to be a ranking of the walkability of the entire areas, just of the particular development the streetview came is pointing at without having to consider how to get there. So more about how to design a single retail development than a community.

Btw the labels in the links are just what I googled, the names of the places are the ones I gave. I was going to see if there was a "streetview" inside the Eaton Centre but there didn't seem to be so I just found one in another nearby mall type area in the PATH.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
I didn't mean this to be a ranking of the walkability of the entire areas, just of the particular development the streetview came is pointing at without having to consider how to get there. So more about how to design a single retail development than a community.

Btw the labels in the links are just what I googled, the names of the places are the ones I gave. I was going to see if there was a "streetview" inside the Eaton Centre but there didn't seem to be so I just found one in another nearby mall type area in the PATH.
In that case, they're all fine by me to walk around. Don Mills does look kind of fun for aesthetic reasons, but when I'm shopping, I generally don't care how many bushes there are, or the color of the building...I just want to get my shopping done and be on my way.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:29 PM
 
2,493 posts, read 2,197,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
Out of all of those, I think from a pure "comfortable to walk around" standpoint, the Shops at Don Mills is pretty awesome looking. Thistletown looks a little run down, but if it has useful businesses it works for me.

As far as walking, it all depends on how close I'd be living to any of the above shopping centers. If I lived within a 10 minute walk of any of those stores, the weather was nice and I had some extra time on my hands, I could see myself walking to any one of them with the same feelings all around. All the nice pedestrian improvements, walkability improvements, etc don't mean much to me, as I am a very proactive and spatially aware walker, I grew up having to cross many a Manhattan avenue as well as I've had the great displeasure of visiting and subsequently having to walk around many shopping areas in Chennai, India last year when I went there for work. I guess a little suburban arterial traffic or large parking lots don't bother me much lol.
You have mentioned a couple times that you would walk 10 minutes IF YOU HAD TIME. But in another thread you stated that you had a two hour daily commute. I guess it is a matter of priorities. And a 10 minute walk is usually about a 5+ minute drive by the time you find the keys, warm up the fossil burner and find parking.

You and I are opposites on "walkability improvements". The bank. post office, bar etc are a five minute walk from my house along the main street in my town or a 15 minute walk thru the park and along the creek. Nine times out of ten, I take the long way home. YMMV

BTW, I'm a big believer in "keep right, pass left"! I would find driving more pleasant if everyone followed that rule.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddyline View Post
You have mentioned a couple times that you would walk 10 minutes IF YOU HAD TIME. But in another thread you stated that you had a two hour daily commute. I guess it is a matter of priorities. And a 10 minute walk is usually about a 5+ minute drive by the time you find the keys, warm up the fossil burner and find parking.
It's all a matter of personal preference and what works for someone. I prefer living in an area where the closest businesses would be about a 10-15 minute walk away, and I'd rather just make the 5 minute drive. I don't usually warm my car up because it's a 2011, so unless the temperature is below 20-25 degrees Fahrenheit, I usually am already at the stop sign at the end of my .10 mile long block less than 20 seconds after starting the car up. What I meant is, I generally just prefer to drive and get my errands over with...it also gives me a much wider range. Even if I could walk to the neighborhood deli/bodega in 10 minutes, I could drive to numerous places within a much wider radius in the same time frame and not care whether or not its raining, hot, cold, snowing (would factor in cleaning the car completely and driving slower), day or night. If I'm on foot, I can get to much fewer places within the same time frame. In a dense urban area, I could probably get to more things within the same time frame, but I don't want to live in such an area.

Quote:
BTW, I'm a big believer in "keep right, pass left"! I would find driving more pleasant if everyone followed that rule.
Haha, YES! I wish more people would follow this. At least it's written law in New Jersey and most people do follow it because they ticket often for it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 875,014 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
These are different kinds of modern commercial developments in my area. How would you rank them in terms of where you'd rather be walking, without having to consider how you get there?

Hurontario St, retail on one side, 7 lane high volume arterial on the other: Mississauga, ON, Canada - Google Maps
. . .
I prefer outdoor to indoor if the outdoor setting is still pedestrian friendly (an actually pedestrian mall would be even better), but indoor mall environments are still better than outdoor next to parking lots or big arterials. I also prefer having a small parking lot on one side than a big arterial road.
Crossing the highway (on foot) must be quite a sport.
Maybe they should make it an Olympic event

The problem with the outdoor malls is the sea of parking that usually comes with them.
Happy Cars usually makes for very unhappy pedestrians. If you ditch your car then you will know...
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 875,014 times
Reputation: 217
=== QUOTE: R. ===
*IMHO the bank of mom and pop is drying up its certainly happening round here , 17 / 18 year old's borrowing the family car if its not needed for anything else , and provide their own gas or the kids walk , expect to see more of this .
=== UNQUOTE ===

Wow. *Personal responsibility - what a novel concept.
No wonder the young are seeking Walkable communities!
They have been forced to understand what a complete trap it is to be dependent on a car.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,767,316 times
Reputation: 1616
For the Shops at Don Mills, the parking lots outside the commercial area are not too bad, you could probably get across them in 15-30 seconds, and there are sidewalks and crosswalks at the main crossing areas. Shops at Don Mills, Toronto, ON - Google Maps

The population living inside the loop created by The Donway is also quite high, 4247 people in 0.18 square miles, even though much of that land area (about half) in non residential (retail and parking lots). About half of the parking lots are planned to be redeveloped too, which would roughly double the population inside The Donway.
http://www.flairecondos.com/pdf/area_map.pdf

The areas outside The Donway while mostly typical suburbia would still add a couple thousand more people within a 10 minute walk, so there are about 6000 people within a 10 minute walk now, and maybe around 10,000 in the future. At google walking speeds (3 mph), a 10 minute walk is 0.5 miles.

Anyways, I was mostly wondering if people here would prefer having a parking lot on one side and retail on the other, or a large arterial (think 30k+ average daily traffic, at least 2+2 lanes and 40mph speeds) on one side and retail on the other. If I had to pick my poison so to speak, I would probably go with the parking lot.
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