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Old 01-08-2014, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
Lincoln Road in Miami Beach definitely represents the opposite trend. Not only is its 8 blocks of pedestrian mall vibrant, it's some of (if not the most) expensive retail space in the state of Florida. For us locals, Lincoln Road acts like Miami Beach's public living room. It's one of the de facto gathering places to meet friends, dine, drink and be entertained.

IMO, many pedestrian malls failed because people didn't want to be in America's DTs for decades. If most of them hadn't been torn out prior to the general renaissance we've seen in America's cities, I would venture to say that many more of them would be successful today. Because many of these pedestrian malls were torn out just prior to America's renewed interest in its DTs, many are quick to immediately associate a DT renaissance with the elimination of the pedestrian mall. I am just not convinced that is true.

At the end of the day, it's the market that is going to drive the success and failure of pedestrian malls. If nobody wants to be there, retailers won't sign leases and the result will be decay and blight, which only reinforces people not wanting to be there and the whole thing spirals downward. If pedestrian malls were renovated instead of replaced as the renewed interest in DTs grew, I think they could have been a catalyst for more investment in housing and a more rapid return of retailers. After all, retailers want to go where there is a huge audience and successful urban pedestrian malls provide that sort of visibility.
Some good points here about the timing of renewed interest in urban spaces.
Also not sure about some of the failed pedestrian malls, but I know both the Boulder Mall and the 16th St Mall (Denver) have been continually upgraded and there has been substantial private investment in upgrading the private property portions of the malls.


Also good description, "acts as Miami Beach's living room".
Just as I would describe the Boulder Mall.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddyline View Post
Just to clarify, thread title is about pedestrian only streets, the links and discussion so far are about pedestrian shopping malls, there is a BIG difference. Many cities have closed a block and turned it into a park, plaza or pedestrian/bike way. Usually this is done to discourage thru traffic and to create parks or green space in underserved neighborhoods.

Pedestrian shopping malls are a different thing and I agree they have been less than successful.
I lived downtown Boulder for 30 years so I have seen the most successful example but understand they are
not a solution everywhere. The fact that some downtowns improve when the pedestrian mall is removed could be that a stale commercial area responds to any change or makeover (at least short term).
Then it's just a park…or a trail.

A pedestrian "street" implies something more than a closed off area that was formerly a street. It means it's lined with shops and restaurants, etc. But in my opinion, these almost always fail, and even when the don't fail financially, they're not really great places for me except when the density is really really high.

But if "pedestrian street" merely means spaces that pedestrians are allowed but cars are not then the category is too broad to provide a meaningful distinction.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:04 PM
 
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Charlottesville has closed off a long section of its main downtown street. It seemed moderately sucessful but not jam packed.

I am old enough to remember when Downtown Knoxville was the primary shopping destination. This included a pedestrian mall that was originally 2 narrow streets flanking the old market house. It became a ped. mall many decades ago after the market house burned down. In the 80s and 90s the area declined to almost no commercial activity - most likely due to suburban malls.

But in the last 10 years there has been a huge resurgance mainly due to 2 factors. 1) Living downtown became fashionable with lots of loft conversions. 2) the city built parking garages with free parking on nights and weekends. Now Market square is hugely sucessful and a good bit of the business is people driving in from the outskirts.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
I don't see many folks arguing for pedestrian only streets (here or elsewhere). Almost all urbanists I know of are opposed to them.

Urbanists like complex, complete, multi-modal streets and shared spaces that accommodate automobiles, transit, pedestrians and cyclists.

Although - it is wonderful to close streets occasionally to do a ciclavias. I'm a strong advocate for taking a an urban boulevard on sunday mornings in the warm parts of the year and closing it off to traffic and opening it up to everyone else.

CicLAvia | Introduction to CicLAvia
That reminds me of Montreal's Gay Village, where a 10-block-or-so section of Saint Catherine Street (rue Sainte-Catherine) is closed to vehicular traffic every summer from mid-May to mid-September. It's a great place to walk (especially in the evening) and very lively, with lots of businesses and outdoor patios and some really cool strings of lights hanging above the street.

The reason why rue Ste-Catherine is successful is because it's only closed to cars for a certain period of time in the year and has a good mix of uses lining it and along adjacent streets (as well as access to nearby transit).
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:15 PM
 
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Church St in Burlington VT and State St in Madison WI are both great places.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwumavs View Post
That reminds me of Montreal's Gay Village, where a 10-block-or-so section of Saint Catherine Street (rue Sainte-Catherine) is closed to vehicular traffic every summer from mid-May to mid-September. It's a great place to walk (especially in the evening) and very lively, with lots of businesses and outdoor patios and some really cool strings of lights hanging above the street.

The reason why rue Ste-Catherine is successful is because it's only closed to cars for a certain period of time in the year and has a good mix of uses lining it and along adjacent streets (as well as access to nearby transit).
yeah - Ciclavias are really great ways to get people out - if you do it only for a certain time of year, maybe up to 1 day a week - it becomes an event - draws people from all over the city and you can use that space to put on all kinds of events - tons of fun and great way to get people to enjoy their city without interruption of business or disruption of traffic on busy days.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
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Quote:
Attached to a major anchor such as a university (i.e. Boulder)
The Pearl Street Mall is in Downtown Boulder. It is not attached to or anchored by the University of Colorado. It certainly attracts a lot of students, as does everything in Boulder, since it's a college town. But the Pearl Street Mall would function just fine without the University.

The only thing either of those articles proves are that a lot of pedestrian malls are ill-conceived. It's not the concept that is wrong. They are just being put in the wrong places.

If you have a dead Downtown, putting in a pedestrian mall probably won't help. On the other hand, if you have a vibrant Downtown that is being choked with automobile traffic and doesn't have enough space for pedestrians, you need a mall.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:57 PM
 
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Great video on Open Streets (ciclovias) - so awesome.

https://vimeo.com/78886448

These are great.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
The Pearl Street Mall is in Downtown Boulder. It is not attached to or anchored by the University of Colorado. It certainly attracts a lot of students, as does everything in Boulder, since it's a college town. But the Pearl Street Mall would function just fine without the University.

The only thing either of those articles proves are that a lot of pedestrian malls are ill-conceived. It's not the concept that is wrong. They are just being put in the wrong places.

If you have a dead Downtown, putting in a pedestrian mall probably won't help. On the other hand, if you have a vibrant Downtown that is being choked with automobile traffic and doesn't have enough space for pedestrians, you need a mall.
Not going to argue over the meaning of the word "anchored" but I read the link to mean a medium size college town, not that the pedestrian mall was attached to the university. After 30+ years downtown Boulder I disagree with you as to the impact of the university on the downtown economy. The students and faculty bring a lot of energy and money to Boulder. All those restaurants and bars don't stay in business from family dinners and business lunches, the late night bar crowd pays the bills. And the number of students that came to Boulder for school and never left is huge. And many or most of the employees in those bars, restaurants and shops are students. College towns have a different feel and energy than most equal size cities.

Your other two points I agree with.

Last edited by Eddyline; 01-08-2014 at 05:39 PM..
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:39 PM
 
2,493 posts, read 2,196,095 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Then it's just a park…or a trail. Or a pedestrian only street or plaza

A pedestrian "street" implies something more than a closed off area that was formerly a street. It means it's lined with shops and restaurants, etc. But in my opinion, these almost always fail, and even when the don't fail financially, they're not really great places for me except when the density is really really high.

But if "pedestrian street" merely means spaces that pedestrians are allowed but cars are not then the category is too broad to provide a meaningful distinction.
I've been involved in several urban projects that shut down a street and took former auto space and made it into people space.
Not all of these included shopping or restaurants. I'm only making the distinction because the thread title is misleading in that it is about "downtown pedestrian shopping malls" that "almost always fail".
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