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Old 02-12-2014, 04:47 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,674,215 times
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So strip malls, as I'm sure we can all agree, are hideous uses of space and are very inefficient in the way they use land. They swallow up space for parking and are pretty much impossible for any pedestrian to access without having to slip between moving and parked cars and hope they don't get hit. And what's worse is that they are so common as to be ubiquitous. Here's an example of your average strip mall:



And another:



It's clear that they don't fit into the urban fabric at all in their current state. However, if up-and-coming neighborhoods and municipalities wanted to shift their focus to a walkable atmosphere, how could they change the pedestrian-hostile nature of the strip mall structures without actually having to tear them down?

And (going off on a tangent here) what about other similar structures that are hidden behind massive parking lots-how can those be made pedestrian-friendly without having to meet the wrecking ball?

 
Old 02-12-2014, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Northeast
1,887 posts, read 1,792,795 times
Reputation: 3737
How don't they fit into the urban traffic?? Where i see strip malls i see people driving..not on bikes or walking. Get real..

Do you suggest leveling a town so everyone can walk for their goods, then trek back home some 20 miles with 40 pounds over their back..

It's 2014, people drive to and from for what they need. The die hard's who choose otherwise (the minority) well it's on them..
 
Old 02-12-2014, 05:36 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,714,506 times
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Look at strip malls as place holders. They're the absolute least investment you can make into a parcel other than a parkinglot or a temporary storage facility. These super low intensity uses will one day be knocked down without a moments hesitation or an ounce of love from anyone. The important thing is to change the zoning now to make sure what replaces them will properly address the street, be friendly to pedestrians and demote the individual automobile, etc.
 
Old 02-12-2014, 06:13 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,674,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brienzi View Post
How don't they fit into the urban traffic?? Where i see strip malls i see people driving..not on bikes or walking. Get real.. Could that be because they have no other option but to drive?

Do you suggest leveling a town so everyone can walk for their goods, then trek back home some 20 miles with 40 pounds over their back.. Didn't I specifically say that we need to find an alternative to adapt the buildings rather than "level" them? Also, I would imagine most people live closer than 20 miles from a strip mall-they are everywhere, after all.

It's 2014, people drive to and from for what they need. The die hard's who choose otherwise (the minority) well it's on them. People drive because the communities they live in are designed so driving is their only feasible option. If things were close enough to walk to (and they frequently are) then people would gladly forego their cars, except maybe in wintertime. When it comes to short distances, walking is far superior to driving in every way-it's less expensive, healthier, and more social. And plenty of people live a short distance away from the places they have to drive to. So why not fix that?

Responses in bold, but more below:

If they want to walk to where they shop, they should have the right to. This is a country based on rights, isn't it?

And though the "everyone uses cars" principle works in the suburbs, it doesn't work quite so well in city limits, where people prefer to walk or take transit everywhere. Strip malls are wholly out of place in dense and even partially dense areas.

Besides, what about the people who live within 2 miles of the strip mall, rather than 20? Those people are not only much more likely to use that strip mall, they can easily walk or bike to it. Of course, said strip mall is designed in a manner that makes it impossible to actually walk across the parking lot to the businesses themselves, thus discouraging shoppers there and denying them potential business.

Additionally, strip malls not only don't look near as nice as their walkable counterparts, they take up massive space. They are an eyesore. Let me ask you, which looks better: this or this? One can fit much more business without taking up near as much space. Also, did I mention that these example are right across the street from each other? So you can get a proper glimpse at how that strip mall (like many strip malls) destroy the urban fabric that surrounds them.
 
Old 02-12-2014, 06:33 PM
 
409 posts, read 388,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
So strip malls, as I'm sure we can all agree, are hideous uses of space and are very inefficient in the way they use land. They swallow up space for parking and are pretty much impossible for any pedestrian to access without having to slip between moving and parked cars and hope they don't get hit.
I do disagree with you that strip malls are a hideous use of space. Are strip malls really as treacherous to pedestrians as you make them out to be?
 
Old 02-12-2014, 06:37 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,674,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by impala096 View Post
I do disagree with you that strip malls are a hideous use of space. Are strip malls really as treacherous to pedestrians as you make them out to be?
They're not treacherous, but enough of a nuisance to discourage business. I'm not saying that people are getting flattened left and right by cars in parking lots, but it would be nice to make those parking lots more navigable for pedestrians.
 
Old 02-12-2014, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,514,457 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Look at strip malls as place holders. They're the absolute least investment you can make into a parcel other than a parkinglot or a temporary storage facility. These super low intensity uses will one day be knocked down without a moments hesitation or an ounce of love from anyone. The important thing is to change the zoning now to make sure what replaces them will properly address the street, be friendly to pedestrians and demote the individual automobile, etc.
This is basically how I see most strip malls, the ones that bother me the most are the ones that are in urban areas that should have already been redeveloped.
 
Old 02-12-2014, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,660,252 times
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Oooh a topic near and dear to my heart. So we have a dideous strip mall not far from me. Here is the street view of the strip mall: http://goo.gl/maps/i7dmR

(Really old pic)

Now let me show you the places within the next few blocks:
This is basically across the street: http://goo.gl/maps/VNucO
OK not the prettiest buildings ever, but you can see it is pretty dense.

This is another block nearby, no more than 2 blocks away:
http://goo.gl/maps/SDz68

Single family homes, packed fairly tightly together.

There are also 4 bus stops within 1 block, including the busiest bus route in the entire region (and our local bus system, maybe it is the second busiest....but you get the idea)

Now this is how the area immediately adjacent to the strip mall looks: http://goo.gl/maps/gzxDU

So clearly it is terribly out of scale.

Now just another FYI, 2 of the busiest commercial districts in Oakland are also less than 1/2 mile from this strip mall. They look pretty similar, so I'll pick the street view for one of them:
http://goo.gl/maps/UGcTm

Notice this is an early 20th century zone, with some mixed use buildings. Most are from he 1920s-1940s, but some are older (there is an ice cream shop that is over 100 years old on that street! The one from Up. )

So how on earth did that strip mall get there? No one knows.

So Safeway, recently purchased the land and plans to redo it. And their original proposal was:
Safeway’s new plans for Rockridge rock the boat — again - On The Block

(Basically a strip mall that looks typical for a far out suburb, not a denser, inner urban neighborhood.)

So basically the neighborhood had a conniption fit. The nearby business improvement districts wrote a scathing critique. The planning meetings were packed with opponents of the development. Not only was the plan out of scale with the neighborhood. The reality is, lots of people walked, biked and took the bus to the shopping center. The proposed design was really car oriented. It also was the north end of a district that is earmarked for denser development along the commercial corridor.

The current incarnation is so obnoxiously huge, walking from the Safeway to the CVS took forever. Don't even thinking about walking from the Chase. It is a hazardous walk across a huge parking lot. And the lot is never more than 50% full. Ever. There has been turnover over the years, but it really just felt nothing like the surrounding area.

So Safeway came back with a much better, denser, plan, with more activity at the sidewalk level. And moved the parking into garages so it is not a concrete wasteland. This plan was approved. It took Safeway 4 years to get it right, and they are starting construction any day now.
Oakland Safeway gets green light for makeover | Berkeleyside

So they had to tear the strip mall down, but it was time. 1950s strip mall construction isn't worth saving. I'll be happy when it opens, but by the time it does I'll probably have moved to a new neighborhood.
 
Old 02-12-2014, 07:45 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,995 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
. . . as I'm sure we can all agree. . .
It's obvious you are new to CD! That said, I disagree with the OP. Strip malls are not a bad use of land, etc. Many times small local businesses are tucked away in strip malls when they couldn't locate in a regional mall or a pricey downtown area.
 
Old 02-12-2014, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,079,459 times
Reputation: 1208
If there is demand, combine the parking of adjacent strip malls into one centralized parking garage and replace the surface parking with businesses. Is most cities minimum parking requirements would unfortunately get in the way...as long as there is enough parking within a 2 minute walking radius, who cares if you're parked in front of Business A but you go in to Business B?

For strip malls that do see pedestrian activity, like in denser suburbs, some kind of legitimate pedestrian connection to the sidewalk that is not a "wish trail" on the grass or even worse walking through the same entry on the road with the cars. This would seem to be a pretty cheap way to acknowledge that some of your customers arrive on foot and don't take up parking spots. This should be a City zoning requirement, and at any rate would seem necessary to comply with the ADA.
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