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Old 05-08-2014, 09:28 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Greenfield MA is looking a lot better than it was when I lived near there about 8 years go
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:29 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Greenfield MA is looking a lot better than it was when I lived near there about 8 years go
I prefer to Brattleboro in many ways as it seems less boutique-y and tourist-oriented while still having a healthy downtown.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:31 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I prefer to Brattleboro in many ways as it seems less boutique-y and tourist-oriented while still having a healthy downtown.
I agree. Plus it has the People's Pint: The People's Pint | Greenfield, Massachusetts

It also seems a little bigger.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
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I'd have to agree that there was no intentional attempt to "kill" main streets, and there are a wide variety of reasons why towns lost their main streets. I think it's also important to remember that in many towns a lot of effort was exerted to try and save their main street. Many of the main streets that are doing well today are doing so due to work that was done in the late 70's and 80's.

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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Whoa. Looks rather than different than most any "Main Street" in New England or New York State. Some New England ones for towns of 3000:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.6078...VHllxDFSPA!2e0
I'm actually really familiar with this area - my grandmother grew up in Turner's Falls. To be fair, the real Main Street for the area is here - just a mile or two away in Greenfield. That area was really grim in the late 70's and 80's, with most of the businesses being abandoned. In the 80's the town put effort into securing vacant properties, planting trees to replace the ones killed decades earlier by Dutch Elm disease, and offering incentives for businesses to move in. A lot of people thought it was a waste of money at the time, but 30 years later it certainly seems to have worked. That said, it worked in Greenfield/Turners Falls because the towns are in a great location (junction of I-91/Rte. 2), and the region has great economic anchors in the colleges to the South, and tourism. Not every town has those advantages

I'm familiar with a few towns in central Indiana that tried to do similar things without success. In general they're rural communities that have lost a huge chunk of their population as agricultural employment declined, and the towns failed to attract any industries to replace the lost employment. In those cases the county seat is usually doing pretty well, but the smaller surrounding towns are practically abandoned.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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For the record, I never applied any value judgement to my town's main street full of restaurants, coffee shops and antique shops.

Last edited by nei; 05-08-2014 at 01:03 PM.. Reason: removed offending post
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Up North in God's Country
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I currently live in a small town of 8,000. I remember visiting years ago when I was a child. The downtown area was such a booming place...especially on Friday nights when the stores stayed open late. Now, it is quite dead...vacant buildings all over. There is a strip of highway further on that has the big box stores.

The city council is trying to "rebuild" downtown. I personally think it is a lost cause. All we have downtown is bars, banks, a couple restaurants, a couple antique/thrift stores, and a seasonal touristy store or two. Occasionally, a new store will come in...and go out within a year. People just don't want to walk to all these little stores.

I'll tell you...we were a much healthier America before the advent of the big box stores. We walked a lot more. I'm not sure there is any research linking health to big box stores, but it is just an observation...not that we don't get our share of walking in the big box stores. I guess junk food came in about the same time that downtowns were going out.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:10 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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As has been hinted at already in this thread, there are a more than a few mainstreets in New York and New England that have hung on, albeit diminished, as traditional main streets. Certain urban areas like inner ring suburbs, and larger, but isolated, towns that have not gotten big-box stores, or not enough of them to serve the entire population, still have a diverse economy on main street.

The inner-ring suburb of NYC I grew up in still has a locksmith, tailor, jewelry store, flower shop, wine/liquor shop, a couple of fruit stands (the loss of the mini supermarket to CVS actually created the need for mom-n-pop groceries), and a butcher.

Gone are the fish monger, hardware store, ice cream parlor, and haberdasher. There is basically a thriving restaurant and pub scene developing in their former spaces.

At leasst in what I have seen in the Northeast, It is mainly the outer suburbs and exurbs that have seen the greatest decline in mainstreet while the more urban, or rural (assuming it is economically stable) the area, the more robust the traditional main street is.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:29 AM
 
9,525 posts, read 14,901,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
But what main streets have regular goods and services for regular people? I can think of plenty, but what most of them have in common is that they are
1) in cities
2) not near freeways or high-volume highways with big retail
I can think of some in the suburbs, but they're poor -- for instance I posted a pic of East Orange, NJ's main street maybe a year ago. Right on a main highway in a town of 60,000 (a suburb of Newark, NJ). I don't think that's what wealthier urbanists want though.
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:32 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
I can think of some in the suburbs, but they're poor -- for instance I posted a pic of East Orange, NJ's main street maybe a year ago. Right on a main highway in a town of 60,000 (a suburb of Newark, NJ). I don't think that's what wealthier urbanists want though.
That area of NJ has a lot of former industrial towns and cities - I thought the Oranges were among them?
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,774,504 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSoBelle View Post
I currently live in a small town of 8,000. I remember visiting years ago when I was a child. The downtown area was such a booming place...especially on Friday nights when the stores stayed open late. Now, it is quite dead...vacant buildings all over. There is a strip of highway further on that has the big box stores.

The city council is trying to "rebuild" downtown. I personally think it is a lost cause. All we have downtown is bars, banks, a couple restaurants, a couple antique/thrift stores, and a seasonal touristy store or two. Occasionally, a new store will come in...and go out within a year. People just don't want to walk to all these little stores.

I'll tell you...we were a much healthier America before the advent of the big box stores. We walked a lot more. I'm not sure there is any research linking health to big box stores, but it is just an observation...not that we don't get our share of walking in the big box stores. I guess junk food came in about the same time that downtowns were going out.
I definitely think that back in the main street days, we had a lot more neighborly connections. I went over to another main street, on a town near my dad's town, and many of the people there knew my grandparents as well. A distant cousin of my dad's was running the restaurant on main street.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
As has been hinted at already in this thread, there are a more than a few mainstreets in New York and New England that have hung on, albeit diminished, as traditional main streets. Certain urban areas like inner ring suburbs, and larger, but isolated, towns that have not gotten big-box stores, or not enough of them to serve the entire population, still have a diverse economy on main street.
We still have plenty of main streets in Oakland. I've got 4 thriving ones in my 3 mile radius of Oakland (no big box stores on any, they have small form factor groceries). But I was thinking more about small towner, than larger places or inner ring suburbs.
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