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Old 05-08-2014, 02:32 PM
 
56,962 posts, read 81,305,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
To be fair, there are some small towns/cities with nice main streets with quite a few services. These come to mind: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=skane...,29.36,,0,9.08

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=aubur...,56.75,,0,2.42
Here are some more: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=norwi...11,146.06,,0,0
Norwich, NY Community Videos - Downtown
City of Norwich New York

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=hamil...249.29,,0,-3.6
Village of Hamilton - Welcome to Hamilton New York

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=homer...164.18,,0,4.16
Welcome to Homer Village

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=clint...96.48,,0,-0.28
Clinton, New York: Historic Village of Clinton, NY Shopping & Entertainment Travel Guide

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=carth...,205.2,,0,0.83
Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce - Carthage NY 13619 - 315.493.3590

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=clayt...42.94,,0,12.06
Thousand Islands: 1000 Islands – Clayton Chamber of Commerce Online Vacation Planner for the Thousand Islands Region
Village Of Clayton: Homepage: [Digital Towpath]

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=alexa...198.54,,0,3.46
Official Website: Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce, Thousand Islands NY
Alexandria Bay, NY

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=senec...,233.2,,0,5.96
Seneca Falls, NY - Historic Gateway to the Finger Lakes

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=owego...265.18,,0,3.67
Historic Owego Marketplace - Have fun Shopping, Dining and Sightseeing in Owego, NY - Home
Owego Homepage

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=east+...34.51,,0,-0.14
East Aurora New York - Home of Fisher-Price
GREATER EAST AURORA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,489 posts, read 11,994,834 times
Reputation: 10581
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
in NJ & PA dead Main Streets are the exception, not the rule. Some aspects of the Mayberry life might be dead but certainly not all.
Don't generalize Southeastern PA across the entirety of the state. Plenty of main streets in Western PA are dead/dying, particularly in former mill towns where the mill is long gone.

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 a few examples around here to counter this. Sharpsburg is a low-income mill town just outside the city which actually has a very nice functional main street on the western side of the borough. It even kept it despite being right next to a highway. It's got some bars, a tailor, a thrift store, a laundromat, a bank, dry cleaners, two cafes, and a number of other businesses. Some vacancies and predatory businesses as well, but relatively little. And nary a whiff of gentrification (despite oddly having a quick bus into the city and being in one of the top-rated school districts in the state).
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,774,504 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I'll go out on a limb here. There's an overall sense on this forum that main streets should provide "interesting" and "unique" shopping opportunities. There are a few neighborhood main streets in Denver that do just that, have over-priced restaurants (all of which my daughter seems to have been to), odd-ball stores like costume stores open year round, stores my DH calls "trinket shops", etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I'm not sure that's why Main Streets are valued. Main Streets are interesting to me for the built envirnoment they provide not specifically for the type of stores. Speaking for myself, the reason I value Main Streets are:

1) Usually more pedestrians than other spots. They don't feel dead.
2) Historic, or at least interesting architecture and buildings
3) Generally nicer from a pedestrian perspective in the way stores are situation, and have nicer crosswalks.

Perhaps there are other "urbanist" posters with a different view, but at least on this thread there hasn't been posters who are looking unique / boutique style Main Streets. I find it interesting that neighborhood main streets are specifically oriented towards the "unique" stores rather than practical, I've only found that in suburban or small town Main Streets. This Long Island one is a good example:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=north...,57.45,,0,8.46

I like visiting it though, mainly for its harbor setting.
I like "main streets" that reflect the neighborhood.

This is one of the ones near me. I have a couple within a few miles, so I can choose one that fits my mood!
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gr...202531ec25cbe2

Over here has most of the basics: restaurants, book store, coffee shops, post office, banks, doctors, dentists, grocery store. There is also an old theater: Grand Lake Theater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A weekly farmers market too. The only thing not on that street is a drugstore, but the CVS and Walgreens (and Trader Joes) are on the next main street over....about 2 blocks away.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gr...202531ec25cbe2

This one has more chain stores.

My closer "main street" is here. We have a different mix of stuff than the two above, and it is more family oriented. I like to point out the ice cream shop featured in the movie Up.
https://www.google.com/maps/@37.8281...V4-2NfP_jg!2e0

Of course these are more "Affluent" main streets.

But another vibrant area in Oakland is the Fruitvale area, that is mostly working class latino. Still a busy main street, but neighborhood serving too!
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Fr...ad2681b744ed7c

And a middle class street like this one:
https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7998...kkSdFZFVsQ!2e0

Not so picturesque here, but completely functional. This neighborhood has a Safeway, CVS, indie gourmet market, radioshack, old school butcher, a couple of bakeries, dry cleaners, library, post office and all of the other normal neighborhood stuff.

For me, all of these types of main streets are "good." Close in neighborhood serving retail is good.

I also like when newcomers also "respect" the neighborhood as well. In a southeast asian area of Oakland, that is next on the list for gentrification, with a BRT route planned, and good proximity to transit, downtown and BART, this opened a few weeks ago: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oaklan...nt?oid=3848974

It is for the "hipsters" and the people in the neighborhood.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
4,058 posts, read 3,290,212 times
Reputation: 7307
LOL: my small town main streets (only several) are filled with the following, by actual count:

- Four foofy hair salons where men's haircuts are $23 "on special" and up. Women's, I wouldn't know.
- three consignment shops featuring primarily women's fashions
- one upscale men's clothier for the deceptively "casual" modern man, with shirts at $75 and up. Shoes, $300 and up.
- two pretentious Thai restaurants that are mostly about the views, not the Thai
- one cafe that tries to be old-style and traditional, but is expensive and mediocre. Not bad, just not great. I think they'd call the police if someone accidentally spilled a drink on the floor.
- one pseudo Celtic pub. Really it's OK, but smells better than any bar in Ireland I've ever been in.
- several uppity property brokers. That's the really funny part: we're in a total property boom, seller's market. I have no idea why these brokers exist. Very little that is of-quality and properly-priced for the market lasts longer than two weeks, at the moment. That can change, though, and will again someday.
- one Starbucks (mandatory, in this area)

Misc:

- assorted other restaurants far more about ambiance than quality (anything). With one spectacular exception: the best darn Greek restaurant in greater Seattle metro.

And finally, my favorite: in the absolutely best corner location of the whole place, a highly pretentious coffee/pastry joint that is striving hard for an award for "Best darn 21st Century ambiance coffeehaus modeled in-spirit after Vienna's 19th Century version of-same." I wonder if Hitler and his revolutionary pals paid the early 20th Century equivalent of $5/cup for coffee in Vienna, though...?

The whole town is basically Rodeo Drive, north, in other words. Not a saloon, mercantile, ACE Hardware, or feed store within the general vicinity. But it's home, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Hell, I love it though obviously chuckle at the vapidity of it all.

I want genuine ambiance, I can head over the hills to central Washington. I want Wal Mart, it's ten miles up the road. Consumerism and irresistible demand for more and better stuff have inescapably driven small towns into niches and boutiques (like what I describe above). We're watching an inexorable process at work in America, a decline or advance depending mostly on perspective.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,455 posts, read 60,028,050 times
Reputation: 54117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Bear View Post
Malls are a disgusting fact of life.
Malls are just a Main Street with a lid over top where you drive behind the stores instead of in front of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
This Long Island one is a good example:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=north...,57.45,,0,8.46

I like visiting it though, mainly for its harbor setting.
That is cool. I see a hardware store, a beer store, a tea shop, and an ice cream shop all in a row.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,098 posts, read 102,857,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I generally see people I know, in my 3-4 mile radius of home (it has some cross over with my college too, so that adds extra people) or when I travel to SF (since it is a regional draw of course).

But pretty much when I travel to other nearby cities, I never see anyone I know. I can count those experiences on 1-2 hands. For example, 20% of my coworkers live in the town we work. 10% live in the places directly adjacent. 30% live in San Francisco. And the rest of us are scattered in other places more than 10 miles away. Not likely to run into any of them outside of work other than the SF people, and the other Oakland person (who lives in my 3 mile radius).
I think that's pretty much true everywhere, and was true back in the days of downtowns as well. Go to the next town over, and you rarely saw anyone you knew, unless it was someone from your church or whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Don't generalize Southeastern PA across the entirety of the state. Plenty of main streets in Western PA are dead/dying, particularly in former mill towns where the mill is long gone.



I can think of a few examples around here to counter this. Sharpsburg is a low-income mill town just outside the city which actually has a very nice functional main street on the western side of the borough. It even kept it despite being right next to a highway. It's got some bars, a tailor, a thrift store, a laundromat, a bank, dry cleaners, two cafes, and a number of other businesses. Some vacancies and predatory businesses as well, but relatively little. And nary a whiff of gentrification (despite oddly having a quick bus into the city and being in one of the top-rated school districts in the state).
Did you see the pictures I posted of d/t Beaver Falls upthread? Hard to believe it was once *the* place to shop in the upper valley. Downtown Beaver seems to be thriving, but it's the county seat, lots of govt. employees. Mostly restaurants, it looks like. D/T Beaver never was known for "good" shopping.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Be...e4049bc88b2e0b
Where we got our marriage license!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Be...e4049bc88b2e0b

Map: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.6952...xKzScIbH-g!2e0

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 05-08-2014 at 05:28 PM..
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:35 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,682,211 times
Reputation: 1843
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Malls are just a Main Street with a lid over top where you drive behind the stores instead of in front of them.
But without the history or uniqueness that each main street and each building of each main street has, and with a bland McDonaldized design and function. A main street is how you recognize a town. Good luck telling your typical suburban mall apart from one another.

Interesting point though, I have to say. In terms of raw day-to-day function, you're absolutely right.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
8,893 posts, read 7,767,007 times
Reputation: 15395
Main Streets started to die when the shopping centers and then the malls opened in the fringes of towns and cities. Essentially, bring the stores to the neighborhoods where people lived. Then, no more requirement to go downtown to go shopping, to the bank, get gas. Urban planners didn't do this on purpose. It just happened. Our city is trying to revive its downtown. Its dumb. It makes no sense. Why would I want to drive 10 miles when everything I need is within a few miles of my home? This is especially true when the crime rates are higher downtown, and then I will have to figure out where to park my car.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,901 posts, read 7,679,426 times
Reputation: 4518
Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Main Streets started to die when the shopping centers and then the malls opened in the fringes of towns and cities. Essentially, bring the stores to the neighborhoods where people lived. Then, no more requirement to go downtown to go shopping, to the bank, get gas. Urban planners didn't do this on purpose. It just happened. Our city is trying to revive its downtown. Its dumb. It makes no sense. Why would I want to drive 10 miles when everything I need is within a few miles of my home? This is especially true when the crime rates are higher downtown, and then I will have to figure out where to park my car.
Downtowns were built where people lived, too. But then suburban sprawl happened, and suddenly people didn't live near downtown anymore. So, a new "downtown with a lid" was built nearby.

For the last 10-20 years, the renewed interest in urban living and authentic downtowns has generated new energy in many downtowns across the US.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,489 posts, read 11,994,834 times
Reputation: 10581
Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Main Streets started to die when the shopping centers and then the malls opened in the fringes of towns and cities. Essentially, bring the stores to the neighborhoods where people lived. Then, no more requirement to go downtown to go shopping, to the bank, get gas. Urban planners didn't do this on purpose. It just happened.
I half agree with this. Small town shopping districts for the most part had a major strike against them - that very few people usually lived within a reasonable walking distance. They were set up as walkable because in the era they were built out few people had other options. People first took the horse & buggy into town from the outlying areas, then they took streetcars (which existed even in many small towns in the 19th century), then later buses. But once cars became commonplace enough, it was far less of a hassle to drive to an outlying shopping center than to head into town where parking was scarce and stores were smaller. So in the small towns, business districts died more out of benign neglect than anything.

Urban shopping districts should have survived fine in contrast. Even with decreasing urban population density, there were still thousands of people within walking distance. However, mid-century urban planning did actively kill them. For example, downtowns tended to be isolated through "urban renewal." Basically the entire downtown residential population was forced out in many cities, and a "moat" was often made in the surrounding neighborhoods of parking lots and industrial businesses, so that people from the closest residential neighborhoods would need to walk twenty minutes or more to get to the CBD. Outlying secondary commercial areas were often ruined in an effort to compete with shopping malls as well, with similar "seas of parking" separating them from the surrounding area. Urban business districts were thus actively killed in many cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Our city is trying to revive its downtown. Its dumb. It makes no sense. Why would I want to drive 10 miles when everything I need is within a few miles of my home? This is especially true when the crime rates are higher downtown, and then I will have to figure out where to park my car.
Reviving downtown through strictly commercial is a fool's errand in the modern era. If you're going to be serious about a downtown revival, it has to be mixed-use, involving both residential and commercial properties. Residents within walking distance means, for example, you don't have to worry about ample parking if you're a local business, because half (or whatever) of you customer base literally just strolls in. Some walkable main streets can survive in the modern era even with only a few hundred people in walking distance, but these tend to be the exception rather than the rule, and are found in more "touristy" locales.
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