You may remember an article I posted more than a year about new plans for an Aldi store in Irondequoit on Hudson Ave. At that time I suggested the building should front the street/sidewalk, instead of being set back behind the parking lot. I thought the result would have been a development that would be more accessible to people who might choose to walk in off the street.
My suggestion was met with all kinds of wisdom from the project architect who has since set me straight. I now understand why it is better community planning to put your buildings in the middle of parking lots…
For the people of Rochester who are currently facing a similar Aldi proposal in North Winton Village I want to share some of these lessons I learned from the Aldi project in Irondequoit.
First, as Steve Cleason of APD Architects explains here putting the building at the sidewalk does not improve pedestrian access. In “reality” making the parking lot as convenient as possible does. Cleason points out that “downtown areas” always clear out space to improve access to parking lots so this must be true. 1965 called and it says you need “numerous amounts of parking or retail cannot thrive.”
Second, big parking lots create views of open space and help improve line-of-sight for drivers so they can see the creek and wooded area behind the store. Because while we’re waiting at the light on our way from Aldi to the Wegmans across the street, that bit of green space will be a nice stress reliever.
And another nice side effect of moving all the buildings out of the way of the parking lot, is that now, all of the people who park there will shop at Aldi and then want to walk to all of the other establishments in the area. Looking at the aerial view in his presentation, this seems completely likely.
It’s important to keep in mind, that any new development need only be walkable if there are already pedestrians there currently. I mean why waste you’re time worrying about “foot traffic” if you’re building on an underdeveloped lot or a green field? That would be ridiculous, especially in a town of only 50,000.
And finally, as you can see pedestrian access can be achieved simply by placing crosswalks and a bike rack in the middle of the parking lot. Throw in a few benches and you’ve created a nice “public gathering space” for the community.
*Pedestrian access excludes December – March.
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Tags: Aldi, Aldi's, APD Architects, APD Architects and Engineers, Blossom Road, development plans, Hudson Avenue, Irondequoit, North Winton Village, pedestrian safety, planning, Steve Cleason, urban development, urban planning, Winton Road
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 5th, 2015 at 12:03 am and is filed under Architecture, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.