January 14, 2005

Natick Mall Expansion Plan Endangers Pedestrians

OK, so it's not just me (and Dick Miller), when we concluded that the Natick Mall expansion plan focused solely on auto traffic to the point of creating a hostile pedestrian environment (see earlier post).

"The latest Natick Mall expansion plan would endanger pedestrians and lead to more traffic headaches, the owner of two mall stores and others told the Planning Board Wednesday," the MetroWest Daily News reports (emphasis mine). "[T]he new phase 1 ... would force shoppers outside to travel between what for a time would be two separate malls. "

"We have a lot of pedestrian/vehicular conflict," said town landscape consultant Steve Cosmos, according to the article.

Pedestrian/vehicle conflict? That makes it sound like an argument. In fact it's a pedestrian-hostile design, which appears to have been created by developers that have given no regard to the needs or desires of pedestrians.

At a time when all important community retail trends are focusing on walkable, pedestrian-friendly "lifestyle centers," this is a major error on many levels -- safety, aesthetics, quality of life, and more.

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