Here we have a community business center with a lot residences around. What a great chance to have an appealing, walkable neighborhood! Framingham Centre has the added attraction of actually having several blocks of shops up at the sidewalk -- already making a more walkable streetscape -- with only some of the buildings (foolishly) set back from the sidewalk surrounded by a sea of asphalt.
So, while I was running an errand in Framingham Centre at lunchtime, I took a walk behind the business district to River's Edge Greenhouse today on Auburn Street (parallel to Rte. 9). There are a number of three-story apartment buildings back there, including the Sovereign Apartments. And no sidewalk between most of the apartments and the local shops!
ARGH! What a missed opportunity! The few apartment buildings that are actually facing some businesses look at an unattractive side building with a parking lot in front. Most of the apartments are screened off from the business area, with no pedestrian cut-through and no sidewalk for people to use the Auburn Street back road to walk to the stores.
Imagine how nice it would be for those apartment dwellers to have a safe and appealing walking environment from their buildings to the local stores. And imagine how much better it would be for local businesses. Because once those residents get in their cars, they're much more likely to drive right by the locally owned shops to head to a big-box chain store.