October 9, 2006

Lowe’s Framingham - First Impressions

I'm going to go back soon to take a more in-depth look at the new Lowe's on Rte. 30 in Framingham. But after a quick glance from nearby Target, it looks a bit better from a pedestrian standpoint than I'd feared although not as good as I'd hoped.

Pluses: There appears to be an actual pedestrian walkway from the Rte. 30 sidewalk to the store - making it the only one of the four major retailers clustered there (Target, Stop & Shop and BJ's being the others) that bothered to design a way for walkers to get to the building. It also looks like there's  a landscaped, albeit narrow, walking path from Lowe's to Stop & Shop behind it. I haven't tried walking the sidewalk in front of the building yet to see whether the landscaping makes an effective screen for walkers or if it looks like all the other pedestrian-offputing big box stores in the area. Disclaimer: I'm still not exactly sure where all the parking is.

Minuses: There seems to be no way to walk to Lowe's from the Target right next door without feeling frightened at the rivers of traffic you'd need to dash across. I also see no improvement in the Rte. 30 sidewalk where it crosses the wide intersection that dumps traffic out of the Target/BJ's/Stop & Shop parking lots and cut-through. Something should have been designed there to allow the sidewalk to function without the extreme discomfort walkers have there now just continuing down the street, even if they're not trying to cross Rte. 30 (a truly alarming prospect with the current design). I'm also not convinced that there's enough parking for the store. It would have made much more sense if planners had thought ahead to have all the buildings there sited close to the street with well -landscaped and -protected walkways between them, and clustered parking that would have made it easier and more logical for someone to park in one spot and patronize all the other stores easily on foot.

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