Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Parking Lots

The worst treated pedestrians in the world may be those who have just stepped out of their cars on their way to shop.

I have come to this conclusion while considering the proposal to build a pedestrian bridge across Route 9 connecting the to-be-developed Chestnut Hill Square and its across-the-street neighbor, the Mall at Chestnut Hill. The bridge dumps pedestrians at the far edge of the parking lot. From there, the walkers-over-from-Chestnut-Hill-Square join the just-parked-at-the-Mall folks to negotiate the vast expanse of tarmac.

Why aren't there sidewalks in parking lots? Every two rows of spots should have a sidewalk between them. You get out of your car, walk to the front (of the car), and walk along the sidewalk to the building. Out of traffic.

Ideally, the sidewalk would continue across driving lanes as a raised sidewalk. But, that's not a requirement.

Okay, I know the answer. Four feet of sidewalk for every two rows of cars would seriously reduce the number of spots in a lot. Tough to argue that you want to make it better for parking lot users by providing more space for them as pedestrians at the expense of space for them as drivers. A transportation/land use policy conundrum.

No such conundrum with regards to the proposed pedestrian bridge across Route 9. I have my doubts about the value of the bridge. But, if a bridge there will be, there must be a protected sidewalk from the end of the bridge, across the parking lot to the front door of the Mall at Chestnut Hill.

It would be ideal if the sidewalk across the parking lot were shaded with photovoltaic cells like they are about to do in the parking lots at Google's headquarters.

1 comment:

Chuck T said...

Yes! I've been saying this for years! Parking lots are great for cars, but lousy for people. Developers, of course, have no incentive to help pedestrians get to the stores since their main goal is to cram as many spaces onto the land to satisfy zoning regs.

So if no one dies, no one seems to care. But I'm constantly worried about my kids, even when they're holding my hand. Ever try to control an angry toddler with packages in your arms? Not an easy thing.

Though, one of the strip malls in Natick has a few sidewalks, and I rarely see people using them.