Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sheldon Brown

As reported in the TAB this week, Sheldon Brown died this week.

Sheldon lived and worked in Newton. But, his cycling web site and his participation on cycling forums made him influential far beyond our city's borders. Here's a post that captures Sheldon nicely.

An excerpt:

There's little danger that cyclists will forget Sheldon Brown. I doubt that there's any cyclist who hasn't consulted his site, or who doesn't still. And as the architect of the cycling canon he's done more for cycling than any pro cyclist, or critical mass, or white bike, or orange bike ever has. No matter what you ride, how you ride, how long you ride, or how long you've been riding, you're a fan of Sheldon Brown.

The cycling community has lost a vital figure.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What's up at the Mall?

Neighbor Adam makes a great observation about the Mall at Chestnut Hill: in the recent renovations, they took out the staircase. (The children of NS&S lament the related loss of the "penny fountain.")

It's not a good sign that there's no way to self-propel oneself from one floor to the next (unless you go outside). Escalators. Elevators. But, no stairs.

Speaking of the MaCH, on a recent visit, I noticed a bunch of empty store fronts. I only hope that means a change of tenants and not a shortage of tenants. I'm not a big fan of the MaCH, but a healthy mall is better for the city.

But, I'm not sanguine. The economy's going downhill and new stores are opening at the Natick Collection. I'm not sure that a super-regional mall in Newton is going to survive, even if anchored by the apparently wildly successful Bloomingdales store.

What does that mean? Expect that Simon (the MaCH owners) to propose a Planned Multi-Use Development (like what New England Development is proposing right across the street). They wouldn't have to tear down the mall, they could build the housing around it.

It also makes me wonder about the viability of Chestnut Hill Square. Make no mistake, with the right kind of changes, Chestnut Hill Square is a lot better than most of the alternatives. But, will it make sense to build a new mall across from a struggling mall in a recession?