4/17/2009

S. Transit Rezoning Debate.

Posted by MJ

A rework of a post over on the LUSJ Forums pertaining to the debate on rezoning S. Transit.

"the cost is the sacrifice of good housing stock and neighborhoods." - I do not agree.

I think the biggest fear of the zoning change stem from current anti-urban developments such as Autozone, Lockport Plaza, Rite Aid, etc. Massive parking lots over the whole property and up to the street blighting them and the properties abutting them. Being on a busy commuter street is not a plus for single residential or high quility buisness development.

Look at Elmwood Ave in Buffalo. A vibrant mix of business and residential. A lot of the businesses are in old homes and some then built out to the street. This is the goal of this zoning change. The streets that run parallel to Elmwood are in high demand because people see the investment and are lured to an interesting active people-centric area with unique older homes. Elmwood even "survives" with only 2 lanes in each direction, street side parking and no turning lanes. It is actually the taming of traffic that adds to it. It makes you go slow and take in the shops and activity around you.

The 4 lane stripping with no street parking currently on S Transit is a waste. It promotes a pass thru culture that is only good for writing speeding tickets. I'll create a separate post on this.

The idea here is sound. Business uses like the 245 Snow Board shop are wonderful reuses that make for a quaint mixed use street (Street front entrance would be nice). I have not read the proposal and no proposal is ever perfect. Fears need to be answered by legislating urban development along this stretch with monetary incentives to go mixed use. Strip malls and street side parking lots need to be outright prohibited.

If businesses do grow along here there is a subset of people that would love to live in such an area with multiple amenities and life outside their front door. Others would prefer a street or two over, still in walking distance but a bit "quieter". People who want to race through can use the Rt 93 by-pass. It's what it is there for.There needs to be some long term plans for "reclaiming" the section from Gaffney to Willow which is gorge of asphalt. The rest of the street still has nice building stock to create a great bridge between the auto-centric town and Main St. I'm surprised how many mature trees still exist along this stetch forming a semi-canopy in the summer. A plan is needed in addition to the zoning to provide a bridge to future growth instead of a long slide of disinvestment.

I am one street over from S. Transit and would welcome a slower street of smaller shops to walk over to and enjoy. It's what makes urban living so great. I do not want anymore suburban layout drug stores and auto parts stores with endless parking lots greeting me the whole walk. If they really really want to be on the street make them build up to the street/corner, etc. It is done elsewhere in this country. We just accept the base model of developments around here in the name of any "progress". Let's not be so desperate. ;)

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