Part Two of a Three Part Series – By Donald Powers, AIA, LEED AP, CNU
Note: This piece is written about Main Street in East Greenwich, RI, however we believe that many of the general issues and recommendations discussed in this series can be applied to main streets everywhere
In the first part of this series, I looked at our little section of the Post Road through the lens of my understanding of what makes a successful retail street. Though our Main Street has great “bones,” we have failed to create a memorable place that attracts visitors – a.k.a. patrons of retail businesses in the context of a successful Main Street. And if we are talking about attracting retail patrons, we must address parking which is the focus of Part 2 of this series.
Despite Main Street’s virtues, we residents and many store owners lament the problems inherent on Main Street. “There is no parking.” “The stores sizes don’t work for today’s ‘credit’ tenants like The Gap or Banana Republic.” For the moment, let’s leave aside the fact that, if the demographics were there (ie: sufficient number of pedestrians), the Gap and Banana Republic would – and do– find ways to make ANY location work, big or small, parking or not – the moon would have an Old Navy if the “demo” was there. In any event, focusing first on solving these problems would be to do more harm than good…and in any event would be hopeless. Main Street can’t beat Route 2 at its own game of making a heaven on earth for the automobile, and it shouldn’t try.