More Cars, More Drugs, More Cars, More Drugs…
UPDATE 4:30pm: The number of parking spaces is likely a typo. TC’s planning department has 68 spaces requested by CVS. The Ticker reported 98. Still, 68 spaces is almost double the minimum and still ridiculous.
Yesterday, Traverse City’s The Ticker reported on the proposed CVS/Pharmacy planned for the northeast corner of Front St. and Division. The store developer has made purchase agreements on the properties almost all the way to Maple St. They are good for just under a year. Development in this intersection is needed, that is obvious. How that development fits into future vision of Traverse City is a concern though. What could be an opportunity to change the character of West Front corridor into a more dense, walkable and pleasant area, will likely be lost as the City has little on the books to influence a company known for its suburban style development and that prefers not to provide neighborhood style streetscape.
The store is planned to open in November 2012 with a 13,000 square foot floor, a drive-thru and a parking lot large enough for nearly 100 vehicles. It’s unclear to me that the City has much ability to direct the design despite the vision of residents for this corridor to be a walkable connection between Slabtown/Kidscreek neighborhoods and Downtown.
Currently, a drive-thru is not allowed. The City also requires that an entrance face the street on the sidewalk and that the parking lot, which will run for about a 1/3rd of the block along Front St., be placed in the back of the store, be landscaped and have at minimum 34 parking spaces. We have nothing on the books, that I’m aware of, that could limit the parking lot size. CVS is now planning for
98 68 lovely spaces.
So, in all likelihood, the City will get another car centric development with a very large, and my guess typically empty, surface parking lot to look at and to kick skateboarders out of. Yippee! Not to mention, with this purchase, the chances of a roundabout at this intersection are now all but gone. I could be wrong on all of this and the design may turnout to fulfill all of our dreams–the pattern isn’t promising though–and if that is a possibility, and a reader knows how to support the effort, please, let us know.
I couldn’t help but think of another article I read lately by Annie Lowrey on Slate titled “Your Commute Is Killing You: Long commutes cause obesity, neck pain, loneliness, divorce, stress, and insomnia.” It makes sense that a pharmacy, and one built to perpetuate driving, is going in on one of our worst intersections. There have been many times that I’ve been at that intersection and wished for some drugs. Perhaps they could provide an order ahead service and instead of a drive-thru, CVS could send a runner out to people waiting at the light and breathing in toxic fumes.
Lowery’s piece ends with: “People who say, “My commute is killing me!” are not exaggerators. They are realists.”
I’d add, other people’s commutes are also killing me.
Show me the drugs!
(We will try to keep people abreast of the situation. In the near future, we will also be dedicating a week of posts to the fascinating, but all-consuming, world of parking. It really dominates and influences so much of our public space, even when it’s private.)
- If Your Commute Lasts More Than 45 Minutes, You Will Probably Get Divorced (businessinsider.com)
- Commuting Is Killing You (lewrockwell.com)