By the end of the week, the state parks department wants the transit district's Cherriots buses to leave the site in front of the Capitol. Cherriots was talking with state officials on Wednesday in hopes of extending the deadline into next week, which would provide more time to get the Cottage Street NE location ready.On the surface this is hugely disappointing.
The Jane Jacobs reading has been on hiatus, and perhaps this is a good time to start is up again. Citing the Washington, DC, architect Elbert Peets, she notes:
What is happening is this: the government capital is turning away from the city...From the Chicago Fair of 1893 came the architectural ideology that sees a city as a monumental court of honor sharply set off from a profane and jumbled area of "concessions"...There is no evidence, in this procedure, of feeling for the city as an organism, a matrix that is worthy of its monuments and friendly with them...The loss is social as well as esthetic...Working with Cherriots to enliven an otherwise dead zone in the the city, a zone constituted by a single purpose, and promptly emptying at 5pm daily, the Capital Mall could have enjoyed two strong uses and developed some of the life it so desperately misses.
This is a sad insistence on what Jacobs calls the "Great Blight of Dullness."
Parks should love the ways that the relocated transit mall gives people an actual reason to enjoy the mall park. As it is, apart from the fountain and the glories of the springtime cherry blossoms, the mall remains isolated and empty of real reasons to visit or use it. It lacks amenities, cafes, things that would send pulses of people to it at different times throughout the day. Here is vitality and diversity! What's wrong with that?