Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Free Parking and One-Way Grid Highlighted as Reasons for Business Closure

Bittersweet Boutique cites transportation issues in closure
The piece in the paper today about the closure of Bittersweet Boutique was sad. It's never a good thing to read about a business closing.

But the piece was also interesting because of how prominently transportation figured. Owners cited ways that free, unlimited parking harmed their business, and ways that people don't like the one-way grid.

They also highlight clustering: Clusters of competitors make it easier to for people to plan focused shopping trips. You can also walk between businesses that are clustered, and there are interesting things on the sidewalk between destinations. 

This is anecdote, of course, not data - and of course it's subject to our own confirmation bias here - but it is interesting that these elements external to a business model or plan are highlighted.

The solution to Salem's downtown is not MOAR PARKING. Hollowing out downtown for more surface lots or parking garages will only exacerbate the problem. Cars are just a delivery system, and a pernicious one at that.

The solution to Salem's downtown will involve better delivery systems, better sidewalk environments, and some equation of more people and fewer cars.

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