Comment 32465

By jason (registered) | Posted July 22, 2009 at 09:41:15

great piece Darren. I gather from your various postings on RTH that you live near James North. If I may ask, where is this former suburban area that you used to live?

I had an interesting experience last night. We took the family to the Starlite Drive In and my wife and kids wanted to stop at the Bulk Barn on the way. Living downtown of course there is no bulk barn nearby, so I checked their website and saw a location on Mud St a couple of minutes from the theatre.

This Mud St locale was in a new big box complex, but it was much different than other big box centres I've seen. I sat in the car while my wife ran into the store and observed people coming and going. There were a ton of people on bikes, walking dogs, young kids walking to the movie store etc.... There was more pedestrian activity in 10 minutes at this box complex than the Meadowlands would see in a year.

I realized a couple of reasons for this:

  1. There was a large residential neighbourhood adjacent to this complex with easy access off of a side street (in other words, Mud St could be completely avoided by folks walking or cycling to this complex).
  2. The complex was smaller, narrower and had buildings very close together compared to most box centres. And the entire thing was connected by sidewalks. I saw people go from Shoppers to Blockbuster to the Bulk Barn on foot, comfortably and safely.

While I would never live in that area, it was nice to see an improvement on the typical sprawl/box store configuration. Kids being able to walk or ride their bike to the convenience store is such a lost art these days.

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