St. Albans WV: Welcome Back Motorists!
The battle to shape the urban landscape continues, with plenty of planners considering cars machina non gratis. Despite the automotive demonization, some cities have realized that pedestrianization sacrifices commerce on the altar of political correctness. Providence, Rhode Island and other urban centers have learned that lesson the hard way. Add St. Albans, West Virginia to the list. The Sunday Gazette-Mail reports that the town is about to re-open the pedestrianized city center to four-wheeled travelers, hoping to recapture lost biz from the suburban malls. The move is in sync with former New York City urban planner Alexander Garvin theories, as found in The American City, What Works, What Doesn't. "Well-conceived, privately managed shopping centers manipulate the flow of customers from their point of arrival to their destinations. For the most part, cities are unable to do this because they neither own the properties that abut the public streets nor determine who will lease them. In short, "pedestrianization cannot attract a market where none exists."
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