|An auto dealership in an urban environment in Manhattan|
By the time I got down to 11th Avenue I realized I had been walking past a large auto dealership. Sure enough, a look at signage told me this Mercedes dealership was taking up a substantial part of the block.
|New York-style dealerships|
It seems developers - at least those who are not in Charlotte - are perfectly capable of designing auto dealerships, even facilities housing several dealerships - that sit right on a sidewalk along a city street, and do not require vast surface parking lots designed with the elegance of a Walmart superstore.
Back home in Charlotte, of course, the City Council just unanimously OK'd a rezoning to allow a vast expanse of auto mall asphalt within the quarter-mile walk zone of a to-be-built light rail station. (See "Don't derail transit areas with an auto mall," and "University City auto mall rezoning complete.")
This was after the appointed planning commission recommended it, and after the city planning department recommended it. Those decisions remain a bafflement to me. None of it matches the city's stated goals for its transit station areas. While in New York, I mentioned this transit-station-area rezoning vote to a former city planning director from another state who now teaches planning at a large state university. His jaw dropped. He was incredulous.
The said thing is, as these photos show, there are creative ways to have both auto dealerships and a pedestrian environment. I'm left to conclude that our local folks may just be too provincial to know better.