Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Strip Mall on High Ridge a Good Idea?

Uh, isn't that obviously a bad idea? Some dudes want to build a strip mall just across from Town Fair Tire- you know, just north of the Turn of River stop light (the light by Kit's and Dunkin Donuts). If you've ever sat in the 5pm traffic that starts right at that stoplight, you may be a little PO'd that this new set of stores would necessitate another stoplight right at Town Fair. Yes, a city engineer recommended another stoplight to deal with the traffic that would need to turn into the stores. Can you imagine the gridlock on Fridays before holidays? I've seen traffic back up 1/2 mile or more.

I wonder what stores are interested in the proposed mall. I understand that something needs to go into that lot (right now it's just a vacant office building), but I just don't know if an already congested intersection is the right place to put something that will draw a lot more cars.

I do know that we need more shopping downtown, not up near the Merritt. We need to drive less in Stamford. We need to be able to park our cars somewhere where we can eat, shop and chill out for a few hours before getting back in the car. There is nowhere to do this in Stamford except the mall. Bedford St. has food, but only two stores of interest to me: glass and chocolate. (OK, and liquor and bridesmaid dresses.)

Last weekend, I suggested to my husband that we stroll around Stamford. "Stroll where?" he asked. "Bedford St.!" I answered. I wanted to eat outdoors at Capriccio, then walk around and enjoy the weather and pop my head into a few stores. However, my husband declared he had no interest in glass and chocolate. Instead, I drove to Target, then the gym, then Westport to shop. I did not get to enjoy any outdoor time in Stamford.

I reaaaaaaaaaaaaally think they should make Bedford St. more pedestrian friendly, even if only on weekends. Pedestrians need things like clothes, toys and knick-knacks to look at. Instead, we're talking about more shopping far from the center of town.

Oddly, the Advocate article ends by suggesting there is no opposition to this project:
...controversy over the development has died down since last month's public hearing, when many Turn of River Road residents who live behind the property expressed concerns over possible traffic and noise. They subsequently met with representatives of the developers.
By Monday, the handful of residents who showed up at the hearing seemed relatively satisfied. "I arranged the meetings on the first and the second," Turn of River resident Joseph Gabriele told the board. "They came through on everything."
A few still had reservations. "The road is fairly stressed now," said George Shepherd, who also worried about the new traffic light. The redevelopment of 969 High Ridge has been in the works for more than three years.
I think we should be worried about that traffic light. Do you agree, or am I being a paranoid development-phobe?

13 comments:

TheBrat said...

Totally a bad idea. The old Tower store has been empty for how long now? Who exactly do they think is going to populate this strip mall when they can't fill the empty spaces that are already there?

Hopefully the traffic study wasn't done by the same person who thinks that the Ridgeway Shopping Center flows fine thanks to the garage.

Anonymous said...

Good economy to be building....the Stamford Mall traffic is down big and will continue to decline if that is any indication.

Anonymous said...

I vote for a trader joe's at tower records. and put the entrace in the back so people park out back.

as for more strip malls, only if it involves a proper pub.

Jonathan "JR" said...

I don't understand why Borders didn't move into the empty Tower space. They could open DVD and music sections like the stores in Norwalk and Fairfield.

Stamford Talk said...

But if the entrance is in the back, you'd have to use that tiny road that veers off by Kit's- there would be so many people in that (non-existent, currently) turn lane. You wouldn't need a new light if you routed people to the back, but the traffic volume would be crazy. I think an awesome store like Trader Joe's is exactly what that strip mall doesn't need. It should have something little, like a dry cleaners, that won't draw a large crowd, don't you think?
JR I actually don't think Tower is big enough for Borders- that downstairs area is pretty tiny.
(What the- for some reason, when publishing this comment, Blogger is not showing me as signed in to my google acct, which I TOTALLY am, and then it's showing a blank line where the letters in "type the letters" are supposed to be. Is anyone else having probs? I blame Blogger. They're annoying sometimes. Oh, and then when I hit post comment, the comment area goes blank. &#%*@#)

gms said...

What the...!!

Just what me need, more dicey turnoffs on High Ridge, Stamford's homage to Southern California.

Why are all the best big box stores in Norwalk, for cryin' out loud???

gms said...

What the...!!

Just what me need, more dicey turnoffs on High Ridge, Stamford's homage to Southern California.

Why are all the best big box stores in Norwalk, for cryin' out loud???

Greg said...

I walked over to Target yesterday, and maybe it is because I've been traveling so much lately, but my God I couldn't help but notice that there are a lot of empty storefronts on Bedford. It's turning into a pretty depressing walk. Then I picked up dinner at Republic Grill at what should have been the busiest time of the day, and there was literally no one there.

As an aside, I recently picked up the classic "The Death and Life of Great American Cities"...it's a very good read and you can certainly apply much of the book to Stamford.

J from CT said...

I'm trying to figure out where this is. If it's across from Town Fair, is that where the Subway recently opened? Near a vitamin shop?

Jonathan "JR" said...

J from CT: I think it's a black-windowed building surrounded by trees.

Chris said...

ST, i can't believe you have the nerve to mention glass and chocolate, and totally ignore the best part of Bedford Street: stuffed squirrel figurines!

They should definitely close Bedford to cars. It could be like Church Street in Burlington, VT.

J from CT said...

Thanks, JR. I believe I know the one you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

Any addition of traffic lights and cross walks on High Ridge Road is a good idea. The traffic is a result of people who do not live here - and are getting onto the Merritt Parkway.

It's not that bad on Vine and High Ridge Road. I made the left on Cedar Heights to get home for many many years.

Let the commuters go on Long Ridge Road!