Let's turn Downtown Crossing into a parking lot

The Globe resurrects the idea of reopening Washington Street to traffic as if that would solve all the problems related to the lack of stores - and let's not forget the question of where all those people would park. Hmm, but you could solve the parking problem by turning the Filene's Memorial Hole into a garage, although that would still leave you with no reason for people to drive down there. But maybe if they also shut down the Downtown Crossing and Park Street T stops, we could force people to drive there.

The Outraged Liberal is no fan of the car idea, either:

... Retail. That's what would bring the area back.

That and taking back bad decisions such as building an urban fortress on Washington Street that housed the uninviting and ill-fated Lafayatte Mall and is now home to an Eddie Bauer outlet and taco shop and heaven knows what else. ...

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The claim that rerouting

The claim that rerouting cars would make the area an urban wonderland have been proven false - in Boston, and in other cities. Cars may as well be allowed back through the streets, if only to ease traffic on the surrounding streets. Those cars didn't just go away - they were pushed on to other streets, increasing traffic and aggrevation.

Short of tearing down every building and starting over, the area is never going to return to its former glory. Jordans, Filenes, Gilchrists and the rest are gone, and they aren't coming back. The city residents who fled the cities aren't coming back, and the suburban shopping malls are not closing. Downtown crossing should no more be closed down than any randomly chosen intersection in Manhattan. There has been no benefit, but there has been a price. And wanting things to be otherwise doesn't change facts. Failure doesn't depend upon whether failure is admitted or not - it sits there staring you in the face, rolling its eyes.

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Lack of cars not the problem

he claim that rerouting cars would make the area an urban wonderland have been proven false - in Boston, and in other cities.

There are very few closures of streets downtown for pedestrians. This is one place where it does work, because the sidewalks can never be big enough through this zone at peak times and seasons. If you worked downtown, you would know that - and those pedestrians are buying things, when drivers won't, especially during lunch time and morning and evening rush hour when they flood the streets that are not closed.

That said, the impediment to car traffic in Boston is NOT street closures, as minimal as they are. The impediment to car traffic is that Boston never modernized its street layout like many cities did, and made only minimal changes after each conflagration. Boston failed to do what London, Chicago, and many European cities did when they had a giant fire, and built back on the same narrow lanes and property lines. The medieval street layout of Boston, with narrow lanes and direct spoke-hub set up, is made for people and horses and carts, not cars. No amount of parking garages and streets open to traffic will ever change that.

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If I worked downtown? Just a

If I worked downtown? Just a guess, but I was probably walking those streets before you were born, when the sidewalks were packed with shoppers. Unless you plan on blowing up the city and rebuilding it, the rest of your post is irrelevant. The streets are what they are. Now what do you do with them. Removing cars was tried - it failed.

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I agree

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For many, many years those roads were open to cars & there were lots of shoppers, most of whom I'm willing to bet traveled in town on public transportation. The main reason there were lots of shoppers was that there were lots of places to shop.

Closing the roads to cars didn't save the area, and opening the roads to cars again won't save it. Decent stores might.

But I will admit I loved when they first closed the roads & it was so much easier to walk around the area.

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A store like Wal-Mart, however, certainly won't.

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Given Wal-Mart's long history of really killing off other, independent businesses, especially small family-owned businesses, and their lousy labor pollicies, they're not a trustworty store to have downtown. There was talk about putting a Wal-Mart in Assembly Square at one point, which thankfully met with enough resistance so that it so far didn't materialise...thank heavens.

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Decent stores

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Walmart doesn't make my list of decent stores.

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Exactly, SwirlyGrrl.

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Boston's a walking city, so to speak.

This:

The medieval street layout of Boston, with narrow lanes and direct spoke-hub set up, is made for people and horses and carts, not cars. No amount of parking garages and streets open to traffic will ever change that.

gets precisely to the point. Way to go, SwirlyGrrl!

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Excellent post, NotWhitey.

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Your post says it all.....in a nutshell.

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Dowtown Crossing needs a

Dowtown Crossing needs a radical makeover, it has the charm of a skunk, and it smells like one too.

The one thing I can think of is to invite a place like Goodtimes to relocate into Downtown crossing, and give them a good set of tax breaks to do it. I think that would drive foot traffic into the area.

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We have great retail like

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We have great retail like H&M and DSW there now. Why can't we have more of that?

Do we just need more of a critical mass of good shopping and lunch restaurants, a little spiffing up of the streets and the "dark alley" to the Common, and a PR campaign to tell city residents that it's now all right there on the Red Line?

Are you thinking of Good Time Emporium as a complement to that, or merely as a last resort in face of Downtown Crossing being taken over completely by loitering teenagers and their tribal dramas?

And the developers responsible for that hole should be made to feel extremely, personally motivated to build in it.

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Im thinking the kids already

Im thinking the kids already go there and always will so why not put in something that will benefit from their being around. So the place can live off of these roving bands of teens and then they will be followed by other groups who liked to go to places like Goodtimes. Kids and their parents, college kids, laser tag for office workers after work. That area is void of anyplace that is a fun place to go to after a long days work, or that attracts kids on the weekends. I know people who work right above that area who would hold monthly after work laser tag nights if it was convenient (they have tried to do it, but once you get more then a mile from the office people lose interest.)

Now that you have life coming in and out of a building that doesnt depend on random traffic walking by you can build other stores to cater to the people walking by to get to the entertainment. Thats the problem, you can have the best stores in the world but if I can just go to a mall they will never take off. Fanuel Hall works because of tourism and its between points. Harvard Square works because the Harvard students and employees have to be there, its a tourism stop, and it has the stores. You need good stores but you need something to help push you to that critical mass, thats why most shopping areas have anchor stores. Unfortunatly in our current climate most massive chain stores would rather be in Burlington and Braintree then Boston.

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Is the problem that people

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Is the problem that people who live in the city would rather procure a car and drive out to a mall, than walk/T to Downtown Crossing? Or is it that not enough people live in the city to support a district of nice affordable stores?

Regarding not shutting down in the evening, that would be great, so long as it's generally positive nightlife, and not just creating another sketchy zone of public drunkenness, fights, etc.

If we want to decide that Downtown Crossing shall be cemented as a slum for a couple decades, I think we should just say that. Perhaps something like the following? Macy's, DSW, H&M, etc. will eventually give up and close their Downtown Crossing locations. They'll be replaced by a storefront church, a liquor store, check-cashing, a lottery/convenience store, a pawn shop, a tat parlor, a seedy bar, the food court, boarded-up vacant storefronts, and a hair&nails small business. Tourists will be steered away, if necessary by turning the Freedom Trail into a Freedom Tunnel in parts. And new retail will sprout up elsewhere, perhaps in vacancies on Newbury. Then some developer buys up depressed Downtown Crossing for a song and gentrifies it. It may be that's what some people are thinking, and if so, we should just discuss that in the open.

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I think plenty of people

I think plenty of people live in the city, but they leave town to do their major shopping. Its the same in many other major cities as well. It comes down to what do you do with the space and do you put in what people really want? I think entertainment that is available day/night is really needed in th city, it just doesnt exist.

Macys and all those other stores you mentioned are available in other areas as well, they are common. Sure the office workers stop there on the way home, but its no big deal they can just stop at the mall on the way home too, or on saturday. I think the problem is the area is failing to bring in people who dont happen to work right above the stores.

Bring traffic in and you will get your nifty little stores. All of these funky stores everyone seems to want dont grow in areas with high property values. They grow in areas that are a little seedy and a little "unsafe" but they have a high volumn of foot traffic and are safe enough (too safe and rents go up.) Once the area becomes more well known and "hip" those stores get forced out. So if funky and hip are what were looking for maybe a liquor store and a tat parlor wouldnt be such bad things...

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This is stodgy Boston.

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This is stodgy Boston. Funky and hip can sprout up in the college neighborhoods and depressed areas.

Downtown Crossing is potentially prime real estate, walkable to many other key locations, and right on the Red Line.

I'd like to see Downtown Crossing be a place that's welcoming to a healthy middle class. Boston around there seems too much divided between the wealthy and the poor. The middle class is priced out and scared away.

Also, in my middle class envisioning of Downtown Crossing, there will still be place for the Army/Navy store and such. The economy is not booming, and I don't see upscale and major retailers gobbling up all the space in the near future (oh, if we had such problems). Zoning and a business association could help promote a healthy mix long-term.

This is outside my expertise; just one citizen's perspective.

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Downtown Crossing *is* a college neighborhood

among other things, and it needs to embrace that role instead of resisting it. The expansion of Emerson College and Suffolk University is bringing many students to this area. How about trying to cater to them a bit more?

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They actually have the

They actually have the layout to pull that off. My advice would be to be careful. Cambridge shows both how that can work (Harvard Square, and increasingly Porter/Davis (Somerville mixed in there)) and how it could be a mess (Kendall is just layed out all wrong, its in Cambridge but I swear they zone it like its Burlington.)

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Kendall reflects MIT

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It's common for MIT grad students to basically not leave campus their first year. And that's not because they're enjoying all the fruits of a rich city experience in Kendall. :)

Harvard Sq., Davis, and Central work in different ways from each other, and DTX should be different, still.

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Goodtimes?!

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I think you mean drug traffic, not foot traffic.

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Yup--

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This:

I think you mean drug traffic, not foot traffic.

is exactly my point, Ray.

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"Goodtimes" closed for a reason:

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It became, or had already been a place with a well-deserved reputation for drunken brawls, and I think there were at least one or two stabbings there. They need something like that at Downtown Crossing like an extra hole in the ground.

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Goodtimes closed because

Goodtimes closed because they are putting in an Ikea, which is a much bigger money maker for everyone involved. If Downtown crossing could pull off an Ikea or Target or something Id say go at it, but thats not happening (although Menino has show interest in Target in the past.)

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I can see putting in a Target Store at Downtown Crossing,

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but not an Ikea. People who buy at Ikea rely on the use of their cars, and, if the problem of additional motor vehicular traffic down in Stoughton that's resulted when the Ikea down there was built is any indication, this situation could very well be worse in an already-congested area such as Downtown Crossing. We don't need vehicular traffic down there, which is just what putting an Ikea in Downtown Crossing would (help) generate.

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Good Time Emporium tried to move to Brockton

After they lost their lease in Somerville to Ikea construction, Good Time tried to open a larger establishment in an old Brockton warehouse. The city of Brockton liked the idea, and even changed some zoning to accommodate them, but a bank pulled the financing out from under Good Time at the last minute. Good Time ended up auctioning off every piece of equipment they owned.

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Downtown Crossing = Urban Wasteland

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I was just at Downtown Crossing yesterday. We walked through on our way from Chinatown to South Station (Boston Geography, Master Class?) And it was dead, dead, dead. On a Saturday afternoon. It reminded me of Kalamazoo.

Would allowing driving make people drive through there? No. It's not on the way from anywhere to anywhere. And few people have any reason to go there, ever.

The only thing that could save Downtown Crossing is making it the site of the cheapest parking garage in Boston. That's the only thing that would given people a reason to go there. The parking refugees might end up buying something every once in a while.

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Commerce that is decidedly "Boston"

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Downtown Crossing has lost a lot of its anchor lately. What it could really use is a "draw", a reason to go there. Give tax breaks to small one or two location boutiques that will serve the low to middle income communities.

"Why go to DTX? Because Store XYZ is *only* located at DTX and Store XYZ has great pricing on something I need to go buy." That's what people need to be saying to bring life back to the commerical space. Why do people go to Newbury St? Because most of the shops and restaurants are *only* at those locations and have items people want with the middle-upper class in mind. DTX should be like a tier-down version of Newbury St. With Filene's Basement and a few of the other places, that's what it essentially was. Why do people go to Fanueil Hall? Because much of it is shops, cart vendors, and restaurants that cater to tourists and are *only* located at Fanueil Hall.

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This is a terrible idea.

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This is a terrible idea. Downtown Crossing is far more blighted by speculation gone bad than it is by being a pedmall. Yes, many towns have ripped up their pedmalls that were built in the 60's, but most of them have neither the history, architecture, or infrastructure of Boston.

I just cannot see encouraging more auto traffic downtown. What would do far more would be extra park-and-ride spots around the edge of town, with express trains headed straight into downtown.

I also can't reconcile this with rumors that Gov. Patrick is headed towards implementing a congestion fee for travel into Boston, nor the fact that last I heard we are slated to lose something like 1200 parking spaces from two municipal parking lots that were going to undergo development.

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Yo, Globe: Think Ideas + City Weekly

The Downtown Crossing situation is exactly the kind of civic topic that the Globe could use to make itself more relevant. How about devoting a Sunday op-ed feature to DTX, asking a handful of top city planning and business folks to contribute ideas, soliciting and then publishing the best of public ideas, and asking mayoral candidates for their DTX plans?

I realize that the Globe's financial woes are linked to ad revenues, but its lost significance as a civic institution is due in part to its lack of editorial leadership. If it could harness some of the local expertise and street smarts and apply it to problems of the city, it would be a more relevant paper.

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According to the article the

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According to the article the area is dead at night and cars would add life, and so more people would go there.

Doesnt everything close at 8pm?

You think that perhaps that's the reason?

I wonder if Lansdowne street is lively at night because of the cars...surely there's nothing else that could influence people to be at a place...

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Landsdowne Street is alive because of the ballgames and Avalon's

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True, the baseball season hasn't yet gotten underway, and i won't for awhile, but places such as Avalon's make it a lively place, too, during the better weather. I don't think the cars really have anything to do with it.

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Avalon was demolished?

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Didn't know that. I stand corrected.

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I was down there last night..

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A friend was in from LA last night and he wanted to take a ride downtown to see how much it had changed since we were kids. It took us 8 minutes to go from Avery Street to West Street, due to the limos in front of the Opera House and the people getting out in front of Felt. Also, any given day of the week, when the Silver Line starts to back traffic up on Temple Place, that's not a pretty wait either. Bringing cars back downtown will do nothing but create a traffic nightmare down there, I'm sorry to say. I'd have to agree with the Liberal, what's needed down there is more retail, and none of that high end crap that we all know would fail down there. There were always people that shopped at Jordan's and Filene's, but there were more people that shopped at Gilchrist's, Raymond's, Kresge's, Woolworth's, and the Basement.

The proper combination of low end and high end stores was what made the Crossing a success when I was a kid, even with the cars. Can you imagine what the dreaded Wal-Mart would do in the Crossing? Or IKEA? And the jobs both would bring? Probably enough work to get the punks off of the corner of Wash and Winter. I hate Wal-Mart as much as the next guy, but it could be a positive first step in this case.

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Pedestrians and retail

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There's a big catch to adding more retail to a downtown pedestrian mall, especially for retailers like Ikea or Wal-Mart. How do shoppers get their purchases home? You might not mind carrying a small bag from a boutique store, but lugging around larger purchases on the T is tough.

Big stores won't locate downtown just to provide an entertaining place for people to browse; they need shoppers to actually buy stuff and take it home.

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Wal-Mart?

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No way!! As I mentioned in another post on this subject, Given Wal-Mart's history, they cannot be trusted not to just totally take over an area and just kill off all the other businesses.

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Isn't this kind of a strawman argument?

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Or has WalMart changed its policies and started opening up in downtowns, rather than sucking all the life out of them from the safety of giant parking lots out by an Interstate?

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No, I don't think it's a strawman argument at all, Adam.

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Why should they be trusted, given their history of driving away small and/or independent businesses, or other businesses, period, and their lousy labor policies.

If you think my argument is straw, here are a couple of suggestions:

A) If you've got a DVD player, you might want to see if you can rent a copy of the documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Costs of Low-Pricing". It gives a lot of insight into Wal-Mart's policies and they affects they have overall, and might very well b e of interest.

B) If you can get hold of Bill Quinn's book "How Wal-Mart is Destroying the World and What Can be Done About it", you might find that this book is of interest also.

All told, both the DVD and the book give good, interesting insights as to the destruction that Wal-Mart has wrought in many places. Just saying...

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I'm not disputing WalMart's business practices

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What I am questioning is whether WalMart would even consider opening a store in Downtown Crossing. Unless I'm wrong (and somebody please tell me if I am), they just don't open stores in downtown areas. If they in fact still avoid downtown areas, then there's no reason to start ranting about how evil they are in the context of a discussion about Downtown Crossing, because they won't be opening here and no sane person could argue that the Walmarts in Framingham or Walpole are destroying downtown Boston.

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A Wal-Mart in Downtown Crossing?

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Here's keeping fingers crossed and hoping that day never, ever arrives!

Also, since one or two other posters here on UniversalHub mentioned/suggested that a Wal-Mart be built in Downtown Crossing, I responded to those suggestions with my opinion.

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Not Walmart. Target, however...

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Walmart doesn't do urban; you are correct. But Target does. An urban Target like the one in Minneapolis would be AWESOME in Downtown Crossing. IKEA would similarly kick ass.

There are IKEA express-type stores in other countries (Canada and Germany that I know of off the top of my head) where there's minimal showroom space, stuff like couches and armoires and stuff has to be ordered, but you can buy all the self-serve stuff like linens, lighting, home organization, small-footprint chairs and tables, bookcases, etc. More like a True Value store, only it's IKEA. That would be awesome downtown.

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Urban Target

I've seen them in Minneapolis, Pasadena, etc. They fit right in and have things like groceries and useful office supplies and other stuff useful to office bots and travellers alike. They do tend to be smaller than the suburban ones, which is a good thing. It shows they know how to adapt.

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Yes on Target

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I, too, was thinking of a Target from the start -- a relatively small one like the one near Union Square in Somerville.

That could even coexist with Macy's, I'd think.

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Target would be OK in downtown crossing.

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The only problem I see with having an IKEA in Downtown Crossing, however, is that people who go to IKEA often don't use the subway, but use their cars to bring their merchandise home. The resulting increased motor vehicular traffic and congestion and pollution would not bode well for Downtown Crossing.

A Target would be good, however, because it's not the same kind of store as IKEA.

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Parcel out a larger space

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Parcel out a larger space into a series of small shops, boutiques and the like. Boston is sadly short on any kind of funky culture that has any sort of hipster youth appeal - you've got ghetto fabulous and yuppie, but precious little in between.

If some brave developer would take a chance and open up a space full of consignment shops, cafes, comic shops, music stores (if those still exist), and small retailers in general - that might have a chance of drawing foot traffic downtown with disposable income. Large space, small shops.

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if you can believe it...

stygmata, absolutely! Boston needs more of those places, hopefully concentrated in an area that draws people.

If you can believe it, roughly 15 years ago, Newbury Street had more of those kinds of shops, especially on the end near Mass. Ave. Some funky little shops, a 2nd-hand "nostalgia" store, bookstores, etc.

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True dat. A lot of the urban

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True dat. A lot of the urban villages around the city once thrived on that sort of mix. Harvard Sq still has it some, but has lost some of its character to chain stores. It's what makes Coolidge Corner work. For the bigger buildings, a Target might work--a mix of the fun and practical--but neither a super high-end store, nor a super-low end chain are likely to work.

Lizkdc
http://lizkdc.typepad.com

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Another thing downtown needs

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Stores that sell basic commodities of life, such as groceries, home supplies and the like. I forget where I read it, but there are now something like 6,000 people living downtown, which is kind of an amazing number.

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Word!

Even us office bots could really use a grocery store and some sundry options besides CVS. The area is a sea of CVS, Dunks, and 7-11 and damn little else.

I get really tired of either hauling in lunch on a daily basis or having so few affordable options for lunch. Lunch places typically run $8-10 dollars or more - and that is the cheap option. I can only carry so much with me on the T and take up a decent amount of space with the other things I take along for the ride.

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I think an urban Shaws like

I think an urban Shaws like the one in Back Bay in the same building as an Urban Target would be ideal if someone could make it work.

Heck you could make it a vertical mall and include one of those Ikea mini stores where you can pick stuff out and have it delivered from Ikea Somerville (for the extra fee of course.)

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Oh, god...

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Downtown Crossing needs more cars and a Wal-Mart like a hole in the ground. No way would either these things benefit the Downtown Crossing area. Re-opening Downtown Crossing to vehicular traffic would be a disaster. it's too congested down there, and there's too much foot traffic, which is why they closed it off to vehicular traffic in the first place. Wal-Mart, with its lousy work policies and poor wages, would also be a disaster.

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Bring Cars back to Downtown?? NO WAY!

Saying that shop owners are willing to try just about anything to make their businesses more successful during a recession and opening up the area to traffic is just another thing to try, without even making one point in your article how this would create more business is rediculous. Bromfield is open to traffic all day and it doesn't create more business. Temple, West, Franklin Streets are all open to cars and after working in Downtown Crossing for 20 years I can tell you does NOT create more sales for anyone. It does create more car exaust(pollution), more traffic accidents, more illegal parking, danger for pedestrians and general problems created by the inability to cross the street, clean the streets and help the area. Downtown Crossing is in the state it's in because all of the people involved are on different pages. An UPSCALE outdoor pedestrian mall worked for many many years. I know I was part of it. The city needs to completely block the street so no trucks, ambulances, UPS, garbage trucks can drive through or park. They need to buy nice, stationary kiosks with electricity to be put out on the street and a festive atmosphere must be created and maintained. It must be safe which means the BPD must have zero tolereance for any riff raff which is clearly not the case now. Anyone who thinks these pedestrian landscapes don't work should visit, Fremont St in Vegas, South Beach, Miami, or remember BaySide Market or South Street Seaport? Our own Faneuil Hall would still be a huge destination if not for the economy and poor management. The city spent $250,000 to come up with a branding strategy for the downtown and I all I see to show for it is a picture of lots of people on the side of the empty Filene's building. Come on Mr. Mayor what about the rest of the plan? Outdoor cafe's, constant music, and fixing the broken down pushcart marketplace? Why not spend money on what will make people stop and spend? I understand there is a giant hole in the ground and many empty, vacant stores but until the landlords like Mr. Druker lower rents so unique and interesting retailers can afford to take a risk down there and until the city invests in the people who work there like they invested in the Big Dig, the Charlie Card and other things, nothing will change in downtown. They supposedly spent 100,000 dollars on the Christmas promotions in DTX. I don't see how that much was spent personally but everyone knows the Christmas season lasts two weeks at best for a retailer. What about the other 50 weeks we are open? Until the city of Boston takes a serious interest in fixing Downtown with everyone involved, vendors, store owners, developers, property owners, residents and consumers, NOTHING will change. And opening it up to cars will just make it worse. Much worse.

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Oh, I dunno

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It has a certain "standing on the Common just hollering at random passersby" charm to it this way.

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it's a shame you guys are dismissing content, due to form

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Not everyone's as clever a writer/editor as the highbrow regulars. What I see there is someone who reminds me a lot of the local merchants I used to work with (elsewhere). .. to mock someone who's got potentially valuable information and experience, because you can't take your time to read slowly, well, the whole discussion suffers... and in part that's why the city and country sort of suck right now - critiques of form over substance.

Here it is again, paragraphed for the short-attention-span crowd, and edited for form but not for content:

Saying that shop owners are willing to try just about anything to make their businesses more successful during a recession, such as opening Downtown Crossing to even more traffic, without even one mention in the article about how this would create more business, is ridiculous.

Bromfield is open to traffic all day and it doesn't create more business. Temple, West, Franklin Streets are all already open to cars. After working in Downtown Crossing for 20 years I can tell you the traffic does not create more sales for any business. The traffic does create more car exhaust (pollution), more traffic accidents, more illegal parking, more risks for pedestrians just trying to cross the street, and problems keeping the streets clean.

Downtown Crossing is in the state it's in because all of the people involved are working on private goals rather than working together. An upscale outdoor pedestrian mall worked for many many years. I know this because I was part of it.

The city needs to completely block the street so no trucks, ambulances, delivery vehicles or garbage trucks can drive through or park. They need to buy nice, stationary kiosks with electricity to be put out on the street, and a festive atmosphere must be created and maintained.

The area must be made safe - meaning BPD must have zero tolerance for riff raff - which is clearly not the case now. Anyone who thinks these pedestrian landscapes don't work should visit Fremont St in Vegas, South Beach in Miami. Our own Faneuil Hall would still be a huge destination if not for the economy and poor management.

The city spent $250,000 to come up with a branding strategy for the downtown and I all I see to show for it is a picture of lots of people on the side of the empty Filene's building. What about the rest of the plan? outdoor cafes, music, and fixing the broken down pushcart marketplace? Why not spend money on what will make people stop and spend?

I understand there is a giant hole in the ground and many vacant stores - but until the landlords like Mr. Druker lower rents so that unique and interesting retailers can afford to take a risk down there, and until the city invests in the people who work there, nothing will change in Downtown Crossing.

The city supposedly spent $100,000 for Christmas promotions in DTX alone. I don't see how that much was spent - but everyone knows the Christmas season lasts two weeks at best for a retailer. What about the other 50 weeks we are open?

Until the city of Boston takes a serious interest in fixing Downtown with everyone involved, vendors, store owners, developers, property owners, residents and consumers, NOTHING will change. And opening it up to cars will just make the area worse - much worse.

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I was not 'mocking'

Just making a friendly suggestion. Thanks for breaking it up. I actually agree with much of the message, but it won't help if people don't read it.

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I read the entire thing when

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I read the entire thing when it was originally posted, and found it worthwhile, if difficult to read.

But everyone in the growing online community has to learn the basics of participating. A Lord of the Flies public lynching is not as welcoming as a gently admonishing private message, granted. :)

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okok

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i was too bitchy. Sorry. That's my empathy showing for small business people who aren't experts at every little thing, and who in particular, suffer constantly in dealings with cities because of sincere-but-not-conforming-to-marketing-style communications, and because city officials (everywhere) are much bigger suckers for well-crafted PR phraseology than the general public.

I learned that lesson hard when my alma mater ran a front page story on its PR mailing (going to, dunno, 50K people, and picked up by the student paper and other official media) about a huge national vendor contributing $10,000 worth of gear (costing the vendor perhaps $5,000) to a small department at the school. My own tiny company had just before that donated about twice that much real value in services, cash, and discounts to the school. I asked why they didn't put my company on the front page. Answer: "You didn't send us a press release."

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Anyone who thinks these

Anyone who thinks these pedestrian landscapes don't work should visit Fremont St in Vegas, South Beach in Miami

Bwahahaha!

Stop, your killing me!

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Now hold on...

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I believe strongly that core Boston should emphasize pedestrians more than it does already.

But invoking Vegas or Miami as anything other than a cautionary tale is confusing to me. :)

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it's just another "downtown" for boston

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South Beach has a decent pedestrian area. So does Santa Monica, for that matter... and Denver, and Portland (last time I was there), and lots of other places.

I think it's an error to think of DTX as anything but another core area, like Central Square cambridge, Inman Square, Brookline Center, and so on. The difference is that DTX is all-commercial.

Also, there will be complaints that it's "outside" compared to indoor malls usually found in cold places, or that the outdoor-focused areas are in warm town. I think the density of DTX, and its proximity to so many POTENTIAL centers of interest, means there would be hope for its revival, if only there were some vision and leadership, which are both sadly lacking in Boston.

DTX is more or less directly connected to: Chinatown, Theater District, The Common, Faneuil Hall and is a major transportation hub and one of the easiest places to reach on the T.

It should be a massive crossroads, and I don't mean for taxis, garbage trucks and confused tourists in cars.

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Agreed on DTX. But I think

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Agreed on DTX.

But I think Bostonian general audiences associate "Vegas" and "Miami" with vice, organized crime, and the superficial, which is not what they want for Boston.

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Vega$ and Miami

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Fine then, it can be like one of those new "Lifestyle Centres" that have popped up all over the midwest.

For the uninitiated, these are outdoor shopping malls where people walk from store to store by going outside, and then entering the next store... and then walking to a restaurant in the same outdoor shopping mall area for some food...

.. you know, just like Soho, or, egads, just like what Downtown Crossing was before it began to cave in on itself.

apparently the model is fine. there's an execution problem in Boston due to neglect, lack of vision, and a leadership void.

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lifestyle center

or Wayside Commons in Burlington, which has LL Bean as an anchor store. I'd love to have one of those stores in downtown Boston.

One difference between a lifestyle center and Downtown Crossing: a lifestyle center is completely owned by a single landlord. Downtown Crossing consists of buildings with many separate owners.

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So the solution

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Is to turn Downtown Crossing into a suburban mall?
I think that's about the only thing that could make Downtown Crossing even worse.

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Where did I say that?

But I do think an LL Bean would be a tremendous draw -- and it's a New England local store, too.

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Trader Joe's

I'd love to see one, but they may think it is too close to their Back Bay store.

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Not too close

It is not too close to their other store. I have seen them this close together in Seattle and in San Francisco, and it works because people flock to them to save money on eating out for lunch while at work and the hassles of carrying stuff.

If you think in terms of "not car" and in terms of how many people work within a one kilometer radius of the site, I think it would be viable.

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The thing with LL Bean, though, Ron, is, that,

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from what I recall, they've not been doing well at all, really. If my memory serves me correctly, LL Beans, at one point, offered some 400 employees severence pay if they'd leave voluntarily, rather than issue pink slips to specific people. Not a good sign, imho.

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I didn't mean that literally

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sorry, i certainly did not mean that literally

what i was trying to show was that the (hideous, IMO) "lifestyle centers" that ARE drawing people are just plastic imitations of what DTX really is.

People will go to outdoor places, even if it's in a cold city

With the number of subway and bus crossings there, the city can deliver lots of people to downtown crossing veyr easily. they just need reasons to go there.

DTX and Soho, NYC are good things to compare... think of an AFFORDABLE Soho district...

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Much of what you say are points well taken, ShadyMilkMan.

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However, this:

The city needs to completely block the street so no trucks, ambulances, delivery vehicles or garbage trucks can drive through or park

is something that I take issue with. Here' why: There has to be an allowance for ambulances or other emergency vehicles to enter, in case of some sort of emergency. Delivery trucks, if they're delivering lots and lots of stuff, or stuff that's huge, need easy, immediate access, and garbage trucks have to be able enter easily to pick up their garbage.

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What about having garbage collection between 10pm & 7am,

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and having the deliveries during the early-morning hours?

Emergency vehicles, on the other hand (i. e. ambulance, fire, police), imho, should be allowed access at all hours of the day, for obvious reasons.

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Necessary vehicle access is rare

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Fire needs to get engines and ladders in immediately on rare occasions.

Police with a constant foot/bike presence need cruiser/wagon/etc. access only on rare occasions.

Ambulance needs to get in only on rare occasions, ambulance does not need to get right to the door in the worst case, foot/bike police will be first on the scene and can do some EMT things.

You could even get creative with a regular EMT "foot presence" and camping an ambulance right on the edge of the pedestrian area. Maybe keeping an AED and EMT kit in the police booth or similar. Or have a booth that doubles as a community health satellite center and for keeping EMTs/nurses nearby.

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With an EMT "foot presence",

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suppose a person has a heart-attack or a stroke? Shouldn't the ambulance be right there?

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If an EMT runs up to you in

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If an EMT runs up to you in 30 seconds and an ambulance is en route from where it was idling 2 blocks away, I think that's faster response than you'll get most places.

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That's probably true, neilvandyke, but

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how is it possible for an EMT who's on foot going to be able to carry a heavy de-fibrillator or other stablizing equipment in the event of a heart attack or stroke, for instance? That's why I favor letting a fully-equipped ambulance into the area....because then the patient can be loaded into the ambulance and the stabilization process begun immediately prior to rushing him/her to the closest hospital around.

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Miki, think for a second

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If someone collapses on a pedestrian mall in DTX, they're closer to a street than if, say, they collapse on the 30th floor of an office building. Should we modify office buildings too to allow an ambulance to drive up to the 30th floor? Or does our current method of EMTs running to the person with a stretcher and medic bags seem to be working just fine?

FYI, the type of AED you find in most buildings (the kind on which people are routinely trained in civilian CPR courses) weighs about 5 pounds. Other types can be 10 or 20.

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Holy geez...

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You completely missed the point.

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Do what?

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Hmm, maybe the same way that they would get to the center court at the Mall of America or the top floor of a 4-story walkup to save lives whenever it's necessary...walk and/or run?

There are indoor spaces with bigger footprints than all of Downtown Crossing (including the buildings). You'd be no further from help by EMT if they closed the roads there than a lot of other malls in America.

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1. The ambulance can drive

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1. The ambulance can drive right in. In an emergency.

2. There are AEDs that are easily carried by an individual. If necessary.

You don't need regular car traffic past the front door to have timely ambulance response.

And, by thinking creatively, I think you can get *better* typical EMS response than you would if you were relying on an ambulance somewhere in the area fighting its way through traffic.

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Then you're still missing the point

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In a bazillion emergency responses a year, the ambulance doesn't have any _need_ (and often it has no ability) to drive right in and people are saved just fine every time. Give up on trying to argue that EMTs need a drive-thru window for saving lives at DTX as part of the future plan.

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Thank you for the Criticism.

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I was angry and had 2 minutes before my promise of sledding with the kids would have rang hollow. I will use correct punctuation and paragraphs from now on. I do apologise.

My comparison of Vegas and other places wasn't to suggest we should emulate or copy them it was only to serve as a reminder that right now in those places there are crowds spending money. Having been to FL and Vegas this winter I can attest to that.

Downtown Crossing is an area that non-retailers have been trying to fix since the DNC which they also screwed up royally. The problem is they all have ulterior motives. The Downtown Crossing Partnership which was once called the Association wants to create a BID or Business Improvement District. That will give them power, control and money to do what they wish in DTX. The BRA deals with developers and property owners, the Mayor wants to be re-elected, (we assume) and the people who work, commute through, own businesses, shop and eat there want something else.

The last group count the most but are largely ignored. The retailers are struggling to make a living in a recessionary period next to a huge empty building/hole in the ground. There are very few retailers on the board of the DCA and none with a direct line to the Mayor's office. That's why you see no change and no smart money being pumped into the area.

It's time to get angry and demand a change. This is the center of Boston. It's a diverse area with infinite potential. They need to create a destination where people can gather, feel safe, be entetained, shop, eat and enjoy again and again. Those of us who are there every day know how to do this. Pumping classical music loudly out of the corner mall speakers to scare away kids was only one laughable way they missed the mark. The old ideas are just that, old.

It's too important to just sit and wait for John Hynes to build his building. I hope my paragraphs made it easier for all. Sorry.

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The dead center

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You say in the run-on above that something needs to be done about the riff-raff. Well, right now, "Downtown Crossing" is pretty much synonymous with "riff-raff."

Sure, Downtown Crossing is close to the center of Boston (though geographically it's neither at the center of the downtown peninsula nor at the center of the city itself) but I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone (besides the aforementioned riff-raff) for whom it is the center of Boston in terms of emotional geography. It's the dead center only in the sense that it's dead. It's more like an outpost, an out-of the way place, as in "I think I'll go over to Downtown Crossing and get one of those great Chilean sandwiches." (And of course take it back to somewhere civilized to eat it.)

It's really not a problem one department store more or less is going to fix, or one year is going to fix. It'll get fixed a generation from now, after it falls so far (a la the Kenmore Square of old) that rents come down enough to induce a usage change, and it becomes a cool place to make art in abandoned department stores. And then we'll start complaining about gentrification.

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Riff Raff

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One of the main issues is snobs like the person above focusing on whether DTX is in the center or not.Assuming people go there to buy lunch and eat it somewhere else hasn't really been there.

Chacarero, Falafel King, Sam LaGrassas, Silvertones, Herrera's, Finagles and yes even the corner mall have lines out the door every day.

If the "Riff Raff" scares you, have your lunch under your desk.

I maintain DTX is very fixable and would be if a broad discussion of ideas led to some spending on the part of the city to get people to really stop and spend.

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City spending?

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What kind of spending should the city do, as opposed to what it would be in the best interests of existing businesses to do?

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Where the money should go.

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The City of Boston should do the following:

1. Bring back Summer Stage. Put the stage back in between Macy's and Filene's and have a large free concert every weekend in the summer. Have smaller jazz or Berklee student concerts every Tues or Wed. and advertise them.

2. Buy all new puchcart kiosks and put them in key locations selling pre-approved merchandise so there is an interesting mix. Make the employees wear a hat, shirt, uniform or something to let people know every kiosk is part of the same market.

3. Create an outdoor food court with food from around the world. All clean food vendors with unique differing food or even satellite locations for local restaurants.

4. Uniformed police and security present and taking away anything deemed illegal.

5. Cover up the Filene's mess with a larger fence. Make it so you can't easily see the hole in the ground and REALLY wrap the building with Art and colorful signage. Make it look fun. The whole thing not just the bottom.

6. At night and at dusk light the place up and have night time events in conjunction with stores, bars and restaurants.

7. Make it easy on a web site/ talk boards to get input from the people of the city.

8. Lower the rents until the empty stores are filled. If not paint them and put more Art or kiosks in front of them. No more unpainted eyesores like Barnes and Noble.

9. Constant activity, events, sales, art, music, food and color.

10. Major ongoing promotions in the papers, on the radio and on TV.

11. One last one which may not be possible but would help. Run the freedom through DTX instead of down School St and add a few of the historic landmarks to the trail that are in DTX. There are many.

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Lower the rents

That's really the key to fixing the problem, and it's not something the city of Boston can do directly, since it doesn't own the commercial property. But the city needs to push the landlords into doing the right thing and getting the spaces occupied.

I'll add one more:

12. Make it a true pedestrian mall except during late nights and early mornings. Deliveries should take place only between 11 pm and 7 am. Ditto for garbage collection. Taxis should not intrude into the pedestrian mall. Neither should police cars -- this area should be patrolled on foot or bicycle.

This would allow restaurants to set up outdoor tables, theatres to set up outdoor stages, and so on.

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Most all those things are

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Most all those things are within the power of local businesses to do.

We want businesses who are willing to invest a little. This needs to be a cooperation, not handouts.

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ummmmm

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I've been the president of a downtown business association concerned about heading off similar problems (but in a small town, and also dealing with the arrival of a mall and a Walmart, and the Internet, and other table-tipping events)...

You're missing that (a) the merchants are first of all caught up in trying to survive day to day, and (b) no merchant has the authority to cause any of those things to happen. Merchants don't own the streets, can't move cops out of cars and onto their feet, can't do lots of things. They need a lot more help than the city is giving them.

This is not about handouts. This is about the city paying attention to the merchants and LISTENING, and then doing something constructive.

The problem is made much worse by the overlapping interests, most of them with way more money and influence than the merchants. The problem is made unimaginably bad by the city's absolute inability to do ANYTHING constructive with anything it touches, without spending way too much money or just screwing it the hell up before it even has a chance.

Don't even blame the merchants. They're stuck in a world that's falling down around them. They can't just "rise up and take over" no matter how appealing that might sound in the cartoony, abstract sense.

None of the 12 things is obviously "within the power of local businesses" without buy-in and leadership from the city, cooperation of property owners who don't seem to give a damn, and clear mandate from a substantial number of the worth-keeping merchants and other residential businesses (nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do given the disparities of scale at work in that district, not to mention the meddling of the BRA whose only interest seems to be political manipulation and empowerment of the hack-o-matics that run it (sic, I intended that Howie Carr word)).

The City of Boston could make it happen, but doesn't understand that the district is going to need an influx of the right kind of energy, and TIME, to sort itself out. So far they've had a bunch of stupid band-aid solutions, individual events that spin up/happen/go away, a lot of marketing spew, and nothing else... that's not nearly enough and it's been largely a waste of energy and time.

I was fortunate that in the small downtown where I took on a leadership role, we were able to sit down frequently with city representatives and have real, substantive discussions. The more we did that, and the more both sides stuck to their side of the bargain, the better things got. We were also helped in the upward spiral because a couple of the larger shop owners (and property owners) "got it" and knew that strengthening the district was good for their interests, too.

That kind of essential cooperation - crossing different scales wealth and influence - is clearly missing in Boston... a shame, considering the city itself was founded by ordinary-scale businesspeople.

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You obviously get it, so where is your merchants' association?

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You're making all the right points and have obviously studied the situation...

so where is the merchants' association?

I think it also has to be acknowledged that there are a number of shops in DTX that should not be there because their operators aren't running them in a way that enhances the district, and some are probably actively pulling it down. I won't pretend to know which ones, but some are obvious... others maybe not so much.

It's also always the case that there are many freeloaders - merchants that count on everyone else to take care of making things better, then they just skate along enjoying the benefits. There isn't a lot to be done about these bozos, except that there are so many shops in DTX that it should be entirely possible to reach a critical mass of membership without them. (BTW they are economically rational -- expending zero energy while capturing a net gain is a real score... unless, through their non-participation, things just go completely to pieces).

Finally, I have never been a big fan of "events" - particularly those at night - as builders. They are fine once things are clearly stable and on the upswing, but until then, DTX (and other recovering areas) are just too vulnerable to wild mood swings. Not only is the environment not really stable enough, but "events" are quite expensive to pull together, promote, and operate successfully... not to mention that they are short-lived and may teach people that DTX is just a place to "go to a free event, then go home."

I encourage you to not focus so much on one-off events, but to think about lower-grade, lower-risk, long-term activities that bring the changes you hope for (and the people you need). Not that my work was particularly awesome, but I did succeed in changing marketing efforts away from sales and holiday-based promotions, and toward early-evening events involving one to two dozen shops working together, during times when people were likely to be in town and looking for something to do (that is, NOT around holidays, but there are more days that are not holidays than are, so we had lots of opportunities)... weekday evenings during spring, for example...

good lord, there is no shortage of activity to draw people toward DTX, but beyond a single theater they're going to see, or a single restaurant, there's also nothing to keep them there.

Bottom line, the city's going to have to step up to try to get some destination merchants in there (of all sizes) if the place is going to survive. To do that, it's going go have to twist the arms of some landlords, and create some affordable, habitable spaces for those merchants. Reaching back to the original discussion, opening the roads to cars has nothing to do with any of this. It's a dumb idea piled on a bunch of other failed, uninformed efforts in DTX.

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I disagree on the events, it

I disagree on the events, it shows people that the area in question is alive, and brings people to the area. One of Downtowns problems is that it is currently only half way decent at doing one thing, getting people lunch and coffee. I never think about going to Downtown unless I have to, and even then I find myself clawing my way back to the Common or Quincy Market.

Events arent the be all end all but they do help to drag people back into the mix.

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Events are hard to run and suck up a LOT of resources

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I'm not saying there oughtn't be events, but all too often "events" become the sole focus.. and because they are so needful of cash and time and energy (both in planning and execution) that they suck up all available time and energy, leaving nothing for work on sustainable activities

Events must be used sparsely, as exclamation points are used as points of sharp focus in the midst of steady, consistent paragraphs of prose.

I don't think there are any examples of Events!!! fixing anything by themselves! But! If they're allowed to become the focus, as they often do, then failure is the consistent outcome (and there are many!) examples of this in economic development!!!!

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Total snob deficit!

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You have correctly identified one of the main issues: snobs like me. We don't go to Downtown Crossing unless we want a sandwich or are on our way to South Station from Chinatown. We call it Downtown Crossing because we have to cross it to get from one nice place to another nice place.

And that is a huge problem! It leads to a snob deficit!

Until you fix your snob deficit problem, Downtown Crossing will continue to crumble into its hole. You know why? Your beloved riff raff have no money. That's why they're riff raff. Snobs? Snobs are the people you would like to be spending their snob money. But we keep walking past that weird dead area between the Common and the Financial District, between Chinatown and South Station. We're only there long enough to catch the Orange Line to JP.

Jeebus. First we have The Problem With America is People Who Demand Paragraphs. Now we have The Problem with Downtown Crossing is People Who Are Precise About Geography. Fine, fine. You guys just make your fort as small as you want, with just enough room for those who don't care about paragraphs to canoodle with those who don't care about geography.

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I actually was in complete

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I actually was in complete agreement with you Mr. snob until the last immature, meaningless paragraph.

For many years Downtown Crossing was very busy and very lucrative. Just a gew years ago actually. To see some good ideas about what might help attract more spenders (not snobs) read back the posts above. Zbert spoke eloquently and made my point much better than I. Thank you.

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I totally have a split personality

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But I like myself just the same.

The problem with Zbert & Craig's plans is that they rely on taxpayer money to fund what they think is a good party. Hey, can I get free money to have my party, too?

Downtown Crossing is in decline. It's in decline for very good reasons. It's irrelevant. It's dying for the same reason all the department stores are dying. We don't need a department store district anymore. Let it die. Sometimes a neighborhood needs to die so it can be reborn anew of its own accord. Zbert & Craig want to keep its withered, braindead, riff-raff-ridden carcass on life support indefinitely. I think that's a waste. Rather than throwing our money into the grave after it, we should let it die and get repurposed and find itself again, like so many other Boston neighborhoods have.

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no disassemble dtx

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DTX doesn't have to die. There's some good stuff there right now. Add some restaurants and some additional good stores. Make the plaza (sidewalk/street) more welcoming in an affordable way (NO cars, some green, benches and planters in the street which BFD can get past, etc.). Smackdown on whoever thinks they can leave that big hole there.

As for teens who act like they're in a third-world country ruled by tribal warlords and roving gangs... give them somewhere else to go (skate park?), and hound whoever tries to conduct thug drama in DTX.

Teens normally surrounded by thug drama might appreciate more places to go where that isn't tolerated. And DTX should have some public spots where a mix of teens and families/adults can hang out without having to spend money constantly. Maybe fix up that one corner so it's welcoming to stop and sit a while, with benches and planters, and not as much pedestrian thru-traffic. Eventually, add a warm-fuzzy community center.

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So how are you going to save it?

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DTX is both a transportation crossroads, and an area of essential fabric that ties together much of Boston's core: the Common, South Station district, Theater District, Chinatown, Gov Ctr/Faneuil Hall, parts of the Back Bay and South End...

The city can't tolerate an area of absolute rot and decay at its core.. because it will spread as surely as the longstanding problems in Chinatown have spilled into DTX.

The alternative might be a succession of tall, closed-off private office buildings. But these need occupants, and create streets that are quite dangerous at night.. i don't think that's desirable.

So, what is it? If it can't be saved as a business district despite hte huge numbers of tourists and residents who pass through and go there every day, then what?

Personally, I wish some version of Haymarket could be around that area... it's much easier to get to than the area it's in now... some cities have indoor, heated, haymarket-equivalents that are open three or four days a week, even... I always liked being able to buy berries from the stand next to Filene's, when there was a Filene's and a stand next to it...

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Lambert's Marketplace

That fruit stand was called Lambert's, and they've now moved to an indoor location nearby, at 140 Tremont Street. They don't have a functioning web site, but here's their Yelp page.

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I'm not going to save it

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I don't think it needs saved. I don't think there's anything there but the decaying memory of yesteryear that we need to let go. Go ahead and huff nostalgia out of a paper bag as long as you want, but that delirium is caused by brain cells dying.

Much of what people once went to Downtown Crossing for is either stuff that very few people really want anymore (department stores) or stuff that people can now get in other neighborhoods. When Downtown Crossing was in its heyday, many of the more popular shopping neighborhoods in Boston were nothing like they are today. There is absolutely no good reason to try to force Downtown Crossing back to what it once was.

And FWIW I believe that the city can tolerate an area of absolute rot and decay near its core. Most cities do so or have done so for decades. In Boston, many of the most rotted and decayed areas later became prosperous commercial neighborhoods. (And of course people cried about it).

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Sounds like a great plan

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it's no plan and you're just taunting me, right? please just come out and say it.

Run some numbers on the cost of maintaining the area as it fades into ruin. I think you'd be surprised, if you're honest about it. The cost to keep it going is easily less than the cost of letting it decay to nothing, because the effort put in (if it's done right and to date it has not been done right) get a FREE multiple of that amount as merchants and customers merely go about the things they'd do anyway.

There's a hole there that reaches to China and you're suggesting bulldozing the rest into it? That's a head-shaker, for sure.

I'm out of this discussion with you. It's clearly pointless if you're willing to just trash chunks of a city in the hope that some day they will become untrashed.

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Thinking of the whole city

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If what you're used to working with is some podunk ex-industrial burg with a single downtown area, then yes, you do have to focus all resources on 'rescuing' that area. In terms of an entire city, however, it really doesn't matter much if one neighborhood is blighted. It's a natural part of the life cycle of a city. Just as a tree dies and falls in the forest, a neighborhood decays before it finds a new use.

If you keep propping it up, you don't really increase revenue to the city as a whole - you just pull it from other parts of the city, paying extra for a dollar the city was getting anyway. Be sure to take that into account in your calculations.

Boston doesn't need a Department Store District. To the extent it does, it has Copley. The reasons Downtown Crossing is failing include the fact that other neighborhoods are thriving; the people who used to shop at Downtown Crossing are now shopping elsewhere in Boston. Waging a zero-sum war against other neighborhoods doesn't help the city as a whole.

I'm saying we don't need a plan. Let it decay and once it stops being overpriced a new use will develop. It's got to decay for rents to come down enough to attract new uses. Cheap restaurants and non-luxury housing can't open where they have to pay prime rents.

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I'm sure there's some truth

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I'm sure there's some truth to what you say, but DTX could also be sweeping up money that would otherwise be spent in suburban malls, through E-commerce sites, etc.

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Just got back from Japan

One thing that I liked a lot in the area we visited (Kansai) was the fact that many towns had covered downtown arcades -- with lots of little shops. These didn't keep out all weather (still could be windy), but did protect from rain (and blazing sunlight in summer, I would guess). Very fun to visit -- and seemed to get lots of foot traffic (usually these were near bus and train/subway hubs).

Not sure if this would work here, though. (And why on earth do we buiild _uncovered_ arcades hwer in Boston -- like alongside City Hall Plaza).

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Lamberts

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Lamberts is actually back on the same corner they used to be. They are right against the Filene's building at the corner of Summer and Washington.

Letting DTX die? What does that mean exactly? Abandon the area and wait for someone to rebuild as if that will happen. DTX began it's decline when Filene's, The Basement, Barnes and Noble closed none of which had anything to do with abandoning the area. The economy and poor management by the DCP helped lead it to where it is today. It is easily fixable.

If you're worried about you so called tax dollars paying for the big fix up ask why the city hired an outside firm and paid them $250,000 to come up with a rebranding strategy that remains unused and unfunded. They are already spending your tax dollars. This is an urban environment most of which is public property. It's the city of Boston's responsibility to keep it clean, safe and active.

Unless you want to write a personal check that is.

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Dont get me started on that

Dont get me started on that uncovered arcade, it doesnt do anything. It doesnt stop, rain, snow, wind, sun, debris and so on. Why build a structure that looks like a roof if its not a roof?

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uncovered arcades

I am often situated under these things selling paintings at fairs or what-have-you. I think they're actually meant for something viney to grow on. Like grapes. Instead they've become urban infill.

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