Let Walgreens build it, and we will drive there
To the Editor:
I am a 40-year resident of Eastwood, where my husband and I have raised our three children. We live approximately a block and a half from the site of the proposed Walgreens drug store.
I write in support of the Walgreens' proposal to locate a drug store on James Street and to take issue with two parts of the Eastwood Design Guidelines that Walgreens' opponents cite as a reason for their objections to the project.
Those guidelines are that a building must have windows and an entrance on the James Street walkway. Those guidelines appear to characterize James Street as a place where Eastwood residents frequently take a stroll.
The James Street business district is the service area of our community. Most of us never walk to James Street. And we definitely don't stroll down James Street and look in the windows. We drive our cars to the service on James that we need.
We drive to the library, to the post office, to our banks. We drive to church, to our dentist, to our insurance agent, to our hair salons. We drive to our lawyer, to the dry cleaner, and, of course, to the gas station. We drive to Wilson Farms when we run out of milk and to Dunkin Donuts for the staff of life. We drive to our beloved Palace Theater, to breakfast at Steak & Sundae and lastly to our undertakers. All of these services are located on James Street and we drive to them - my guess would be 90 percent of the time.
We do not stroll down James Street to look in the windows of these service providers. Nor do we take a walk to look in the windows of the retail establishments.
The people of Eastwood take evening strolls, walk their dogs and push their baby strollers on neighborhood streets and the beautiful trails in Sunnycrest Park.
The guidelines requiring that a building must have a door and windows on James Street are ridiculous to me. The Eastwood Guidelines should be applied on a case-by-case basis, and never be so restrictive as to limit the introduction of any business to our James Street corridor that will fit its character and better serve our residents.
I believe that Walgreens will do that, and I ask the Planning Board to grant Walgreens the opportunity to become part of our Eastwood community.
Well Joan. Lets review something. James Street runs centrally along the Eastwood area, and actually does provide services that neighborhood residents need. Many residents live one to two blocks off of James St, and you are proposing development that encourages residents to drive this ridiculously short distance instead of walking? This is a chief reason that our nation is so dependent on foreign sources of cheap oil. Walking encourages improved health. It encourages a sense of community, as residents care more what condition their neighborhood and sidewalks are - you tend to notice more and want a more aesthetically pleasing look when you are walking rather than wisking by briefly in your car. It also encourages support of local businesses and their owners and employees, who may just be your neighbor.
Those in the planning committees are trying to fight blight and sprawl that has cheapened a once vibrant area of the city. Looking forward, it will be important to address issues of walkability as the increased price of gas will begin to push more residents to have to [gasp] walk to get a half gallon of milk at the Wilson Farms. The suburbs and exurbs will be left to the rich that can afford frequent trips out of the house and frequent gas fill ups. The "mature" suburbs that ring the city center will become more enticing as many begin to realize the importance of community and convenience that a walkable community offers.
We do not stroll down James Street to look in the windows of these service providers. Nor do we take a walk to look in the windows of the retail establishments.This is a shame. Many businesses depend on walk-in traffic for additional revenue. I encourage those in the area to walk along James St. and to visit shops and stores that you haven't before because you've been driving down the street in your car. Support local businesses, reduce your use of gasoline, and improve your health by walking.
Remember this the next time you need a gallon of milk.