Downtown Retail

Quote of the week, buried in the Post-Gazette:
Responding to New York architect and developer Stan Eckstut's observation that Downtown Pittsburgh has too much public open space for a healthy retail environment, electrical engineer Alan R. Huffman of Pine writes: "The greatest damage to the retail environment in Downtown Pittsburgh has been done, in my opinion, by continuing to construct large office buildings with no first-floor retail space. I worked Downtown for many years and watched this take place along Liberty Avenue and around the PPG building as well as many other locations. Many street-front retail and hospitality locations were wiped out by this construction. It's a trend that probably dates at least back to the Gateway redevelopment."

Straight to the truth. Paging Jane Jacobs!


3 Responses to "Downtown Retail"

Jeff said... 2/02/2006 5:54 PM

Building a zillion office parks in every Pittsburgh suburb didn't help either.

Parking is free and people can live where they work.

Maybe a "downtown" isn't really that vital the modern city.

Peter said... 2/03/2006 10:42 AM

I disagree. The counterexample is to visit any nearby city (Toronto, say) that does have a vital downtown area.

If I were to pick any one factor, I'd say it is simply this: no one lives in downtown Pittsburgh. It is, for all intents and purposes, not possible to live in downtown Pittsburgh.

Since this won't be fixed any time soon, downtown will continue to decay, zombie-like, for the foreseeable future.


Amos_thePokerCat said... 2/07/2006 10:43 PM

Peter, I think you miss Jeff's obvious point. Parking "dawn tawn" is very expensive, and inconvenient. This is partially because of the topography, i.e. 3 rivers. I would never concider a job downtown solely because of that.

PS. I would rather be wounded by a large caliber handgun that take public transit. All the people wearing aluminum foil hats feel compelled to talk to me. Ya, go figure.

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