Friday, February 23, 2007

Wal-Mart, Lincoln Propose Small Changes to Northcross Plan

According to Thursday's Statesman, Wal-Mart and Lincoln Property Company have proposed several changes to the contentious Northcross Mall Supercenter plan in response to neighborhood concerns. The proposed changes include:
  • Closing the store from 1-5am
  • Cutting 6,000 square feet from the store
  • Not having gas or automotive services on the property
  • More sidewalks, landscaping and lighting
  • Requiring trucks to use the U.S. 183 to Burnet Road route when making deliveries
  • Adding a turn lane at Burnet and Anderson
  • Adding a turn lane on Northcross Drive
  • No RV parking
Although I’m still no fan of Wal-Mart for lots of reasons not related to the Northcross redevelopment, these changes are baby steps in the right direction. I'm in favor of keeping trucks off Ohlen Rd. (a residential arterial with bike routes) and I think keeping the store open 24 hours would be a considerable drag on police in the area. On the downside, cutting a measly 6,000 feet from the store's footprint does nothing and I'm not sure an extra turn lane is going to mitigate gridlock at Burnet and Anderson, which is already pretty bad at peak times.

Not surprisingly, Responsible Growth for Northcross is nonplussed by these changes, which is sort of ironic since it is unlikely that any of them would be happening without their vocal opposition. I hope RG4N keeps up the pressure. While their “No Wal-Mart” stance may not carry the day, it continues to push the middle ground in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

I live just off Ohlen, between 183 and Burnet. Those trucks have no business on that road. Unless the city lays down the law and makes it unacceptable for trucks to cut through that way, they'll still do it , regardless of Walmart's "policy".

Mike said...

"gridlock at Burnet and Anderson, which is already pretty bad at peak times."

Dude. Not even close. Burnet/Anderson is practically rural compared to other center-city major arterial intersections.

And as for RG4N being the "bad cop"; opinions differ. I (not to mention the neighborhood association reps who actually negotiated this admittedly small set of changes) think RG4N allowed the city to throw up their hands and say "we can't do anything here beyond suggestions, folks, we're about to get sued by these maniacs". It's the new talking point, but like most of their other talking points, it's not exactly true. Just partly truthy.

Greg said...

Anonymous, if you live just off Ohlen between Burnet and 183, we’re
practically neighbors. I’d be very glad to see a law against through trucks on Ohlen – especially if the city actually bothered to enforce it.

Mike, I didn’t mean to insinuate that Burnet/Anderson is like 6th and Lamar, but I’ve been driving through the former almost every weekday for over 10 years and traffic has gotten appreciably worse at peak times. Given that this happened with Northcross being nearly moribund, I think it is well within reason to be very concerned about the impact of extra trips generated by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Mike said...

"already pretty bad at peak times" is the phrase I was responding to. It's not bad at all, unless your standards are very strict. At some point, though, you have to lose this whole "bbbbut the traffic" philosophy unless you want to stay suburban (with inherent lack of scalability) forever. 6th/Lamar is bad for cars today but it's still thriving - we wouldn't have built it at all if the standard was "can't make car traffic appreciably worse".

And Northcross has been moribund for 10 years or so - which means that, yes, traffic's been increasing due to other businesses during that time; but we're still probably not up to the point where it was 20 years ago when the mall was full of stores and people drove in from the far-out burbs to shop there.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I live just behind the Burnet Middle School football field. Only thing louder than the train is the damn rugby practices at night. ;)

Anonymous said...

Shut up Mike, M1ek, you don't even live in the area! To some extent I'd love for them to put up that Northcross WalMart cause then you'd have nothing to do with your day except look for a job or if you have actually aork at it instead of trolling blogs on the topic of Northcross WalMart. You're a bore.