Today’s Headlines

  • NYT: States Must Bust Sprawl, Improve Transit
  • Weak Demand Sends Oil Below $90/Barrel; Gas Prices Follow (NYT, Post)
  • Fordham Road Merchants Blame Select Bus Service for Decline in Business (News)
  • What Makes a Street Neighborly in New Haven? (NYT)
  • Families Mourn Stephanie Dees and Ann Sullivan (Post)
  • Graphing the Link Between Car Dependence and Obesity (No Impact Man)
  • Solution for Bus Crowding in Manhattan: Through-Running (Cap’n Transit)
  • 2nd Ave Sagas Asks NYCT Chief Howard Roberts About Subway Cleanliness
  • Traffic Ensnarled by Bottles Left Outside Lincoln Tunnel (Post)
  • CUNY Demos ‘Green’ Cars and Trucks (News)
  • vnm

    I’m surprised that merchants would complain of lost business would close because of parking restrictions associated with Select Bus Service. BRT ought to help businesses along its corridor because of the flood of people who can arrive via a high-occupancy bus service. My tendency is to suspect that such complaints are just knee-jerk anti-change sentiment brought on by the fear of the new. But a comment like the following is cause for concern:

    Already, six stores between Cambreleng and Bathgate Aves. have closed, said Community Board 6 District Manager Ivine Galarza.

    “This once-vibrant commercial strip is beginning to look like a ghost town,” she said.

    If stores are actually going out of business, that’s a much different situation than speculating and grousing.

    The Bx12 stops just two blocks east of Cambreleng Avenue, at Southern Boulevard. So, what kind of businesses are the ones along this strip that are suffering? Are they impossible to walk to? Are they car dealerships or service stations? If the stop at Southern Boulevard is too far away, maybe they should move the stop closer to the affected area. Why not have a stop at Arthur Avenue?

  • Timmy

    It’s not the bus service it’s just the crappy economy. See this article in the NYDN. Small businesses are just getting crushed because people aren’t spending anywhere near what they were spending.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/10/06/2008-10-06_businesses_along_brooklyns_main_thorough-2.html

  • I share your concern, Eric, but a quick trip down that stretch of Fordham Road in Google Street View will show you the once-vibrant businesses: car rental, car insurance, auto parts stores, drive-through White Castle and Commerce Bank. Most of them seem to have plenty of off-street parking. Maybe it was the high gas prices, and people driving less, that drove those businesses under?

    Yeah, I’m thinking someone doesn’t want to confront the fundamental unsustainability of their business model.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Like it was easy to park on Fordham Road before?

    Rents on that street are astronomical. Landlords may have to accept a little less for a business to be viable given the economy, and might have to rent to a different type of store, but I doubt we’ll see a “ghost town.” In fact, the shortage of storefront space makes it difficult for new businesses to open.

  • Streetsman

    A commercial strip goes from “once vibrant” to “ghost town” in 90 days because people have to park around the corner? I find that very hard to believe.

    Definitely educational to look at Street View. Calling that section of East Fordham Road “once vibrant” is a bit of a stretch. There is low foot traffic, ugly storefronts, and poor diversity of industry – no apparel or footwear, no department stores or discount stores, no produce or supermarkets, very little foodservice. I mean I didn’t even see cell phones or jewelry, and that is typically low-end stuff. There are building supply stores – that is the bottom of the barrel. If you ask me, this strip was hanging on by a thread. Not surprising that with a rise in gas prices and drop in consumer spending as the mortgage market collapses, some businesses would begin to fail too.

    Here’s an inventory of some of the stores in that 6-block stretch:

    AutoZone
    Strauss Auto Parts
    Audio Max car stereos
    White Castle drive-thru
    Rent-a-car
    Exotic car audio and alarms
    Insurance (car, home, etc.)
    Auto insurance
    Spirit Insurance (car, home, etc.)
    Alan’s Carpet supply
    Imperial Carpet supply
    Shell gas station
    Midas auto service center
    Exxon gas station
    Fordham Auto Mall used cars
    Hand Car Wash
    Commerce Bank drive-thru
    Tuff City building supplies
    Nationwide Insurance (home, auto, etc.)
    DCAP Insurance (home, auto, etc.)

    Are these 20 of the two dozen merchants that rallied at city hall? Could high fuel costs or a crash in the home mortgage market have anything to do with the decrease in business for these stores? Let’s not rush to judgment and blame the improved bus service.

  • mike

    Wow, that list is crazy — if anything, politicians should be more up in arms that this retail area is based too heavily on automobiles, a mode of transport with a dubious future.

  • Streetsman

    If those merchants think that tough times are restricted to streets where bus rapid transit has been implemented, they should read this article:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/10/06/2008-10-06_businesses_along_brooklyns_main_thorough-2.html