Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Development

Eyes on the Street: The Gateway Center Pedestrian Maul

gateway1.jpg

When it opened its doors this spring, the Gateway Center mall was plugged as a boon to the South Bronx. So invested was the Bloomberg administration -- along with city taxpayers, thanks to subsidies granted by the NYC Economic Development Corporation -- that the mayor himself participated in the grand opening of the center's Home Depot store.

In modeling the sprawling complex on the typical suburban big box slum, developer Related Companies seems to have made a tactical error. From a Times piece featuring Related honcho Glenn Goldstein:

Mr. Goldstein said that Related originally expected about 40 percent ofthe mall’s customers to arrive by public transportation, but so far amajority of customers had been traveling this way. Livery cab serviceis available for shoppers who make bulky purchases, and some stores,like Best Buy and Home Depot, provide delivery for a fee.

Who would have thought that a shopping center served by subway lines and city buses would attract so many transit-riding customers? Not Goldstein and company, whose 2,800 parking spots are proving to this point to be a lot of wasted space (likely in part because parking isn't free). Unfortunately, Related went all in with its auto-driven design by making entrance points unwelcoming to shoppers arriving on foot, as shown in these Streetsblog photo pool contributions from Jacob-uptown. Imagine how many more people would walk here if they had actually made this a walkable environment.

Today, in a Times feature story on the Bloomberg administration’s development policies, former planning commissioner Ron Shiffman said the mayor has “failed to steer” the city’s most recent building boom. The real estate cycle may be cratering now, but eventually it will swing back up. When it does, will New York be ready to steer investment toward walkable development that matches the sustainability and transportation goals of PlaNYC? Or will we get swamped by even more Gateway Centers?

More pics, with commentary from the photographer, after the jump.

4053871037_9b8460f59e.jpg"The walkway is pitiful. Barely wide enough for two people standing still, much less walking past each other. It's sad how much space is dedicated to the horribly underused car entrance and how little space is given to pedestrians."
4054614812_def58b1c85.jpg"Ped route to the big box stores through the parking garage."
4053874479_97fea66a1a.jpg"The awful mall actually has some nice wide sidewalks, perfect for vendors, street performers and all sorts of activity. Too bad they're under a highway."

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Ten-Year-Old Fatally Struck By Driver Near South Williamsburg Playground

The 62-year-old driver struck and killed the youngster at the intersection of Wallabout Street and Wythe Avenue.

April 16, 2024

Car Crashes by City Workers Cost Taxpayers $180M in Payouts Last Year: Report

A record number of victims of crashes involving city employees in city-owned cars filed claims in fiscal year 2023 — and settlements with victims have jumped 23 percent, a new report shows.

April 16, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Biking with a Dutchman Edition

You really get a fresh perspective on city cycling when you do it with someone from Holland. Plus other news.

April 16, 2024

City Urges Judge to Toss Anti-Open Streets Lawsuit

The city's not responsible for 24-7 car access to every street, officials argued.

April 16, 2024

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024
See all posts