13.4.11

Planning Blunder #7: Lake Street K-Mart Explained!



Check out Alex's write-up of what happened over at the corner of Lake and Nicollet back in the 70s. The Lake Street K-Mart was our most popular nomination for the worst planning move in Twin Cities' history, and his explanation of how and why it came to be will blow your mind, man.


[This is what Nicollet and Lake was supposed to look like.]

5 comments:

Katie said...

Are you freaking kidding me? The Lake Street K-Mart is a lifesaver to people too poor to do anything BUT walk, bike, and bus aroud the "sidewalks" you want people walking, biking, and bussing around.

I once heard a staffer for the Minneapolis farmer's market defend its produce wholesalers by saying, "We're the only greengrocer in our area. If you [e.g. critics from outside the neighborhood] can go to your neighborhood grocery store and conveniently buy a decent banana or kiwi when you want one, why shouldn't someone in our neighborhood be able to buy a decent banana or kiwi when they want one?

If people who have the cars that enable them to choose not to take the bus, bike, or walk can use those cars to get out to the suburbs and save money by using a bix-box...

...why shouldn't people too poor to do anything but bus, bike, & walk get to have a K-mart or two scattered around their neighborhoods so they can access it (in the ways you glorify in this blog)?

Yeesh. Sometimes, it's really hard to be a sidewalk-lover, and try to come here out of a shared interest, but then read your constant classist criticisms of the urban presence of businesses only poor people rely on.

Katie said...

I'm sorry, I was grouchy and shouldn't have written while in a bad mood. This was a rude comment. I'd like to apologize.

Bill Lindeke said...

no apologies necessary. the problem w/ the lake st kmart is not about having a store in a poor neighborhood, but about the urban design features: 1) it sits where a street should be, 2) surrounded by a giant parking lot, 3) one story building = waste of potential urban space, 4) general critique of auto-dependency and sprawl, etc.

i DO have a problem w/ big box stores, but that is a more complex argument having to do with local ownership and globalization than anything else, and its a lot harder to find solutions for that, esp. if people are struggling to get by in the first place.

so, yeah, nothing wrong with having access to stores. but if you're gonna have a K-mart at a major corner in a city, you should put it right up on the street, maybe make it a two+ story mixed-use building if possible, and don't put it smack dab in the path of one of the main streets in the city (nicollet) which was for some reason dismembered at both ends (not connecting at Washington Ave & Lake Street).

This K-mart has long been the #1 most obvious 70s planning mistake for city officials, and just because i'll be happy to see the wrecking ball greet its walls doesn't mean i don't want retail choice for those living in Phillips...

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