Sidewalk Superintendent Series: Downtown Crossing

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(An irregular series where your loyal correspondent provides urban planning and architectural advice, despite having no actual qualifications to do so.)

Mayor Menino’s recent trip through Downtown Crossing brought lots of attention. The Globe correspondent who accompanied him noted that he skipped much of the actual Downtown Crossing. And Globe columnist Adrian Walker chipped in with more critical comments:

A burrito shop just opened in the shadow of upscale new condos on Province Street, and the city believes this is a mark of success.

The development of the space has been much discussed — whether to let cars back in or not; what will replace Filene’s; and whether the area is safe, just to name a few topics.

I’m not sure about the return of vehicles, but I think we’ve got the worst of both worlds right now. It is by no means a true pedestrian mall and it lacks the ‘sense of activity’ that vehicles might bring. Rather, it’s more of a commercial parking lot with delivery trucks, contractors and public agency vehicles (particularly at lunchtime) in abundance. Take a look at my two pictures below, between the vehicles, the signage that blocks your visibility down the street, and the snow banks, does that say pedestrian mall to you?