Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Mall Trek

Personally, I try to avoid malls whenever possible. The artificially created "town center" has never appealed to me, and that's putting it mildly. Granted, when I first moved to Albany as a freshman at the University at Albany I got my first Albany job at Crossgates. It was there that I learned just how many people flock to the mall to shop. And while I try to avoid taking trips to the mall, sometimes, living here, I've just got to bite the bullet and do it. There aren't many other options.

I learned a couple of weeks ago when I read this letter to the editor that the CDTA bus does not go into the Colonie Center mall parking lot anymore. This is outrageous and dangerous. I'm glad people are speaking up about it, including this person in today's paper. Of course, the bus doesn't go into the "Northway Mall" (is it still called that?) / Target parking lot across the street either -- and I don't think it has since they took down Northway Mall and put in the current big box shopping center structure there. The truth is there are many places designed for consumers where the bus just doesn't go directly.

I was doing a bit of research and found this article that I missed over the winter about RPI students focusing on solving real world problems... the kids had some good ideas. I'd like to see more focus on getting low income and working class people around safely and efficiently-- from home to work to school to the grocery store to the mall.

And... what about car sharing? Here's a marketing industry article about it too. When I first heard about this a few years ago, I thought, "Eureka!" I don't want to own a car, but once or twice a month, I'd like to be able to use one for a few hours and do some shopping. I've written to a few of the companies asking them to come here -- haven't heard back from them yet. This would be great for me... and how about some innovation in non-profit/ human services organizations to make car sharing available for those low to moderate income earners who also need to get around the region?

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