Maybe City Planners Should Think With Their Stomachs
Mall area needs a helping of fast food and ice cream
Don't get me wrong. I love Westfield SouthPark mall. Target is my second home. Kohl's is my first. But I can't help noticing a gaping hole in the retail landscape of restaurants and stores, superstores and super-duper-stores that has come to define the Interstate 71 area -- fast food.
I know, I know, that stuff will kill you, and drive-thrus are considered a blight on the community. But really, haven't you ever been running errands in that part of town and wanted to swing by to grab some lunch for yourself or pick up dinner for the kids? Someplace cheap, where you don't have to get out of the car? I used to run up to the mall area for a little lunchtime shopping and return to the office without any actual lunch because there was just nothing convenient on the way.
Pearl Road, which was developed first, got its clutches on all the good fast-food places, with nary a golden arch to be found in Strongsville's outlying regions. Some years back, there was a plan to build a McDonald's at Bennett's Corners, but nearby residents protested, and the project ended up in the deep fryer. A victory for the neighborhood, but secretly disappointing for some of us who wouldn't have minded an occasional drive-by for a salad or maybe a hot fudge sundae.
On that topic, there's a sad dearth of ice cream around the mall, too. There again, to Pearl Road went the spoils -- Olympia, Dairy Queen, Honey Hut, Cold Stone. Try to grab a cone after leaving the mall on a warm summer evening and you've got some driving to do.
There's a lot that goes into city planning, like zoning districts, traffic flow, where to locate intersections and driveways. It seems planners did a fine job with all those things around the mall. But maybe they need to add another category to their checklist -- calorie distribution.