The hard to love but…

This photo op of a well known commercial plaza here in Mansfield. The stores that make up this plaza are popular and serve a great good. I personally go to a number of these locations and have for some time.

This site in many ways captures what one would hope to find especially if one buys into transit oriented development (TOD). Even with a nod to our auto centricity this site actually outperforms others when you explore the potential to-do’s you check off in one parking lot.

That said it is one ugly site chock full of a design pattern that kind of flies in the face of TOD and other points of the New Urbanism movement. It is readily off putting to motorists and pedestrians alike secondary to aesthetics as well as safety concerns. This is indeed unfortunate and is being offered not to cast offense upon the businesses located here but instead to draw attention to opportunity.

Our historical and sometimes hysterical focus on our downtown seems to defy the obvious “good bones” it has always had. We develop in fits and bounds and fail to recognize that there is a tried and true model sitting just under the surface of it all. I sincerely hope that the Master Plan Update recognizes this and sets into motion for the next decade a process that respects the truth and serves the people of Mansfield.