But where are the people?

While the Fruitvale Village development profiled yesterday is indeed a success story in that a visionary developer transformed it from a parking garage proposal into a beautiful, walkable community of residences, offices, and shops, it hasn’t quite succeeded on the retail just yet.

Businesses like a florist, take-out restaurant, and chiropractor are struggling, wondering why all that pedestrian traffic from the busy transit station commute doesn’t translate into commerce. A couple of reasons:

– They’re two phases early, ahead of the small destination local restaurant with great food in phase one, and ahead of the large destination regional restaurant that comes in phase two.

– The plaza itself is currently an empty ‘stage’ with no ‘performances’. For instance, here’s a picture of a street in Sienna, Spain. Except, one doesn’t see a ‘street’, but a crowd of people instead. Fruitvale, a Latino community, could tap into its cultural heritage and host weekly banquets in the plaza, attended by the village residents and catered by the village businesses.

  • Gopher

    I would disagree with this posting. The place is a failure because it failed to : 1) route the foot traffic, 2) Provide reasonable parking, 3) and most importantly, offer security.

    The place is still not safe after 5pm.

  • Tony

    Gopher is correct on his #1 point. But also, on the opposite side, we have pedestrians who are mostly lower income families that don’t have incentives to venture down the corridor either. The shops are not geared to attract customers who are by-and-large trying to get inexpensive deals.