Thursday, May 07, 2009

Downtown-less Reston Opened Pandora's Box of Schlock with Reston Town Center

The hyper-local Reston blogger following the consequences of Reston Town Center (to which Tony Giarratana and the May Family refer as inspiration for May Town Center) responds to a query I sent on what Nashvillians should be aware of before sacrificing virgin Bells Bend to the gods of new urbanism a la Cool Springs:
What we'd tell these folks is that it's not so much the faux-urban core that's the real problem with RTC; it's the big box retail dreck that was allowed to be built next to it, a horrendous land use mistake which may someday be corrected. Of course, the real difference is that when our Fake Downtown was finally realized in the early 90s, Reston had already established itself as a sizable community in need of an urban core -- or at least a movie theatre and chain restaurant or two and whatnot. It doesn't sound like that's the case in the metropolis of Bells Bend.

Maybe there's a sensible plan to develop a high-density residential core around this new new town outside of Nashville, supported by mass transit and other needed amenities. Somehow, though, we doubt it.
There are three themes in this response that I've been pounding on since the May Town Center concept started rising:
  • The concept has no mass transit plan to lower the risk that Bells Bend will be overrun by auto traffic; in fact, the fulcrum upon which the entire concept turns is a bridge that will increase auto traffic exponentially to Cool Springs levels
  • Nashville already has a Downtown while MTC is sold as a "second Downtown"; Bells Bend is not a high density area crying out for an urban core; why do we need spend tax dollars laying infrastructure for a second Downtown that will bleed resources from the first?
  • There is absolutely nothing, not even May Family promises of conservation zoning, that will protect the rest of Bells Bend from being sprawled across by big box stores and strip malls off the MTC campus; Metro Council shows over and over again how exceptions, variances, and spot zonings can defy large-scale community planning
So, how again is May Town Center supposed to draw so much of its inspiration from Reston Town Center when it contains so few of the conditions that made RTC a reality, warts and all?

No comments:

Post a Comment