The empty Starbucks at Fall Creek and College is a fine example of temporary architecture. The building dates from 2005, and is already becoming a burden to a neighborhood that does not need another one. There was cautious optimism when the Starbucks first opened, however, as they employed people from the neighborhood. For this, Starbucks is to be commended. However, my main problem is with the building itself.
The building failed to engage the street, and could have been right at home on any random suburban thoroughfare. The business was dependent on commuters speeding down Fall Creek or College Avenue, and they built a drive-thru for their convenience. The fact that a car-dependent drive-thru can be built in a neighborhood in Center Township did not seem to raise many eyebrows at the time, but I see it as a big problem. What will go in this building now?
However, an even larger issue is this one: could anything worth saving be built along Fall Creek Boulevard as it exists today? The street handles so many cars, going at such a high speed, that it is oppressive to all other means of travel. Who would want to walk along such a street? This leads me to believe that the street will continue to be a barrier to foot, bicycle, and transit, and that any new structures will be temporary in nature. So, perhaps we should turn our attention towards this problem. If all we do is take down the former Starbucks and leave Fall Creek Boulevard as it is, we are treating a symptom, and not the cause.
I do not know of a good solution for Fall Creek. Its condition is so ingrained in our city’s culture that a transition would be difficult and costly. Traffic calming along it may cause a cataclysm of congestion. What are your thoughts on this situation?