Try not to bounce in your chairs too much: a writer at Urban Indy has finally decided to assess the CVS at 16th and Meridian, a few years after it opened. The general view around these parts–which probably prompted the majority of us not to feature it–was a resounding “meh” at the results, even though it obviously tries to improve on urban design principles from other drug stores in the area. When juxtaposed with the Walgreens at the adjacent corner, the differences are obvious.
Our CVS on the left uses two stories (yes, that second floor is legit, even if the windows are fake and it’s only used by staffers), and it is pushed to the street corner, with no setbacks for parking. Meanwhile, the Walgreens is barely distinguishable from the standard in the suburbs. Parking dominates the parcel and the big “W” sign is clearly meant to be visible to vehicles traveling at high speeds. By most metrics, the much newer CVS blows the Walgreens out of the water.
But is it really that amazing? A few from the south side shows that it still host an abundance of parking (as much as the Walgreens) and an entrance that caters to motorists.
The door fronting the Meridian Street sidewalk–near the bus stop–is a fake. The only real way to enter this CVS is the same as just about every other: pull into a private parking lot, then walk among the artillery of parked cars toward the entrance that directly faces that lot. And this CVS still features a drive-thru pharmacy, like you’d see in Castleton or Carmel. Nothing too special.
Could this section of Midtown Indy–just a mile and half from the absolute center of town–have done better by its drugstore? Probably. But, since the other three corners feature the Walgreens, a Chase bank, and a McDonald’s, all using thoroughly auto-oriented designs that prioritize parking by positioning it at the most prominent points, it’s easy to see why the developer of the CVS didn’t feel like there was a particularly great incentive for blazing any trails with this design.
The full article explains all of the different maneuverings the CVS developer was able to make to actualize the project, as well as design elements in which the City of Indianapolis stuck to its guns. I decided to post the complete article at my personal blog, American Dirt, because it draws heavily from a similar infill project I wrote about in Birmingham, involving an okay-but-not-great Chick-fil-A. Plenty more photos, as well as a thorough description, are available at the link to above. I’m happy to answer comments or questions at either site.