Saturday, July 5, 2008

High End Strip Malls

Strip-malls are probably the most iconic sights of North America after SUV’s and McDonalds! Jacksonville FL probably is the Mecca of such iconic sights. The vastness of the city area has given the developers and planners untrammeled opportunities to build flat out inclusive of massive parking lots to park those gas guzzlers.

Even the more recent up-scale construction projects like the prestigious Town Center Mall is nothing but a glorified strip mall. You don’t create quality by replacing a Chinese Takie-Outie with a P.F. Changs and the mom-and-pop-Italian-restaurant by a Maggiano’s. In their defense, there is a prestigious condo complex attached to the mall that even in today’s market is selling at $300,000 plus prices. There is this one lane inside this strip mall that is brick paved with no cars and a little pond with colorful fish in it. Makes it look all cool and European. You almost want to wander into those streets and shop at the designer stores and be sure that they are paying for common area maintenance for these stylish streets and are charging you for it!

The town center mall is paradise for shoppers that think more is not enough but it is a crazy place for a cyclist that is trying to shed less carbon and lose some calories by cycling to his friend’s house. Well you see that they got rid of all those trees to put some walls up and stick expensive brand names outside them. The little gusts of winds pick up speed while those trees have ended up in some print out that will be glanced at once and then thrown away for the noble cause of maintaining a paper-less society. Uninterrupted, these gusts of winds rampage through the drab mall buildings and extra wide SUV spec lanes and create unnecessary head wind for the poor cyclist who was not enjoying the view and is now not enjoying the ride.

Battling the strong head winds, the cyclist turns into St. John’s Bluff, taking shelter among a few tall trees till a gas station approaches. $4.09 9/10. That head wind feels every bit worth battling against!

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