Omaha Developer Sells “Walkable Main Street” of Parking Lots

This development in Omaha is being as a "walkable" "Main Street." Image: Lockwood Development via Strong Towns
This development in Omaha is being billed as a “Main Street.” The white space is parking. Image: Lockwood Development via Strong Towns

As the downside of sprawling development becomes better understood, some developers are getting better at greenwashing sprawl.

Here’s a pretty great example from Omaha, Nebraska. Charles Marohn at Strong Towns came across a story about Lockwood Development’s new office park in the Omaha World-Herald. And he was so taken aback by the disparity between the rhetoric and the actual design, he had to write about it:

It uses all the current buzz words….

Mixed use. Redevelopment. Independent living. Walkable. Main Street.

Do those words mean anything? Sadly, Omaha’s Sterling Ridge Development — a so-called “Main Street” concept — is not even a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a wolf in wolves’ clothing.

My favorite quote from the article, where words are simply objects with no real meaning, is this one: “The architects said the idea is for the multipurpose campus to be a walkable community where people work, live, play and worship.”

How quaint.

Fortunately, Marohn says, World-Herald readers seem to see through the flowery language. “This is not a ‘Main Street’ scheme,” wrote one. “It’s an office park defined by vast stretches of surface parking.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Wash Cycle shares a great new video explaining how protected bike lanes are changing the way people get around in American cities. Exit 133 reports the epic urban-planning battle between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses will be turned into an opera. And Bike Portland says a local animal shelter is refusing adoptions to folks who plan to bike their new pets home from the shelter.

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