Strip Mall vs. Main Street

The strip mall is dead.

I recently read an article that started out with the sentence…“The American landscape is littered with the decaying corpses of strip malls.” For decades, the strip mall has been characterized by a series of stores connected in a linear fashion and anchored in a sea of surface parking. The strip mall concept grew as our dependency on the automobile grew and as this happened, communities were stripped of once thriving main street cores and public gathering places. Today, the strip malls are marked by cookie-cutter aesthetics, congested parking lots, traffic problems and unsafe walking conditions for pedestrians. But communities are now seeking to move back to a time of vibrant social interaction and spaces that emphasize people over cars.

As a native San Diegan, and a 14-year resident in the Torrey Pines Planning Group area just west of Carmel Valley, I strongly support One Paseo, a village-like environment that provides the fundamentals of a main street with residences above stores mixed amongst an employment center. It provides just the density and scale needed to make people the priority. Its forward-thinking vision is firmly rooted in our past where people mingled and spent hours with one another. The gussying up of our existing strip centers is not a bad thing, but it will not take the place of what is sorely lacking in our local community. It’s time to go back to the future and bring Main Street to Carmel Valley.

Ian Stewart,

Del Mar Resident