First thing I noted was the lack of a bike rack anywhere in sight, even though there are plenty of bicycles for sale. I asked a couple of the management-looking folks wearing nice suits and Kroeger's nametags. They looked at each other with this "Who dropped that ball??" look on their faces, so I suspect we might eventually see a rack or three. I sure hope so, because the new place ain't exactly short on car parking and we keep being promised that new development in BombTown will not be entirely auto-centric.What also remains to be seen is how easy and safe it will be to cross Trinity as a pedestrian with a bag or two of groceries. We designed Central to make it easy to cross safely by narrowing the road and providing bulbouts. Now, Smiths is on the other side of a wide, 35 mph arterial from the rest of town. I'm also wondering how cyclists will arrive there. Many local cyclists are not terribly fond of riding Trinity, so I suspect we will see a lot of sidewalk riders or perhaps, folks riding on Central and crossing at a crosswalk. That all remains to be seen. What I'd like to see is that paved trail located on the south edge of the development continue west so that cyclists could ride down Central or Deacon St, and cross Trinity without having to ride on it, using Knecht or 15th to hook up with a "back door" bike path that would also avoid cyclists dodging cars in the parking lot. Such a trail could continue and provide connection between Townsite and Airport Basin. Not everyone is as willing to ride the length of Trinity and 502 as I am.
|Plenty of parking...if you came in a car|
After checking out, I took a quick look at the bike stuff. Not suprisingly, most or all of it seems to be Target-quality, and I wonder if Smith's did a market research study to see if that is appropriate for the local clientele. One adult bike I examined briefly, a Schwinn, had a badly adjusted front linear pull brake, with one arm pushed hard against the rim while the other was quite distant. Another had the brake pads badly misaligned with respect to the wheel rim. Seems someone did not balance the brake arm return spring tension or pad alignment on assembly of these bikes, so I suspect the local bike shops might get some work. I saw quite a few examples of bike accessories, but again, I didn't see any floor pumps that had Presta heads, only Schraeder. There were some frame pumps which I did not examine. Hmmm....hopefully these limited offerings will get sorted out. I wonder how hard it would be to carry a better floor pump that has both Schrader and Presta capability. The available stuff is clearly mass market, and will not compete with Local Bike Shop clientele or merchandise. It does clearly provide more consumer choice, but I wonder who will support these bicycles once they are on the roads and trails.
On leaving, I noted what looked like an extension of the Canyon Rim Trail on the South side of the new development. It disappaeared from view to the East and dead-ended to the West at a fenceline and there was a small blacktop sidepath hooking it up to dedicated "trail only" parking at the south side of the lot (most of which was filled with cars) so I assume one could ride the trail to the mall. I'm hoping this is a useful trail for getting cyclists around the poorly designed (for casual cyclists) NM502 and down towards Airport Basin. I have to explore that or wait to hear from one of you who has.
Hopefully, this new facility will be a success not only for Smith's but for other local merchants in making Bombtown a little less of a shopping desert. I sure hope so, anyway, given we are all indirectly on the hook with this new development. As anyone following my blogs knows, I've long been a skeptic on whether Los Alamos has enough market to support a big store/mall and whether it will, in the long run, stop the leakage of money off the Hill. Well, I'll say one thing. If its there and I need it, I'll probably buy it up here rather than down there but if I need bike stuff, I probably won't find it in the current presentation. Lisa Shin, meanwhile, asks which local businesses might be casualties of the "Wal-Mart Effect":
Late Notes: As far as bike racks, I heard from Philo Shelton, the County DPW director, "There are bike racks shown on the site plans and it is a punch list item. Smiths just finished the store front the day before opening and the racks would have been in the way." So I guess they will be there shortly. As far as pedestrian safety, even on calmed Central Ave, people can't always assume they will get across the street intact. Hence my worries about crossing Trinity unless everyone is being a good citizen: From Carol Clark's Daily Post: Driver Runs Into Woman Walking Near Central Avenue
Just released on the Daily Post: Steven Fode Charged With Reckless Driving After Hitting Pedestrian in Downtown Los Alamos Today
|Bikes Galore. Target/Costco quality|
|Helmets, tubes, pumps, seats, etc. |
Mostly 26" tires and I didn't see any Presta-equipped floor pumps