Friday, September 21, 2012

Changes at The Longmeadow Shops

We are lucky to have several new food establishments at The Longmeadow Shops.  Since Max Burger and Peachwave opened over the summer, there have been many more cars in the parking lot. I have never seen it so full! The place is especially crowded on Thursdays when the Farmer’s Market is open near the old Friendly’s location. The shopping area was designed long ago and it is not easy to maneuver trucks and SUVs into and out of the tight spots.  It is obviously tricky in front of Starbucks, as people get dropped off to go inside for a quick drink.

On a recent sunny September day, we sat at a table outside The Semolina Bread Company, enjoying a delicious lunch.  As we ate our wrap sandwiches, we noticed the increased congestion right away.  We counted several Connecticut cars parked near us.  I always thought the parking area was awkwardly designed; and we witnessed some bizarre traffic patterns.  Some cars were making U-turns to find spots.  Bad parking jobs were pretty typical, with people sitting in handicapped spots or double-parking near CVS.  The time has come to re-design the placement of the parking spots. It is especially complicated near the entrance to Max Burger where people drive close to the sidewalk and outdoor patio.  A speeding car could be dangerous and perhaps we need a deeper pedestrian sidewalk.

It’s almost impossible for the elderly to get into and out of the shopping area as they walk to their cars.  I also noticed people glued to cell phones and texting while walking in the lot; oblivious to the cars passing around them.  Drivers can become more aware as they enter and exit Longmeadow’s prime shopping destination, and we all can avoid talking on our phones as we park. Remember, these new restaurants are bringing in much needed business and the parking will only get worse when the winter snow piles accumulate.

Let’s welcome the changes in traffic flow and keep the place safe at the same time! I hope the management can place traffic signs within the parking area to guide the flow of vehicles, walkers and bikers.

submitted by Betsy Port