Steve Paul

‘Old time-y’ misses the mark for urban design

Updated: 2013-12-08T01:31:00Z

By STEVE PAUL

The Kansas City Star

Sorry, Mike Burke, but promising an “old time-y” design for a downtown drive-through sandwich shop is a poor way to sell the plan. It’s lame, disingenuous and misses the point about why a drive-through might not be a great fit. (Background here.)

Yes, this stretch of Broadway, including the historic Garment District, is nicely lined with old buildings. They are sturdy, handsome and respectful of the past while serving the present quite well. “Old-timey” is mere decoration and tone deaf to the needs of urban design.

Kansas City long ago sold its soul to car culture, so flat-out opposition to a drivethrough may be futile, especially for a project that is so far along in the process (thanks to planners who might have been asleep at the wheel).

What is needed is a modern design solution to a real problem that could satisfy both sides of this Jimmy John’s debate. That, of course, takes work. Not thin “old time-y” talk.

To reach Steve Paul, call 816-234-4762 or send email to paul@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/sbpaul.

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