100 Ideas for New Paltz

21. grow the downtown up towards the college

Re-zone Plattekill Avenue from downtown to the college as mixed use, traditional neighborhood development.

plattekill ave


8 Responses

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  1. Mark said, on June 30, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Why not close down that section of Plattekill and make in a walkway…sorta’ like a miniature version of what they have in Burlington, VT?

    • Jason West said, on June 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm

      That section of Plattekill Avenue is very well used, and it would back up traffic on other streets if we closed it off. For my money, any streets that were to be made into pedestrian-only thoroughfares would have to be convenient to downtown yet rarely traveled. The only section that I wthink would be worthwhile without significantly affecting traffic on other roads is that small section of Church Street between Main Street and Front Street. THAT would be a great place for a park/public square, if we could solve the problems of deliveries to businesses on that stretch. I actually spoke with the businesses along that section of Church Street years ago, and they all thought that it was a great idea — they felt that it would increase the foot traffic to their businesses. But again, the deliveries problem cropped up.

      Also, the pedestrian section of Burlington (which I’ve been to, and agree is fantastic) only works because Burlington is a big enough city that it has a web of interconnected streets surrounding that bit of downtown able to handle the increase in traffic while giving motorists enough options in travel routes to avoid gridlock. New Paltz, being essestially still a crossroads, needs lots of side streets to provide alternate routes to avoid making Main Street traffic even worse. That’s why we’d have to find a street that is already little used to turn into a pedestrian-only area.


  2. Mark said, on August 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Ya’ know, I think this is a good idea if there are businesses interested in coming. for the past 3 years, however, going up Plattekill appears to be a business killer for the bookstore and then Blockheads. the place has been empty more than it’s been occupied. How will we find businesses to expand?

  3. Mark said, on August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm


  4. Mark said, on September 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Shall I assume that this issue no longer interests you or that my observation doesn’t?

    • Jason West said, on September 2, 2009 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Mark – nope, I’ve neither lost interest in the issue nor in your observations.

      The success or failure of a single property shouldn’t determine future planning. I have heard second and third-hand stories of why Ariel Books closed, which being rumor I won’t repeat. I do know that Blockheads closed it’s doors because the owners’ had a businesss model based on their NYC locations, which depended heavily on take-out and delivery orders. There’s apparently not the same demand for that here for them to meet the needs of their business model. Further, not knowing the landlord, and having such a large psace for rent, I have no idea why there isn’t a thriving business there. Ariel’s thrived in that location for decades in a much less retail-friendly environment than New Paltz is now.

      That said, there’s such a tremendous amount of foot traffic along that stretch of Plattekill Avenue from SUNY to Main Street, that I firmly believe any number of businesses would do very well. That stretch of the Village is in a rare situation where the foot traffic ALREADY exists; all we need to do is change the zoning and make the effort to seamlessly incorporate that stretch into the downtown, Main Street business district. 5

  5. Mark said, on September 8, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I certainly agree about the foot traffic being there…and as you can from my very first comment am excited about the possibility. I also agree that the failure of a single property shouldn’t determine future planning, but I’d say it should be used to help inform future planning decisions, that’s all.

    I’m just wary as Ariel’s cost of operating at that space just didn’t appear to be managable for them (I can’t imagine that they closed in spite of rolling in profits–it just doesn’t happen). The ten prior years probably provided them with much cheaper rent, right?

    I also have no idea why there isn’t a thriving space there…but I think it’s a cause for concern with hopes of extending commercial activity further in that direction.

    It’s a great space, but it’s caused the death of 2 businesses and nobody appears to have wanted to touch it for a while now.

  6. Julia said, on April 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    There was once a plan for a “Promenade” – going from Plattekill Avenue to Front Street to Lenape (Hug. St.). Would be interesting to revisit it.

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