You may not recall, but at one point walk-ability was a key tenet of the 2012 upgrades to the Village at Kimball (i.e. Del Taco, Smith’s expansion, Five Guys, etc.). The idea was that the developer would create a walk-able community where shoppers could park and walk from shop to shop. Yet, when all was said and done, all we ended up with were some cross walks.
With that in mind, a long time reader emailed us this weekend and said, “I tried to walk around Kimball Junction [the Village at Kimball] this weekend and know one of the reasons it doesn’t work.” The reader had attempted to park half way between Smith’s and Michael’s and shop both. To summarize her experience, she first headed to Smith’s to buy groceries and then went to Michael’s to buy some arts supplies. When she left Smith’s, she schlepped her groceries across the parking lot, and as one of her shopping bags broke, she wondered why she didn’t take a shopping cart from Smith’s to Michael’s. Then she looked around and wondered where she would have left it at Michael’s, had she used a cart.
Therein lies the problem. If you have more than two bags, and don’t want to drive from shop to shop in Kimball Junction, you’ll need a cart. Yet, all shopping carts appear to be owned by respective merchants. There isn’t a shared system of shopping carts that would allow someone to say buy dog food at PetCo, push that down to Whole Foods, and continue shopping there. As the reader pointed out, without shared carts, there is no way to actually walk and shop at Kimball Junction.
Right about now, you are probably saying “No SH*T SHERLOCK. No one is actually going to walk around Kimball Junction, shopping!” I completely agree with you. That’s why the reader’s email shocked me. Yet, you should know that Summit County seems invested in the idea of a “circulating bus” that will drive around Kimball Junction ferrying passengers from one shop to another. Yet, what the reader found rings even more true in that scenario. Will anyone ride a circulating bus in the first place? I have my doubts but the reader’s comment rings even more true under that scenario. Unless riders/shoppers can push a cart from World Market to the bus stop and leave it there, they won’t use the bus.
If walk-ability is still any sort of concern, or if we want a circulating bus to actually be used for shopping, we probably need to consider how to approach the various merchants at Kimball Junction about sharing carts. I realize that’s likely a tall order at this point (they have no reason to invest in that). Yet, if we are going to invest in a circulating bus, it make make sense to try.
Perhaps more so, it makes sense to incorporate “shared carts” into future development plans. Should the Boyer “Tech Park” ever have merchants or should Silver Creek Village have more than a few stores, it may make sense to explore the requirement for shared shopping carts, just like we require shared “snow storage” in most development.
Before receiving that email, I had never considered the importance of being able to push a cart for over a half mile. I still question how many people want to walk around Kimball (or ride a circulating bus, for that matter)… but if those are goals for our community, I think the reader has a point.
As she said, “It’s the shopping cart stupid.”