DART

Whole Foods Competition

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are squeezing the upscale/prepared food market a little tighter according to a Business Journal article this past week. It is reported that Whole Foods may be already eying expansion to an additional location. Is Whole Foods the WalMart of organic?

While I appreciate the "buy local" philosophy, I am not a fanatic (I am a Costco member). Yet I continue to resist shopping at either Whole Foods or Trader Joe's - there's just no need. I continue to make at least a weekly stop at Gateway. Gateway Market is one local business I unequivocally support!

I'll see you at Gateway at least every Tuesday for "kids eat free" night!

Ingersoll/MLK Intersection

Moving the conversation just down the street from Gateway, let's contine the exploration of Ingersoll improvements from last week. Finishing touches are now being put on the soon-to-be operational storefront retail strip on Ingersoll east of MLK.

Ingersoll Retail Strip Under ConstructionIngersoll Retail Strip Under Construction

Compared to the retail strip across MLK, this one is fresh, creative, and engaging - a true presence on Ingersoll. Utilizing contemporary materials such as galvanized steel for the sunshades and corrugated metal cladding, this building capitalizes on the energy a new development in a prominent location can bring to a district. I do worry a bit about how the sheet metal on the "marquee" volumes at the east and west corners of the building will fare over time.

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Bus Rapid Transit (via Wikimedia Commons)Bus Rapid Transit (via Wikimedia Commons)The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is set to unveil a proposal to develop “bus-rapid transit” – rail-like service delivered with hybrid buses on Ingersoll and University Avenues between downtown and 42nd Street.

The proposal will be presented at three open houses on Thursday, January 26:

  • 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. – Arthur Davis Room, Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust St.
  • 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Pomerantz Stage, Olmsted Center, Drake University, 2507 University Ave.
  • 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Greenwood Room, Plymouth United Church of Christ, 4126 Ingersoll Ave.

From the meeting announcement:

The service would be developed along established transit corridors that feature high-density residential neighborhoods and an abundance of destinations, including two medical centers, three institutions of higher learning, multiple shopping districts and employment centers, and many other services. DART would deploy hybrid buses that are branded specific to that service, build stations along the route with real-time arrival and departure information, offer 10-minute service at peak usage, and use technology to change stoplights and accelerate travel times.

Make no mistake, service like this is a fabulous idea to promote two things our City needs more of:

  • Wider transit ridership - with service that benefits a broad base of users
  • Compact development - Encouraging higher density development along established and consistent transit routes that connect to widely-used destinations

An additional suggestion for DART (no charge):
In conjunction with the establishment of Southwest Airlines service to the Des Moines Intergalactic Spaceport, DART should also explore ways of improving the anemic service to this transportation hub. Three times in the past year I have taken flights out and back from Des Moines at times when public transit does not serve the airport... very disappointing.

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