Hoosick Street: Future UFO landing site?

hoosick street mcdonald's rendering

A few of the renderings of the proposed McDonald's. (Here's a larger version with more views.)

By Kim M.

soapbox badgeIf you've been keeping up on news from Troy, you may have heard that a McDonald's has been proposed for the empty lot at the corner of Hoosick and 15th.

And I'm torn.

My gut reaction: "Oh, hell no."

The thing is, I don't hate McDonald's. I know some object to the plan because they're concerned about Trojans' waistlines and Uncle Sam's opinion on how the company processes meat, but a successful fast-food business will respond to a demand for healthier choices or eventually fail. And I want to welcome a business that will create jobs and increase our tax base. And, Mickey D's was my first official employer.

I was one of the first hires at the McDonald's that opened in a neighboring town my senior year of high school. If I ruled the world, everyone would have a job like that at some point in their journey to adulthood. Few things make me more stab-happy than jerks being rude to those in the service sector. One of those other things: driving in traffic on Hoosick Street (map). Just thinking about it for too long could make me scream "Serenity now!!" But traffic congestion isn't my issue with the proposal either.

My reaction is based solely on aesthetics.

This horrifies me because I rely on logic most of the time; feelings make me feel icky. Lucky for me, just days before I read about the Golden Arches, the Uptown Initiative co-sponsored a talk by James Howard Kunstler at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. I say lucky because Kunstler "spoke my language." During his talk he referred to typical fast-food restaurants as UFOs that have landed in our urban landscape. I finally had a visual phrase to explain my abstract "it's not ... pretty" rejections. These generic buildings are incongruent with the surrounding area, and people feel that. They're "odd". If a chain wants to open a location in Troy, we should point to the Dunkin' Donuts on Broadway and 4th as an example of doing it right. Don't be a round peg irregular polygon in a square hole.

If Hoosick Street is your only experience with Troy, I can understand why you don't love Troy like I do. But Hoosick Street is not representative of my city. In fact, it's an ugly scar in our landscape. I encourage you to explore other areas, to see what Troy's slow renaissance (h/t: Metroland) is all about. Visit our shops downtown, drool over our architecture.

Then tell your friends how awesome Troy is ... I could use a breather.

Kim loves Troy even more than you do.

image via the City of Troy

Comments

As a homeowner whose property is a block off of Hoosick and 15th, traffic congestion is my major concern. I already have to start signaling half a mile in advance that I'm turning onto 15th so I don't get rear-ended by people surprised that not everyone is going straight through the light.

If these drivers are also swerving to avoid people turning left into McDonald's, then that intersection is going to turn into pure hell.

re: aesthetics. That perpetually empty lot has been a bigger eyesore than a McDonald's would be, and the surrounding area isn't exactly brimming with beauty itself. They've been trying to sell that lot and get something developed for a long, long time with no luck. Hoosick Street reached a point of no return a long time ago. There's residences nearby, but let's be clear: this is going right next to the Big Lots Plaza, and just one block up is a Popeye's that stinks up the entire block (I made the mistake of plotting a running route past it one time and thought I was going to die). Diagonal to the site is a monstrous, horrifyingly ugly pseudo-Colonial housing Pizza da Vinci.

My point is that a lot of the complaints are painting a concern for McDonald's intruding on a scenic urban neighborhood. Not true. As far as urban aesthetics are concerned, the inclusion of a McDonald's on that corner is like a zit amongst boils. You don't want it, but it's the least of your concerns at that point.

I was hoping that spot would be filled, and I guess I should be careful what I wish for. Sucks that it has to be a McDonald's, but at least it's something.

As for traffic congestion, I really don't think it'll be that bad. Some of it will be offset by the fact that it's within walking distance for the campus, and I'd speculate that there will probably be a left-turn only onto Hoosick (similar to how Hess's exit onto Hoosick is a right turn only) with the 15th Street side emptying further up the lot. Entry coming from the East on Hoosick and a left onto 15th will be a pain, for sure.


Remember when that lot had a big old brick Victorian apartment building on it? A good friend of mine used to live in the apartment with the turret window that looked out over the intersection. It was a great, incredible, neat step up from the student ghetto to the south. I'd love to know what possessed the owner to tear it down. I know it was up for sale for about $250K in the mid 80's.

Or when the stone church was where the Hess is now? The incredible Italianate Victorian mansion turned frat house just down the hill at the light into Troy Plaza?

I was glad that the firehouse on the corner got saved many moons ago.

Kim: 'an ugly scar on our landscape'. Great turn of phrase. It immediately evoked a mental image of a polluted creek slashing straight down the hill, steep, violent erosion slopes on either side littered with trash, muddy, murky water tumbling, carrying its fetid
contents to the river and away...

I'm not for building another building that has a single purpose. The Rite Aides on that street I think is a good example of new construction that failed.

Also, a McDonalds would probably increase pedestrian traffic from people in the Community and that street is hard enough to cross at any time of day. People get hit more often than they should.

I don't think the city should allow anything like a McDonalds in, until the traffic pattern is more under control and bike and pedestrian friendly.

We also don't need another chain restaurant, but that is another point altogether.

It seems to me that it'd probably be a good spot for a locally owned business.... keeping troys money in troy.

I love the Subway on upper Hoosick in Brunswick. It doesn't intrude on the landscape. I wish that more businesses would use old buildings like they did.

As for McDonalds....I think it would be good for Troy. I'm not certain that would be the best location for it, but it would bring jobs & tax money to the city.

In regards to Trojan waistlines, keep in mind if they want a burger they will get one. It's a short ride up to Brunswick, or an easy hop across the river to Watervliet. Watervliet has a 4 lane drivethrough - I think a good portion of their customer base is people from Troy.

And aesthetics? Please. Hoosick Street is just about one of the ugliest I've ever seen. There is no beauty to this street. A McDonalds certainly couldn't make it worse.

Chris Churchill wrote about Kim's AOA post on the TU blog. There are some other comments there, including my own.

http://blog.timesunion.com/realestate/is-the-proposed-mcdonalds-good-for-troy/7629/#comment-15166

I agree I'd rather have something else there. But @raven, it may actually be a locally owned business. I'm not sure who is building this, but most McDonalds are franchises. Depends on who's opening this one.

And, I gave up on Hoosick Street long ago. I think Alternate 7 and the Collar City Bridge sealed it's fate long ago. It's the least Troy part of Troy anyhow. Lets make sure this crap doesn't intrude past Hoosick.

Someone sent me this video. I thought it was a great commentary on the project: http://youtu.be/8pmrGzptFS4

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