Fiasco taking place on North Phelps St.


Full disclosure: I was totally and publicly against the project to close North Phelps and turn it into a patio. At the time, I lived on Phelps Street and had an art gallery there also. When I heard about this concept and then saw the plans that were prepared, I knew it was a bad, bad idea. Now that the construction is almost complete, it is worse than I ever thought it would be.

A large chunk of red concrete with a serpentine walkway down the middle reminds me of the Yellow Brick Road. Who designed this? L. Frank Baum? Ronald McDonald?

The space feels out of place and phony. There is no truth there, and it is sad.

Remember the playgrounds they built in front of McDonald’s in the ’80s? Same thing. You think, “Why is this here? Why am I here?” There is no sense of place or human scale — no reason.

This will go down as the worst urban design project ever. I hope the powers-that-be realize this sooner than later and put the street back in. In the meantime, I think the people responsible for this blunder should dress up like the characters from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween and skip down the Yellow Brick Road to nowhere.




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