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Disaster on foot

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

I was astonished by John Conti's Living column “Pedestrian areas are worth all the ‘fuss'” (April 7 and TribLIVE.com) about creating such areas Downtown. Look up Philadelphia's Chestnut Street Transitway and find out what a disaster it was to take traffic off a downtown city street.

When people can't drive up to a store to purchase or load items, stores that actually sell things go out of business. You wind up with blighted blocks of boarded-up storefronts, drugstores, fast-food franchises and not much else. When there's no traffic, people feel creepy about walking — especially at night — so they stay home or go somewhere else to spend money.

I know it troubles Western Pennsylvania types to look at Philadelphia and learn something, but here's a chance to avoid turning a chunk of Downtown into a wasteland funded by public dollars. The Trib should be all over that.

Stephen Preis

North Huntingdon

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