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Things I’d rather ban than bars

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T-Mobile store. Image from T-Mobile.

Someone has proposed a moratorium on liquor licenses in the U Street area. It seems unlikely to pass, but regardless, here’s a partial list of things I’d rather ban proliferation of in DC:

  1. Bank branches. In the age of ATMs, banks are offices, not retail. They have a deadening effect on sidewalk life and drive up the cost of retail space for everyone else.

  2. Cell phone stores. Proliferation of luxurious cell phone stores is proof that we’re all paying way too much for cell phone service.

  3. Pharmacies. Unlike cell phone stores, it is an important convenience for every neighborhood to have a CVS or Wallgreens. But after the 3rd one opens in your neighborhood, are you really excited about a 4th?

  4. Froyo stores. I like froyo, but it’s obviously a bubble that’s about to burst. No way can so many survive long term.

  5. Empty storefronts. Griping above notwithstanding, we shouldn’t ban anything as long as we have empty storefronts. Even that bank branch is better for sidewalk life than nothing.

February 11th, 2013 | Permalink | {num}Comments
Tags: economy, law

  • Alex

    Hey there, just wanted to provide an example of an off street bank branch: Bank of America is below ground in a building at Powell and Market Street in downtown San Francisco and it is easily accessible featuring elevator and escalator.

  • Thelonious_Nick

    Here’s the thing about banks: you only belong to one bank, so another bank’s branches are useless to you. When a new restaurant opens in the neighborhood, anybody can potentially go there to eat. A new shoe store, anybody can buy shoes there. Drug store, pet store, etc., same thing. But a new bank branch, only a few people can use it. And they’re everywhere! I think 50 percent of the new buildings that have been built in Fairfax City in the past 5 years have been bank branches. Really poor use of urban space–not even sure they’re better than parking lots since, yes, anybody can use a parking lot.

  • http://twitter.com/craftgasm Melissa of craftgasm

    I am constantly disgusted by the number of banks on retail streets because office space is so. much. cheaper. than retail space. Like Alex said, banks can thrive at non-street-level locations because people who need them will find out where they are. A separate doorway to a small ATM lobby and a staircase/elevator to a second floor bank (or a skinny hallway that led customers away from the street and opened out onto the bigger space further back on the first floor) would be a much better use of space. That they can afford huge corner lot storefronts that are mostly empty space speaks to the fact that we are all paying them too much money for their services.

  • BobaFuct

    USAA baby! With a few exceptions around the country, there are no physical branches. Cuts waaaaaay down on overhead and avoids the problems listed here. Check deposits can be done with a smartphone, and UPS stores also can do USAA cash deposits. I fully support ATM availability, but most cities could get by with one or two large branches for mortgage/business accounts and more complex transactions.



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