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All Opinions Are Local
Posted at 11:56 AM ET, 01/05/2012

A walk-up window in Georgetown

A macaroon shop looking to open in a small space in Georgetown is proposing to sell their sweets from an open window facing the sidewalk, rather than from an interior register. Customers wouldn’t actually go inside the shop, they’d merely stop outside it, and order through a large window.

Hopefully the store will be approved, because walk-up windows are great urbanism. How so? Let me count the ways:

1. They provide additional “eyes on the street,” which deters crime.

2. They provide passing pedestrians with something interesting to look at, which makes the street more pedestrian friendly. Visual diversity is an important consideration in walkability. If pedestrians feel bored, walks seem longer. If walks seem longer, people opt not to walk.

3. They decrease the distance between destinations. Pedestrians want to walk the shortest possible distance between their destinations. Giving shoppers the option of buying a product without going into a store decreases how far they have to walk.

More activity on the sidewalk is a good thing. We want it. Sidewalk activity is what makes for good cities.

[Continue reading Dan Malouff’s post at BeyondDC.]

Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  11:56 AM ET, 01/05/2012

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