One of the main reasons my wife and I moved to Cleveland Heights was to enjoy living in a walkable city. So, we walked to Severance Mall yesterday from our Coventry neighborhood home in the bright spring sunshine. It was a beautiful day, the first really warm morning this April.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stroll till we got to the intersection of South Taylor Rd. and Euclid Heights Boulevard, an entrance to Severance I pass by often in my car. I admit I am sensitive to and disgusted by litter. But I was really shocked by the amount of litter that welcomed us to Severance, trash we easily ignore as we pass by in our cars.
There is a large wooded lot on Taylor Rd. just south of the mall entry that is filled with trash, and also appears to be the neighborhood or mall dumping ground for organic waste like dead trees and bushes, along with leaves and piles of yard waste that were intentionally dumped there. It must be what mall developers like to call a “nature area”. Slow down and check it out next time you drive by. I stood there and thought about the old television commercial of the crying American Indian viewing what we’ve done to our environment. Nice welcome to the mall, I thought.
Next, we walked toward the mall on the entry road through all the litter thrown up on the sidewalk by cars and snowplows. I sure hope the city of Cleveland Heights or Severance Mall plans to run a sweeper along this walkway soon, because we’re 0 for 2 so far on the curb side appeal of this place. Maybe the congregation of the New Song Church we passed by on this stretch of our walk will dispatch some folks with brooms and trash bags to tidy things up. I gotta believe God would appreciate it.
Large shopping malls are not particularly pedestrian friendly places to venture to on foot. Traffic planners focus on moving cars in and out and assume the vast majority of us will only become pedestrians after we park our car in the massive parking lot and make our way to the big box retailer we’ve come to visit. But what we came across next really left me scratching my head.
As we reached the stop light to cross the road circling Severance by Home Depot, we discovered there was no sidewalk to reach on the other side! You could go right, and head toward Kaiser Permanente on the sidewalk outside of the circle. Or, you could go left and cross the entry road, then turn right to cross the circle, which leads to a sidewalk heading north toward Dave’s Market. We were heading to Marshall’s and apparently you are on your own regarding sidewalks from where we stood. I imagine whoever planned this littered mess would suggest we continue walking on the outer circle toward Kaiser, to the sidewalk provided that cuts back toward Marshall’s, which would add another ½ mile to our walk. We opted to forge straight ahead with all the cars and made our way through the parking lot to reach our destination.
We made it to Marshall’s in spite of all these reasons to avoid coming here on foot, and experienced many things we might not have noticed in our car. South Euclid residents and city planners are welcome to call me anytime for a personal walking tour of our Severance Mall environment. Perhaps that may slow down their rush to duplicate this eyesore at Oakwood.