Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wal-Mart Minimalists

In Suffern tonight the developer of a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter will hold a dramatization of the old Marx Brothers' line, uttered in explanation by Chico when a husband barged in on him while he was in bed with the man's wife: "Who are you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes?"

It seems that Jerrold Bermingham, managing director of the real estate company believes that the supercenter will not have much of a traffic impact on the congested Route 59 corridor. As he told the Journal News, his studies have determined that "there would be a minimal impact" on the deadly artery. He also went on to tell the paper that there would not be any harm to local businesses; "I think it became clear that this Wal-Mart is complementary and compatible with the businesses on Route 59..."

Complementary? This guy needs to be drug tested. More like complimentary-with Wal-Mart complimenting all the nearby businesses ("Good job fellas") by first replicating, and then eliminating them. As the Alliance's Richard Lipsky told the paper, "I'm shocked that someone would use the word 'minimal.' It indicates that this process needs a heck of a lot more evaluation."

Assemblywoman-elect Ellen Jaffee has written to the NYSDOT to ask them to evaluate Wal-Mart's Route 59 impact. We plan to join Jaffee to present the real world potential that the proposed 216,000 square foot store will have, not only on 59, but on all of the adjacent roads as well. The developers blithe, cavalier description of a minimal impact indicates precisely why this kind of a process should not be in the hands of folks who have a vested interest in minimizing (a better word) impacts.