Friday, August 28, 2009

Old Cloverdale v. Atlanta Highway

Both areas are near to a religious university, shopping areas, residential areas, and have a lot of traffic; however, looking at these two areas it becomes obvious that they are fundamentally different. On one hand, Old Cloverdale is quaint and charming, and Atlanta Highway seems to be more commercialized and cold. Regardless of the appearance or one's preferential style of building, Old Cloverdale is a much more desirable area.

The most obvious difference between these two areas is the traffic. Atlanta Highway is one of the highest traveled roads in Montgomery, AL. As such, many chain stores have decided to place stores in this location, leaving the area convenient for the on-the-go shopper, but not necessarily a desirable area to spend time. However, it is unlikely (and quite unsafe) for anyone to be taking a stroll along along the median. Moreover, the stores are located on sections of strip malls, surrounded by large parking lots. This leaves the strip malls segregated, adding further for the need to drive from one location to the other. On the other hand, Old Cloverdale focuses more on the availability of foot traffic. Shady sidewalks stretching past a line of closely connected shops make the experience of shopping in Old Cloverdale an enjoyable activity. However, many of the specialty shops might not be the most convenient for many shoppers, as they may be higher priced or less functional.

Each of these locations are only a short distance away from a small, private, Christian university. However, Huntington University seems to be in the heart of Old Cloverdale. Much of the foot traffic comes from these students, and several times a year, Huntington sponsors events, open to the public, that draws people in to this quaint neighborhood. In fact, Huntington seems to be a staple of the area in Old Cloverdale. However, Faulkner University, located on Atlanta Highway, does not seem to be a cornerstone of the community. Instead, it appears to be a separate piece of land that is completely unlike anything surrounding it; just another building to take up the landscape.

Much like the neighboring universities, the near-by residential areas also help to show another difference in the two areas. Like the shops themselves, a vehicle of some sort must be taken to get from one place to another. Apartment buildings, and other lower cost housing, are more readily available from the Atlanta Highway. If the city planners had taken this into more consideration, maybe Atlanta Highway could be more preferable. In Old Cloverdale, many of the houses are within a short, leisurely stroll to the shops. The community as a whole seems more welcoming.

The most probable reason for all of these differences is the existence of the Old Cloverdale Association. This association, established to maintain the integrity of its architecture and its lifestyle. Areas in this district are subject to a much more strict set of ordinances (Montgomery City Ordinance #49-96), that mandate how new buildings and additions are to be created, how the old buildings are to be obtained, and even what kind of trees may be planted or removed. Clearly, Atlanta Highway is not subject to the same kind of ordinances, created to "maintain the charm, look and character" of the area. Perhaps if even a few more strict ordinances were created when Atlanta Highway had first began to blossom, it would have maintained some bit of charm that makes Old Cloverdale the more preferred location.