Free movement to the central business and shopping district concerns the entire community, the housewife, and the merchant alike. Certain businesses naturally seek locations in central districts, which are accessible ■ to, and commonly visited by, persons from the entire city and surrounding territory. Such are central banks, large department stores, certain hotels and principal theaters, the offices of the local government, and certain specialty shops.
On account of the great numbers of people traveling to and within this area each day its sidewalks should be broad. Retail stores want traffic movement facilitated and traffic congestion diminished, to protect the safety and convenience of their customers and employees, and to reduce delays in the trucking of the goods they receive and deliver.
Conditions in the central business district can not be improved overnight. By-passing of through traffic around the business district has proved effective for relieving traffic congestion, but it may be necessary to extend "dead-end" streets or to separate cross traffic at main intersections by means of viaducts or subways. Grade crossings of railroad tracks may need to be eliminated, or new crossings constructed, or new bridges may be desirable. The necessity for such expensive undertakings in the future may be avoided or diminished by a well-considered city plan. Adequate provision for rapid transit should be made in the plans of communities which are approaching or which have arrived at the conditions justifying such facilities.
Some light manufacturing or other uses of property may derive little or no special advantage from being in the central business district and at the same time may make for its unprofitable congestion. Owners of such establishments may be encouraged to move elsewhere by being shown the advantages of more suitable locations and by a proper zoning ordinance operating over a period of years. Moving of terminals or shifting of the wholesale district is sometimes a practical way to lessen traffic difficulties.
Wholesale and warehouse districts, under ideal conditions, should be located directly between the water or railroad terminals and the manufacturing or commercial area which they serve. Too frequently, however, trucking to and from the terminal may have to pass through the most crowded part of the central retail business district. This is neither economy nor common sense. A good city plan is a means of insuring against a repetition of mistakes.
Heavy industrial plants usually require sites with railway sidings and, perhaps, a water front, yet convenient for employees to reach from their homes. In a well-planned city, residential development tends to leave such districts free and unbroken for use by industry. Light industries are more concerned with trucking facilities and with sites accessible to a large number of workers. A city gets along much better when homes and industry are kept separate but are at the same time easily accessible to each other.
The handling of perishable foodstuffs from their arrival in a city by freight car or truck to scattered retail stores is a very complex problem. If the distribution is prompt and efficient the people can obtain their food fresher and at lower prices. A well-planned wholesale market, accessible to cars from all railroads and to the trucks of local farmers, is usually the first item. It permits quick inspection of goods by buyers, and cheap handling and loading, without cartage delays. Up-to-date cold-storage facilities should be near by. In too many cities the produce markets grow up and are shifted about in a hit-and-miss fashion and are awkwardly arranged or become badly scattered. They are often so situated that the vehicles passing to and from them add unnecessarily to street traffic congestion. In many cases, indeed, the loading vehicles stand in public streets and practically shut off all other traffic.