Friday, February 14, 2014

Lou Tullio's Transitway Mall

Tullio's Transitway Mall. Looking north on State from 10th St.
Now you see it, now you don't. Erie mayor Lou Tullio envisioned a retail mecca in downtown Erie, PA and he secured hundreds of thousands of dollars into construction projects in the hopes of attracting shoppers to State Street. A recent study claims that 39,400 people lived within one mile of the area pictured above. The idea was to build a pedestrian-friendly area with wide sidewalks so that throngs of locals and tourists could meander from store to store and boost the local economy. And people would conserve gasoline and ride the EMTA buses to get downtown.

So, what happened? People hated it. If you look closely near the bottom of the picture, you'll see a yellow sign with two arrows, pointing east and west. Look closer and you'll see three round red circles with the friendly, welcoming words, "Do Not Enter." It worked. Erieites are quite attached to their vehicles and most of us like to park as close as possible to our favorite store, not in a parking lot several blocks away. You can't change human nature. 

Here is a photo of the Transitway Mall near 8th and State.

Find more of Erie, Pennsylvania's historical hot topics at Old Time Erie


  1. A lot of cities with declining central business districts did the same with mixed results. It was a hard argument to make - that by removing traffic from a main street - that the exodus of business and people to the suburbs would cease. That certainly didn't happen in Erie

  2. It didn't work in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh either.

  3. It didn't work in Chicago, either. State Street, the city's shopping mecca before Michigan Avenue got hot, was closed off to traffic. The street became a ghost town. Now, years later, the traffic flows, and State Street is home to many retailers.

  4. Not to mention that the Millcreek Mall opened a few years before that...

  5. Some pieces of the Transitway Mall they got right - wide sidewalks, well-marked crosswalks and narrowing the street at intersections for easier and safer pedestrian access.