The Light on with no one home: A reflection on an icy parking lot

Since the end of Christmas of 2021, I have taken to walking around my immediate neighborhood a lot more. My goal for 2022 is to walk to a destination if its near enough to me, and it has been fairly successful. However, as I shift from being a bicycle rider to a walker, I start again noticing a lot of the hazards of walking in a car-centric world.

Enter Wahoo’s Fish Tacos ‘Uptown. Closed in 2018, Wahoos belonged to a block that also a handful of other restaurants, all closing in a fairly similar timeframe to each other.

Photo of the Wahoo’s sign by Libby Flood of Business Den

Here is what that Wahoo’s sign and restaurant looks like in 2022.

While the sign is gone, the façade remains. Rather than operating as a restaurant, the lot is mostly used as a way for drivers to make a U-Turn. The lot also has adjacency to Benedict Park, a park that is one of the primary greenspaces of the neighborhood. However, using the lot as a way to get to Benedict is a near impossibility by foot, as ice builds up on the sidewalk adjacent to the lot and can cause people to slip and fall easily.

A closer look at the Wahoo’s

The most bizarre aspect of this lot is the fact that the exterior lobby lights are constantly on. While the question of who pays for those lights is one that important I ultimately wanted to ask a bigger question: who is responsible for the sidewalk? With Wahoo’s long gone, the onus should be on the owner of the land, right? What if the owners are negligent? Who would get a fine when I report the slick sidewalk to 311?

For me and other pedestrians during the, this question can be a matter of whether we get to our destination safely or stumble on the way. As businesses continue to close and the responsibility of shoveling has becomes less clear, the city should step up in its vigilance and perhaps create a shoveling corps to keep all sidewalks, abandoned or not, clear. If there isn’t some level of shoveling the city does on its own along with enforcement, the snow removal program is as good as the light on in the Uptown Wahoo’s: on, but helping no one with its presence.

Featured image is of the Former Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in Uptown, taken in early January 2022

One thought on “The Light on with no one home: A reflection on an icy parking lot

  1. When I lived in Uptown in 2019 and 2020, I would walk by this corner and wish something would happen to revitalize it. The sidewalks are cracked and uneven in parts. Overall, it was unpleasant walking past the derelict buildings on my way home or to the park.


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