Nawbany’s ubiquitous used cars? They’re “a symptom of having such a high concentration of poverty.”


Earlier this week:

Traffic Cluster, Part One: Mt Tabor Road? It’s the design. You know, the design we just paid millions … to design.

Traffic Cluster, Part Two: We’ll never resolve traffic issues until “leadership” is willing to lead, not pander.

But just before them, I wrote in reference to statue rectification: “Give ’em time, and we’ll have statues of automobiles. I volunteer to be first in line when it comes to bringing those symbols down.”

Taken together, these thoughts of pervasive and unaddressed automobile supremacy in Nawbany prompted reader John Q. Curmudgeon (no relation to T. Potable) to write this letter to the editor.

Don’t worry. He’s real.

Are you?

We already have monuments to automobiles in New Albany. Plenty of them. It’s doubtful anyone can find another 14.94 square miles in the U.S. that has more ratty little “car lots”, car parts stores and other auto related businesses than New Albany, Indiana.

Cheap used cars are for sale, parked on every corner in the town – used “luxury”, “high-end cars” are offered across from a funeral home, on a highway masquerading as a residential street. Another “luxury” car lot is across the street from the YMCA.*

Not a single new car dealership in New Albany – just used cars.

It’s a symptom of having such a high concentration of poverty. Banks make good money on auto loans and lend for them freely (because the car is the loan’s collateral), but not a single new car dealership in New Albany. Not enough money in circulation, not enough people to justify the investment. Sellersburg has new car dealerships, with one-tenth of the number of households in New Albany.

Apparently, most automobiles in New Albany are used and apparently falling apart, barely kept running judging from the number of parts stores and garages.

Auto parts stores are everywhere within New Albany’s small 14 square miles – two auto glass and paint locations, two NAPA parts stores, two O’Reilly Autoparts stores, a hub cap and wheel store, AutoZone Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, Bennett’s Auto Parts, New Albany Auto Parts & Machine Shop, Bumper to Bumper, Auto Warehouse Inc., Walmart Auto Care Center, Tire Discounters, Big O Tires – and more corner, shade tree mechanic shops.

We don’t notice New Albany’s many monuments to the automobile – because we’ve grown numb to them.

When parking four old cars with “$300 down” written in white shoe polish on their windshields is the “highest and best use” of a high-traffic downtown corner lot, it’s a glaring example that no one values retail and business opportunities in New Albany. Another symptom of having such a high concentration of poverty.

Every article I read regarding the growing restaurant business in New Albany usually includes the phrase “get people across the bridge from Louisville.” There’s a reason. When the little corner car lots go, maybe we’ll see more opportunity for everyone.

* As to the lot across from the YMCA, reader NC writes: “I closed the lot about 3 years ago when my mom had a stroke. It sat empty for a couple years, the cars that were for sale on it were other lots parking them there or people we didn’t even know parking them there (every once in awhile the guys from the Firestone would sell a car off of it with permission … it’s a mechanic shop for about the last year. So might want to edit that part, but yea Todd (Coleman) still owns it and rents it to the the owners of the shop. I’ve heard a couple rumors it could be for sale, but I’m not 100%. Could be just rumors.”