June 18, 2007
City council voted 3 to 2 in favor of keeping the east crossing open to cars who choose to use it to get from Market Street to Water Street.
A lot of those who chose to speak at the meeting were downtown business owners. They say this crossing brings good business, not bad blood, to the area.
"It's much easier for our customers. It's easy for people who live down here to navigate the area, and it has not been a safety issue which many people were afraid that it would be," said Joan Fenton, who owns a business on the mall.
Morgan Perkins, another business owner, said, "The flow of traffic and the ability to get to the businesses is as important as anything else, because if, in fact, the businesses aren't successful, then none of us will be here."
But critics say commerce and revenue should not be the important factors, and pedestrian safety should be.
Local resident Richard Barman says that with the amount of space given to vendors and restaurants, it’s almost impossible to walk on the mall. He thinks allowing cars to fight for the extra space is simply ludicrous.
"It’s no longer a pedestrian mall; it's a pedestrian obstacle course. A pedestrian mall is not meant to grab your children by the hand and walk carefully looking both ways to make sure there’s no car coming," said Barman.