Mall Crossings Discussed

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

"Why don't you come to the mall? People say it is not a mall, it is a construction mall," said shop owner Zahida Alikhan.

Mall goers and tourists are used to the sight of construction on the downtown mall. In response to a request from the Downtown Business Association, City Council took up the idea of opening either Fourth or Fifth Streets to vehicular traffic to possibly encourage business on the east end.

"Our customers are complaining that it is difficult to park, to access, and to circulate around the mall, and those are problems that we want to address," said Bob Stroh of the Downtown Business Association.

Sixth and Seventh Streets have been closed to cars since construction on the east end began in November. This has eliminated any vehicular crossing. What the association would like to see is the opening of either Fourth or Fifth Streets between Market and Water Streets to encourage an easy pass for cars to find a way from the north side of the mall to the south. If this happened, they believe this would open more options for parking and shopping.

"If we want to see those businesses thrive and be down there, we need to do the things we can to support them," said Joan Fenton of the Downtown Business Association.

The idea of making a crossing at the mall brought many different reactions from resident and business owners.

"Here we have a quiet peaceful stretch of uninterrupted space that people can get away from the hustle and stress of modern day life," said a Charlottesville resident.

"People come in and say that I have been here three or four times and finally someone directed me to the mall. And then when I got down here, I could not get from one end of the town to the other," said a mall business owner.

"The reason that mall is wonderful is because of the lack of cars," said a Charlottesville resident.

So far this is only a proposal from the Downtown Business Association, and there are no immediate time tables for a decision. However, council promised to take up the matter at a future date.

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