Returning cars to Main will create new problems
The downtown commuter experience and residential growth are presently being compromised by Main Street construction, but contrary to what officials claim, this will be no temporary inconvenience. Problems will continue to plague downtown residents and Metro Rail service long after the work has been completed.
All along we could have settled for an improved pedestrian mall without automobiles. We could have created an inviting, attractive, centralized hub for downtown residents, tourists, theatergoers and restaurateurs wishing to provide outside dining. Instead we’ve pursued the opposite. Cars Sharing Main Street sounds very nice and cozy, but if you walk or ride a bike, you know cars don’t share anything. They’re big, they’re noisy, they pollute the air and they threaten to run over you, even when you’re on the sidewalk.
We never needed this project. Our money could have been used to extend Metro Rail service and improve the pedestrian mall. We spurned our chance to develop the most unique, people-friendly downtown in the nation.
Nevertheless, we can always take pride that the soon-to-be-opened 600 block of Main Street will provide some of the best drive-by theater you’ll ever see, anywhere.
Michael J. Zobel