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  • 1.
  • The bayfront does indeed have potential. The biggest mistake would be to think that you could make Main Street into an "enclosed mall" by closing the street to car traffic. Chicago made that mistake by closing down State Street to car traffic a couple of decades ago and the businesses died. Some twenty years later and many hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue, the street was opened up again. Business success immediately. Learn a lesson. Do the right thing. The lesson is don't do anything stupid. People love the open air. I often drive Main Street on Sunday to scope out any changes. Most people will not walk its length. Cutting short car traffic would be just plain stupid.
  • Milan Adrian
    Sun 11th Oct 2009
    at 7:36pm
  • 2.
  • Thank you for this splendid reportage by your City Editor Robin ROY "Pedestrian Mall Proposed" . More kudos to Ian Black and Robert Vecchione for their initiative.
    When I moved to Sarasota from Colorado, home of Boulder's world-famous pedestrian mall - I moved here on account of Sarasota's many artistic gems and cultural attractions. I had the feeling that our "sense of space" -, with our magnificent beaches already in place, was just around the corner.

    In Colorado I was intimately involved with financing the individual property owners along the proposed Pedestrian Mall, as director of the largest mortgage company in the Rocky Mountain region.
    Enormous opposition had to be overcome. The merchants and property owners along the blocks to be converted from vehicular traffic to pedestrian strolls were virtually unanimous in their opposition. All feared serious business interruption the construction would entail.

    The leaders at Boulder's City Hall were fearless and persisted.
    Imaginative signage minimized business interruption.

    And as soon as the first two city blocks were converted and business started to boom, opposition among those affected on the additional city blocks was greatly diminished.
    Now that the Boulder Pedestrian Mall is a sensational success, everybody loves it ! The same old story.
    When I returned to Boulder recently [to be with my daughter on her 25th birthday] I don't remember seeing a single "For Sale" sign or vacancy along the Pedestrian Mall! {How many are sadly proliferating on our own Main Street nowadays?]
    There is virtually NO RECESSION in Boulder, Colorado, thanks partly to the thousands of people thronging - and shopping! - along the beautifully landscaped pedestrian mall!.
    I feel Ian's pain about Sarasota failing to reach its huge potential. I am trying to do something about my beloved Sarasota reaching its full potential- create a world-class art museum in downtown Sarasota. [Friends have warned me: I'm attempting to climb Mount Everest.]

    One of my first suggestions: make the first pedestrian mall block in Sarasota - the one running from Main Street on Palm Avenue along the City's new Garage Complex, [near the proposed new art museum site].
    It would entail little or no additional cost .
    And it could arise PRONTO - open for business by the end of next year!
    And anyway - why on earth have unsightly street parking along an unexciting building with many hundreds of parking spaces?!
    My expectation is that when folks can "see with their own eyes" the business and visual success of that first pedestrian mall block, the property owners and businesses along Main Street from 301 down to 41 would see the light and enthusiastically support Sarasota's pedestrian mall! That would be a fine beginning for Sarasota to reach its beautiful potential .

    Recently I examined a photograph of Main Street as it looked some 100 years ago - Main Street lined on both sides with horseless carriages, parked aslant, to allow maximum "horse and buggy age" parking.
    Is in not time for Sarasota to find its sense of place, as we are about to enter the second decade of the 21st Century ?

    Douglass Montrose-Graem
    Founder/Director The Turner Museum and Thomas Moran Galleries
    [Editor please note: my affiliation and website I give you permission to publish]

  • DOUGLASS Montrose-Graem
    Sun 11th Oct 2009
    at 3:19pm
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