Sidney not set up for a pedestrian mall

Sidney doesn’t even meet the criteria for a successful mainstreet-only pedestrian area

In response to the some of the prevailing letters and discussion regarding the Town of Sidney giving a pedestrian mall consideration for Beacon Avenue, instead of a two way street.

A great reference paper on pedestrian malls was put together recently, courtesy of Richard Talbot & Associates.

Essentially, these types of malls are a product of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s which most cities have phased out or are phasing out due to failure.

Sidney doesn’t even meet the criteria for a successful mainstreet-only pedestrian area. Most people need to arrive to Sidney by car as other transit options are not readily available. There is not a substantial downtown population which can support such a mall.

Peoples’ reference to how such malls work so well in Europe is because of the cultural/social/economic differences that exist between European and North American cities.

In particular, the final paragraph of Talbot & Associates’ well-researched paper states:

“A growing number of U.S. communities are finding that providing enhanced pedestrian space while also providing vehicular access accomplishes the major goals designers intended pedestrian malls to accomplish.  When Raleigh reopened Fayetteville Street in 2006, it reopened it as a two-lane road with a lane of parallel parking on each side of the street and a sidewalk wide enough to accommodate outdoor dining, rather than as the six-lane thoroughfare it once was.”

Please give careful consideration to the lessons one can learn from those that have traveled this path before.

The research and experience far supports two-way vehicular traffic with wide pedestrian areas in downtown areas, especially those of small towns.

Steve Duck, TIDES Group

Sidney