Flock, we have a problem.
When I was at Pints for Progress last week, I naturally detoured into the State Park. After all, who goes downtown without taking a peek at the Falls?
The entrance to the State Park is perfect for what it is. You’re greeted with stone and lush greenery that a natural wonder of the world deserves.
Then you turn around, and are hit with a street.
The fact that a street is facing directly toward the entrance of the State Park might seem logical: you don’t want tourists getting lost, after all.
However, Old Falls Street isn’t exactly the best planned road. Not only is parking nonexistent, the middle block is often blocked off for events during the summer, making it basically useless.
I don’t think I need to mention the safety concerns that also exist having a road end at the entrance of a massive State Park.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to make Old Falls Street pedestrian-only?
I can already here the comments. “We did that: it didn’t work.”
I am fully aware of the fact that cars have only returned to Old Falls within the last decade, as my adoration of the Wintergarden can attest to.
However, the issue with the pedestrian mall was, in fact, that same Wintergarden. The middle block of the street was barricaded by a building, forcing tourists to walk for blocks around it. That was incredibly poor planning.
That barricade is gone. In its place is a road that is half used, half baked, and fully illogical. So here’s my idea:
Old Falls Street can be broken into three separate pedestrian-only areas. Third to First, First to Rainbow, and Rainbow to Prospect.
Almost every business on Old Falls Street can be reached via the intersecting streets, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Vehicles can also get the the State Park through these streets, and will have to pass by many more downtown businesses (which should mean more customers).
The pedestrian-only blocks can be made into walkable green space: a natural extension of the State Park that makes the Cataract City infinitely more welcoming to the visitor’s eye.
What do you think of this idea? Do you think that Old Falls Street should go back to pedestrian-only, or should we keep the cars? Let me know in the comments.