Friday, April 19, 2019

Mall On Duval

It was last Friday evening I parked the car at the Old Town parking lot at Fire Station 2 on Simonton Street. From there Rusty and I took the alleyway past the Onlywood restaurant and debouched onto Duval Street.
Wasn't I surprised to see a whole bunch of diners sitting in the roadway. I had forgotten that on Friday and Saturday evenings the middle blocks of Duval Street are an experimental pedestrian zone.
You can check out the website here  but there isn't much more information to be had. It might be helpful to know city ambassadors in orange vests are there to offer friendly advice and guidance but you can also turn to the police officers on patrol.
My pictures were obviously taken early in the evening so you will have to take my word for it this experiemnt is proving to be a success and why shouldn't it? It's long overdue. 
The pedestrian zone was supposed to end this month but the city extended it into July to see how strong the local support is for the event after the snowbirds go home. So far so good. And if you don't feel well the fire department has two well equipped paramedics ready to take care of anyone in need in the pedestrian zone. A fully equipped advanced life support ambulance is parked two blocks away at the fire station in case you were worried.
And it seems you can get a  tattoo al fresco if you so choose!
There are a couple of prominent local voices raised against the Mall on Duval experiment. It sounds odd at first but their concerns are financial as it costs the city five thousand bucks a night to put on this show.
The interesting thing is, some of the merchants outside the three block zone are agitating for the pedestrian area to be expanded as they see loss of trade where the vehicles drive. It seems pretty obvious this idea is a good one and I hope it will grow,  
I like walking and I think the streets lend themselves to a permanent pedestrian zone on Duval. Move traffic one way on Simonton Street and the other on Whitehead Street, and after lunch you close Duval Street to allow deliveries to be completed and then you have a giant friendly open air hang out where people could shop and gather and eat and drink. 
Include the Bourbon just outside the zone, which looked festive and welcoming with outside stools lined up ready for customers later.
I happened to meet Bill and Toni from Syracuse who tried to steal Rusty but he wasn't having any. Good dog. They were enjoying the mall from their home on Stock Island in between wasting their time reading this page. Hi there!
See? You never know who you'll meet at the Mall on Duval.