The other week an Manchester Journal editorial pointed out that "strolling down Main Street with minimal traffic to worry about is something of a pleasant change for pedestrians, at least. What would happen if Main Street were turned into a mini Church Street in Burlington-style pedestrian mall?"
What a great idea for us here in Manchester to explore. I lived in Burlington before, during, and after the change of Church Street to a pedestrian walkway. It changed the face of the city for the better by drawing more people to the center of town.
With the focus going into the two roundabouts in downtown Manchester we should start to think of ways we can work off of that energy and rejuvenate the heart of our town. An idea to explore would be to close off Main Street from the Baptist Church to Maplefields during the summer. Perhaps on weekends at first as a trial. Businesses are already talking of more outdoor seating with the new configuration of Main Street; with Main Street at a pedestrian walkway even more could be done to draw people there. I believe there may have been an attempt once in the past to do this; we should examine what worked and what did not.
One of the side benefits of the building of the roundabouts has been the number of people who go to the site to see what is going on; we need more reasons to get people to the center of town. A pedestrian walkway on Main Street and the related activities it could bring is an idea worth exploring.
Rabbi Michael M. Cohen