Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, July 9, 2012

Church Street Events: Too much of a good thing?

Blocking off street affects whole neighborhood.

There have always been Plainfield events that block off a portion of Church Street between Front and Second Streets, but lately I noticed a spike that has me wondering if the Council should consider whether there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

The area that gets used is actually designated as Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza and lies between the YWCA and Hugo's. It is set apart from the ordinary street by a distinctive brickwork sidewalk which, however, is in urgent need of repairs and attention. In places bricks have been heaved by growing street trees and in other spots they are simply missing altogether -- a liability issue for the city if ever there was one.

But what has caught my eye is the increase in the numbers of street closings for get-togethers and other public events: the annual community BBQ by Plainfield firefighters is a regular tradition, but an upcoming health fair, a July 4th party by Hugo's, and fifteen Sundays set aside for the motorcycle community are new uses, giving a grand total of 18 closures this summer alone.

I wonder if the Council has taken into account that Church Street is one way southbound, meaning that the residents in the rowhouses and apartment buildings beyond the YWCA are triply inconvenienced as to access, parking and noise. Access by YWCA members to its parking lot is blocked, and the restaurant and gas station on the corner of East 2nd Street as well as J.M. Benjamin's bookstore also have the traffic flow to their businesses impeded.

It's not that I don't think community events and gatherings are important, but to inconvenience a neighborhood for the entire summer to the commercial benefit of only one business seems a bit excessive.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Perhaps Church street should be turned into a pedistrian mall.