Both Downtown Bridges Now Open; Finishing Touches This Week
Bringing nearly to a close the temporary bridges construction project that began June 1 (with three weeks off for our midsummer activities on the Village Green), Kubricky opened Merchants Row to motorists and pedestrians late Friday afternoon, a day earlier than planned (see photo of the first car crossing the bridge). As I mentioned on Friday, we’ll see a significant improvement in pedestrian and traffic safety on Merchants Row but the new patterns will take a little getting used to. Since many were headed out of town or at Field Days on Friday, I thought I would recap what you’ll find on Merchants Row. But do come on down and check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. During this coming week, Kubricky will wind the project down with some finishing touches. I’ll report on those during the week.
Merchants Row Now One Way Up the Hill. The most significant change is that Merchants Row is now one way only, up the hill toward Court Square and South Pleasant Street. (The one exception is traffic exiting the Battell Block parking lot and I’ll get to that in a minute.) Driving northbound or southbound on Main Street, you can make the right or the left onto Merchants Row. Then you’ll follow the lane markings to the left-hand side of the temporary bridge and continue up the hill to either Court Square or South Pleasant Street at the monument. (You can also park in either the lower or upper stretch of Merchants Row.) You will not be able to turn down Merchants Row from either Court Square or South Pleasant Street.
Walking Merchants Row. On Main Street a footbridge carries pedestrians across the rail line. On Merchants Row, you’ll actually walk across the temporary bridge. Here’s how it will work. If you’re walking from Main Street to Town Hall Theater, for example, you’ll walk up the sidewalk on the Battell side of the street. In front of Carol’s Hungry Mind Café, you’ll enter a cross walk that will take you to the right-hand lane of the temporary bridge. At the crosswalk, you’ll want to look left and right because traffic could be entering and exiting the Battell Block parking lot. You’ll walk up the temporary bridge to a second crosswalk that will take you back to the sidewalk in front of Bourdon Insurance and on up to Town Hall Theater. While on the bridge you’ll be protected from traffic by concrete Jersey barriers on the left and by 4-foot chain-link fencing on your right. Guard rails at either end of the bridge will also separate you from traffic. You will not be able to walk up Merchants Row in front of Triangle Park. That sidewalk is gone in favor of a truck loading zone (more on that below). But you will be able to take the cross walk from The Diner to the monument and then over to the Village Green and vice-versa.
Entering and Exiting the Battell Block Parking Lot. The Battell Block parking lot reopened on Friday to deliveries and to those who live and work there. To enter the parking lot, turn right on Main Street and follow the lane marking to the parking lot entrance, which is in the same place as before, right next to Curve Appeal. You’ll need to watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk running from Carol’s to the temporary bridge. Exiting the parking lot will be much safer than in the past when motorists had no line of sight with pedestrians. You’ll come up the incline and onto the level roadway and up to a Stop sign and a No Right Turn sign just before the pedestrian crosswalk. Then you’ll slowly move forward until you have a clear line of sight on traffic moving one way up the hill and you’ll then head down to Main Street, where you can turn either right or left. You will not be able to exit the parking lot and turn right and go across the temporary bridge, the turning radius is too tight.
Parking on Merchants Row. You can park in front of the Battell Block as in the past. There are now 8 parking spaces. The first spot off of Main Street is a handicapped spot. When you leave your parking space, back up and continue up the hill and over the temporary bridge. The parking alongside Triangle Park is gone, replaced with a truck loading zone. Larger delivery trucks will not be able to negotiate the narrow entryway to the Battell parking lot. On the upper stretch of Merchants Row there are 25 parking spaces on both sides of the street, including one handicapped spot in front of Bourdon Insurance.
Questions. Let me know your questions and concerns about the new setup on Merchants Row. I think it will become clearer once you’ve seen it and driven it or walked it a few times.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.