Today, as part of our weeklong review of the follow-up survey I conducted in late September on this summer’s temporary bridges construction project, we’ll focus on what those responding to the survey had to say when asked the survey’s final question: “What else would you like to tell us about your experience with this summer’s construction project?”
I’ve highlighted below what I think are some representative observations.
"My wife and I made a conscious effort to shop and eat downtown during the project. I hope community support will continue throughout this odyssey."
"The daily communications/updates were perfect. If you read them you knew what happened that day and what would follow during the week."
"The biggest hassle for me was the lack of pedestrian access to the Marble Works when Printer's Alley was closed. The entrance at Seymour/Maple is too far around and the steep hill to the Frog Hollow bridge is also a deterrent when coming from the Washington Street area. During the closure I avoided the Marble Works more than I would have liked to."
"Parking was tricky at times in Midd before the construction and will probably be difficult still after construction. But walking is good for us humans."
"We need support money from the State to help our businesses."
"Hoping that businesses, along with the Chamber and BMP, can be creative in addressing the impact (like the evening event). We (residents) want to help. We love and support our downtown. Negativity and "woe is me" doesn't help the shopping experience. Neighbors Together has been great. We can learn a lesson from their can-do attitude. Maybe Middlebury College can be involved in some creative solutions and research, perhaps a student project? And reminders about keeping our eyes on the prize: two new bridges, enhanced safety, and Amtrak! We can do this."
"The 1st week of the project, our business was impacted by approximately 30% down but then the following weeks yielded growth."
"Having the evening event was a good idea and fun. Stores should be staying open later anyway and maybe this will finally be the impetus to do so! It would be nice if we had late hours at least once a month, which isn't asking much."
"It was actually fun exploring the site and watching the work taking place. I appreciate all the work that went into trying to mitigate the disruption of noise, dust and light for those who live in the area. These large projects are always difficult, but Middlebury really does a good job addressing concerns and being considerate of the impact on people."
"I really enjoyed the daily updates (even as a pedestrian I had to pay attention to my route!) and all the info about the area businesses. It was also nice to see community members pulling together to solve (or prevent) problems. I'm not sure it will be enough, however, for a multi-year project."
"The project made me think more about the town layout and I wonder about making Merchants Row one-way or, even better, closed to through traffic to get the NYC Broadway effect. This town would get more visitors if it became more lively at night and allowing restaurants to have seats outside would help with that a lot."
"It was great that the project was planned around the community, such as the delay for Festival on the Green, and the South Pleasant Street parking work was delayed until Merchants Row was open again. Meeting community needs should continue to be the priority. Incentives to shop downtown should be more than one evening."
"I hope to be convinced the rail improvement is necessary."
"What is frustrating to many of us residents is the level of resources on the local level spent to try to keep "downtown happy." . . . Seems we can never do enough for the "downtown."
"It is a necessary inconvenience for the greater good, and we will, as a community, get through it with grace and tact."
"Keep on truckin'. No, put it all on the train."
On Monday I’ll wrap up the reporting on the results of our survey.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.