Traverse City DDA Survey Shows Community Supportive of Pedestrian-Only Front Street and Other Changes
The majority of Downtown Traverse City business owners say they’re super happy that Front Street was closed to cars this summer.
The DDA made Front Street pedestrian only, changed State Street to two-way traffic for a few blocks, added handwashing stations, and allowed restaurants to extend their outdoor seating into the street.
The study’s conclusions are overwhelming: 73% of downtown business owners say they loved Front Street being closed to cars and 88% of visitors say they liked it too.
“As a business owner I loved it. All for it. People lingered longer downtown because you had those nice little setups,” said Alison Knowles, the owner of Cali’s. “I’d see little kids on their scooters just having a blast! To see that livelihood and community, I hope [the DDA] continues.”
Nifty Things says it helped their foot traffic too.
“I think more people felt more invited to come down which is a good aspect,” said assistant manager Mikenna Meredith.
Green House Café loved that the main drag was pedestrian only, in fact, they said this was their “best summer ever.”
CEO of the DDA, Jean Derenzy, says it as exciting to connect with businesses affected by the changes.
“What we found out with the survey really is that people value space. So how are we going to accommodate the businesses the retail? Really building on a downtown,” said Derenzy.
It’s unclear if the DDA will make Front Street pedestrian-only again in 2021.
“The closure itself? I think we need to look at other aspects. When it comes to understanding how it plays with restaurants, with retail and with business, it can’t be just a one-sized-fits all,” she said.
The DDA’s discussions are ongoing.
To read the full study, click here.