Second Mall Crossing Likely

A second vehicular crossing on the Downtown Mall is likely to be approved by City Council on March 6, John Yellig writes in today’s Daily Progress. Business owners say that downtown businesses aren’t getting enough exposure to vehicular traffic; opponents point out that the Downtown Mall appears to be doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

How many cross streets are necessary for a pedestrian mall to just become a “street”?

9 Responses to “Second Mall Crossing Likely”


  • I like the idea. As it stands now, you can cross at the east end, but can’t get back across without going to 10th street (although there are signs, most people won’t find it). The existing crossing is a great dropoff and access for transit. Perhaps better access at a west end crossing can attract an anchor like the theater and ice rink at the other end. For now, the west end is dead in the evening unless there is a concert in the pavilion.

    It will be important to set up the crossing with texture and signage to feel like a vehicle crossing of a pedestrian space, not a pedestrian mall that crosses a street. The west crossing could still be improved in this way.

  • Speaking as one who both lives and works on the mall, I’m not terribly thrilled with the idea of yet another mall crossing. Particularly so close to The Discovery Place, with its plethora of break-away children running full-tilt down the mall ahead of their parents or guardians. It certainly will do little to enliven the east end of the mall. Very little is open at night. The tea room. Bashir’s, a few nights a week. That’s pretty much it. Allowing a crossing will not create new shop space with late night entertainment. That would require fully-functioning, theoretically successful daytime shops and restaurants to close, in order to free up additional room.

    Better parking options, particularly near that end of the mall, are still of higher priority, in my mind.

  • As a worrier, this makes me less enthusiastic about taking my kids to the Mall to visit the Discovery Museum and get lunch/gelato on the Mall. As it is now, I enter the Mall at the west end with the current crossing and begin heading away from it–as soon as we’re away from the vehicle crossing, I relax and let my five year old run ahead while I deal with the smaller one. If I know that there’s a SECOND vehicle crossing that I have to worry about and I have to be constantly reining in my bigger kid, that’s a less relaxing visit to the Mall for me.

    It’s a stupid thing, probably, but there it is.

  • Cecil, I don’t think that’s stupid at all. I’m in the same boat and simply have never understood downtown business owners’ obsession with basically doing away with the pedestrian mall.

  • Maybe better signage is needed. But I have no sympathy for those who want a vehicle crossing because they don’t want to park and walk a few blocks.
    With all you hear about obesity and the need for exercise these days, why would we even consider this?
    Maybe I’m being unfair, but my gut reaction is “Yeah, it would be a pity if some of these people had to get up off their lazy butts and walk a few steps”!

  • I’ve been arguing against this one for years — which first raised its ugly head well before the transit center was approved (just after it’s shift from West Main). Argued clearly that the traffic snafu created by the transit center location needed to be sorted out BEFORE it was built. Got lots of nods in agreement — no actual action, of course.

    My understanding is that many OOT visitors use the Market Street garage and don’t know where to go when they discover it’s full. Reversing the flow of the extant crossing would solve that one (and make less incoherent the intersection where traffic faces itself but can’t go forward). The other arguments for the crossing really don’t hold up.

  • The 5th Street Mall crossing is open for north bound traffic. I was there this afternoon Feb 24 and saw a car move slowly through. There is a STOP sign facing south at Albemarle First Bank. Yeah- across from old A&N just up from that Holsinger condo construction mess. It struck me odd because I expected south bound traffic, an inner loop. East 4th St was blocked as usual.

    I support the double crossing, not to vindicate the historical opponents of the mall, but as a practical matter. The additional crossing must be 5th so the central segment of the mall can be as large as possible. 5th connects to Market St parking garage. It’s not unusual to be walking down Water or Market and be asked, where’s the downtown mall? So delivery trucks don’t have to back up. You can drop somebody off for an errand and loop around and pick them up.

    It would be an incredible dropoff/pickup location for Friday’s After Five. Drop the wife and kids, go park the minivan, meet up later, wait here, I’ll get the car and loop around. Stand here to catch a cab or bus. The 2nd-5th inside loop will spawn a new revitalization of downtown…maybe new bricks and modest, manageable trees.

  • I thought it was supposed to go from Market to Water – ie south, but it seems to be operating the other way around. Having a second crossing pointed in the same direction as the other doesn’t do the things I was hoping a new crossing would. Does anyone know what the deal is?

  • I saw a car parked facing south the other day and wondered the same thing as urbanitas. One north and one south crossing, while not ideal in my opinion, makes much more sense than two northbound streets.

    If this new crossing becomes the new pick up and drop off spot, I see myself getting down to that spot and turning back so I don’t have to deal with the congestion. I wonder what businesses were in favor of this…the ones on the very far end of the mall (Bagby’s, Celtic Knot, etc) or the ones just in front of the cross street.

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