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Would you support the idea of turning part of downtown into a pedestrian mall?

Response Percent Votes
51% 702
42% 583
Not sure
5% 81
Total 1366


John Hamm 8 years, 9 months ago

Look back to what happened to downtown Kansas City, KS folks. It'll never recover!

John Kyle 8 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence tried the downtown mall before. Remember. Leave downtown alone. This is one of the best downtowns in Kansas if not the whole midwest.

ashmole 8 years, 9 months ago

Parsons tried it. Then, after all the businesses had died, and a tornado ripped through, they brought the cars back in. The downtown Atchison pedestrian district is a ghost town.

If anything needs to be done to improve downtown Lawrence, it is to expand parking towards the north end of Mass Street.

Bill Kearney 8 years, 9 months ago

In my 50+ years of living and traveling, I have never seen a dowtown "pedestiran" mall be successful. Out of town visitors are not likely to go to the trouble of trying to find a parking spot, (already an issue) and then go walking to discover whats available downtown. They are going to want to drive through it, see something that intrests them, and then park and explore.

In inclement weather; rain, snow, etc.. nobody would be downtown, it would be empty. At least now shoppers can park directly in front of a businesses and get inside quickly.

Lawrence is well known for its wonderful unique downtown shopping. Maybe the commision should consider financial incentives to attract more business to fill some "temporary" vacancies that are there now.

MeAndFannieLou 8 years, 9 months ago

Too bad "hell yeah" isn't one of the options!

Go to Ithaca, NY, or Boulder CO for examples of ped malls that work.

Also, the city needs to seize the blighted building at 11th and Mass (just south of the Granada) by imminent domain and convert that to parking.

50YearResident 8 years, 9 months ago

Kill if swiftly, make it into a pedestrian mall. Take out 150 parking spaces so people will have to walk in. Make downtown one of those places where "you can't get there from here".

canyon_wren 8 years, 9 months ago

Not living in Lawrence, I really don't have a strong opinion, but I remember when they changed Mass. St. significantly years ago with those little "sticking-out," landscaped obstructions, and that totally spoiled it for me, then.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt to turn one side street into a pedestrian mall, but it certainly wouldn't be an improvement, in my opinion. I keep reading about how the Lawrence City Fathers "want to bring business back downtown." Maybe it is already too late to pull people back there, but I doubt that making a pedestrian mall is the way to go. Making Lawrence more "cutesy" is not what is needed.

I do my major shopping in Grand Jct., Colo., where they did much the same with their Main Street as that earlier change on Mass. St., and they have lost so much business to GJ's mall. I never go downtown in GJ anymore, even though there are some good shops down there.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 9 months ago

Government picks winners and losers when it includes some businesses in a pedestrian mall and leaves others out. Just hope you're business isn't left out.

tatchity 8 years, 9 months ago

I just got back from a trip to Boulder, CO. Pearl Street is the towns main drag, and about 5 blocks of it is pedestrian only. I absolutely loved it, it was very pleasant and very busy. I don't know if Lawrence could support a similar set-up, but it would be very cool

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

One thing that could be done as a pedestrian mall that can't be done now is the deployment of temporary awnings in inclement weather. That could make rainy-day shopping even better.

puddleglum 8 years, 9 months ago

Parsons tried it. Then, after all the businesses had died, and a tornado ripped through, they brought the cars back in. The downtown Atchison pedestrian district is a ghost town.

If anything needs to be done to improve downtown Lawrence, it is to expand parking towards the north end of Mass Street.


puddleglum 8 years, 9 months ago

Blue 73-"It would work about as well as the Tanger and Riverfront Malls did. What a joke."

what does lance johnson get out of this? extra business for himself?

can we please elect a city commissioner that isn't all about himself/herself (hack)

headdoctor 8 years, 9 months ago

puddleglum (Anonymous) says… can we please elect a city commissioner that isn't all about himself/herself (hack)

Good luck with that. If it isn't about them, it is about the group that is backing them.

David Albertson 8 years, 9 months ago

Parking already sucks. Now they want you to park even further away? They REALLY want everybody to go to the new WalMart.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

I went through the 6th & Wakarusa intersection last night. I might as well have been in Olathe. Ug-ly.

Kim Murphree 8 years, 9 months ago

If it is done RIGHT like Boulder, would be GREAT and actually promote more visitors...but you have to take a look at how it WORKS in other cities that have been successful with that kind of move.

alm77 8 years, 9 months ago

Why does this pedestrian mall have to be permanent? Why not just make it one for special occasions? The side walk sale for one, maybe some days in March (to encourage people to go watch the tournament games there), and at Halloween.

It would be a great way to have your cake and eat it too!

SofaKing 8 years, 9 months ago

Except for the cars, it already is a pedestrian mall.

Ceallach 8 years, 9 months ago

Just returned from a trip that included a night in downtown Denver. It is an example of how lovely such a concept is when put into place. I was admiring their vision and enjoying the drive-by until we approached the Sheridan Hotel. I thought there was some sort of public entertainment nearby because of the crowd. Not so. It was evening and the homeless population was setting up house for the night. It was a beautiful night, but leisurely walking around wasn't an option. Most were not gentle folk, just look looking for a place to sleep. They were loud, angry, panhandlers. Berating those who sleep in a hotel; yet would not give them money. Since I was walking a dog I was also treated to the ire of some who thought me disgraceful for caring more about a dog than about people.

However, it might be one way to keep the homeless away from business doors.

Ceallach 8 years, 9 months ago

Aye, Linda, but their street residents are not.

malehrman 8 years, 9 months ago

State Street in Madison, WI may be a better model for Lawrence than Boulder. The street is closed to all vehicle traffic except taxis, buses, emergency vehicles and bicycles. This increases public usage of mass transit. There are also parking garages and several points just off State as well street parking on connecting streets.

Think about all of the extra businesses and attractions that could fit downtown by adding so much extra space.

Ceallach 8 years, 9 months ago

Course, Bolder does have that beauty thing going for it :)

Ralph Vickers 8 years, 9 months ago


George_Braziller 8 years, 9 months ago

Turning downtown into another Aggieville is precisely why this is an extremely bad idea. Oh, JUST parking issues? It would be a stinking nightmare.

edjayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Just look at the popularity of Aggieville. The only issue I could see would be parking.

George_Braziller 8 years, 9 months ago

That intersection is like driving through a worm hole. When I'm there I always wonder where the hell I am. Omaha, Lenexa, St. Louis, Chicago, Wichita ----- it all looks something you'd see coming off any interstate exit in the midwest.

gccs14r (Anonymous) says… I went through the 6th & Wakarusa intersection last night. I might as well have been in Olathe. Ug-ly.

George_Braziller 8 years, 9 months ago

I know Aggieville isn't just bars but there is a pretty high concentration of what's open at night.

Isn't the parking issue alone enough reason to blow this idea out of the water? Where would the parking be? Can't go north because of the river, can't go west because of Old West Lawrence Neighborhood, can't go east because of East Lawrence Neighborhood, and you can't go south becase of South Park.

Maybe just repealing the laws of gravity and having vehicles hover is the answer.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't think this would be that successful but of course those folks who live and work downtown and those who hang out at the coffee joints all day long might love it. I love our downtown but the parking garage should have been twice at big and the homeless folks should be in Ithaca, NY or Boulder, CO.

headdoctor 8 years, 9 months ago

I am amazed at how many people have all these great ideas for property that they do not own. While the tax payers might pick up some of the tab for a change, The property/business owners will be picking up the tab for the rest and if it fails, who really loses? I am positive that you who are full of ideas will not be there to pay the bills when the money isn't coming back in to pay off the debt.

RiverCityConservative 8 years, 9 months ago

I think the downtown area is already better than an outdoor or indoor mall. I remember the successful campaign to save the Lawrence downtown in 1980. It's a great downtown. To "maul" it would be akin to a third Quantrill raid. Save downtown Lawrence! There's nothing like it anywhere within 200 miles.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

If the parking garage ends up being a few spots short, add a deck, or build a similar structure in place of the surface lot in the 800 block of Vermont. That gets folks closer to the north end of downtown without having to ride the trolley. Issue passes to downtown employees so they have a specific place to park that doesn't inconvenience shoppers.

headdoctor 8 years, 9 months ago

edjayhawk (Anonymous) says… Did you ever think that maybe we will pay less taxes if more money is pumped into the local economy?

Umm, no. Ever meet a politician at any level of government that can't spend more money than is taken in? What I find amusing is all government groups including schools are upset and cutting their budgets. Ever wonder why, if they can cut the budgets now and make it what have they been doing all the past years?

George_Braziller 8 years, 9 months ago

No, the parking problem hasn't been "blown way out of proportion." People who work downtown daily don't even park in the long-term lots. They just spew into the neighborhoods and park for eight or ten hours. Bob Schumm is one of the worst offenders with his "Buffalo" truck.

edjayhawk (Anonymous) says… The parking issue is blown way out of proportion. There are creative ways to make it happen.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 9 months ago

No problem with me. I live in New York, where they have redesigned Broadway as one huge green area for bikes, tables and facilities for pedestrians. The traffic got worse, but those who don't drive are having a ball...

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

The Broadway thing is an experiment through the end of the year. If they like it, they'll keep it. Otherwise, it gets traffic on it again.

One problem with a lot of the failed ped malls was that they didn't have nearby residential, so there was no one downtown after dark, making the mall a scary place. We won't have that problem here in Lawrence.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

I find it interesting that people who won't walk 100' to get to a downtown business will happily walk 500' to get into a soulless box store.

BrentS 8 years, 9 months ago

What's the benefit? Downtown Lawrence is one of the few commercial downtowns I have seen that manages to be pedestrian-friendly without being car-hostile. Making a whole lot of hot pavement available for pedestrians isn't going to solve many problems, and it'll create a ton of others -- parking, access, traffic on bypass streets, etc.

It ain't broke, don't fix it!

thelonious 8 years, 9 months ago

BrentS -

So well said. Seems to me like Lawrence has hit on a solid middle path - ped friendly without throwing cars under the bus (no pun intended). It doesn't have to be peds or cars, folks - it can be both, already is in Lawrence, why mess with that? So much black and white thinking in the world today.....sigh.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

One of the complaints of downtown merchants is not having enough outdoor space. Getting rid of the street would mean that retailers could have plenty of outdoor space.

Julie Buske Manweiler 8 years, 9 months ago

No way - It killed downtown Parsons. My family has been there for generations, and we watched thriving community become a ghost town.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

Parsons has a whopping 11,000 people and appears to have been a poor fit for a pedestrian mall.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Turning Mass Street into a pedestrian mall will cost taxpayers many many many many millions. And will likely hurt sales. So this is how the super majority will guard our tax dollars? maybe just campaign rhetoric.

I have spent plenty of time in Boulder "on the hill" before and after the pedestrian Mall.

Boulder may have seemed like the Ped Mall was a success. But "the Hill" is located more or less across the road from the university. KU is not more or less across the road from Downtown Lawrence.

Boulder Attractions: *Trout fishing and inner-tubing near downtown Boulder

*Boulder Fights to Save Wide Open Spaces

*"The Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid: The Winning 25" (Boulder ranked #1)

  • "Cities with the Highest Ratio of Artists in the Country" - (Boulder ranked #6) National Endowment for the Arts

  • July 2008, "Top 25 Arts Destinations" - (small city category; Boulder ranked #8) American Style magazine, Aug. 2008,

*"Top 100 Destinations in the World" - Trip Advisor, April 2008

*"Top 25 Destinations in the U.S." - Trip Advisor, April 2008

*"Top 10 World's Greener Cities" - Urban Land Green magazine, Spring 2008

*"Best Green Places to Live in America" - (Boulder ranked #5), Country Home magazine, March 2008

*"Smartest Cities in America" - (Boulder ranked #1), Forbes magazine, February 2008

Boulder attracts millions of tourists year round due to many obvious reasons besides all of the above. Summer weather is quite pleasant,fall colors in the mountains is quite pleasant,winter in the mountains is quite pleasant and spring is awesome. Boulder also has a great library.

Like I said Boulder and Lawrence are two different animals

"Best Places for Business and Careers" (Boulder ranked #20) - Forbes magazine, March 2009.... In Lawrence the powers that be are always trying to put people out of business by allowing this small town to accumulate more than a million additional square feet of retail than small town Lawrence can support.

While Lawrence has fine attributes it is not Boulder,Colorado.

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