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Lawrence city commissioner Lance Johnson is pictured near the corner of Eighth and Massachusetts streets. Johnson would like to see a broad community discussion about the future of downtown and ways to enhance its vitality in a 21st century retail environment.

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blindrabbit 5 years, 4 months ago

Lot's of good postings on this topic! As a former business owner in downtown Lawrence, I feel changes are needed. The idea of a pedestrian mall on Mass. St. itself, while interesting is probably not feasible because of traffic flow and parking issues. To close one block of Mass. for special occasions is interesting and would probably work, a permanent closing would create major street traffic flow issues.

Better yet is the permanent closing of side streets (especially 8th between Mass and New Hampshire and maybe between Mass and Vermont). This should have minimal impact on traffic flow as 7th and 9th would serve as cross connectors (maybe each could be one way, one East, one West). The then closed 8th street could be used per concepts discussed in the lead story; for outdoor venues, art displays, fountains, music, theater, car displays, etc, etc. The recent Sandbar event was a good example of what can be done to attract people Downtown. This could be accomplished very inexpensively, (maybe just a trial run at first).

If the 8th Street closing concept were to work, another next-step might be the same on 10th. Again, with careful planning, the traffic flow could be maintained, with minimal parking disruptions. This should provide a needed boost for the South end of the Downtown footprint.

My concern is that while many realize people that some changes are needed, the forward progress of this will be dulled by special interest groups, naysayers and the anti-progressives. Maybe a constructive forum, eliciting worthwhile suggestions needs to be opened to discuss the concept further. Maybe Commissoner Johnson could lead the way. Lets move forward, in a constructive, well thought out manner.

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