The City of Edmonds has announced that Walkable Main Street will resume this weekend and continue for the foreseeable future. This decision enhances the quality of life and encourages community interactions. With the Farmer’s Market also taking place on weekends, Edmonds will offer a beautiful downtown experience in the weeks and months to come.
As the city moves forward on this plan, here are a couple of suggestions.
- Did the city conduct a survey to gauge stakeholder perception of the previous Walkable Main Street experiment? If it did, the survey and other documentation summarizing stakeholder interactions should be made available on the city’s website. A good government is a transparent one.
- Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the Walkable Main Street. This means the city needs to provide a transportation system, such as golf carts so that those with mobility issues can take advantage of the downtown. Similarly, public restrooms should be made accessible (irrespective of whether we have a car-infested or a Walkable Downtown). Both these issues are important for many senior citizens who are critical pillars of the Edmonds community.
- There is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that restaurants favor Walkable Main Street while other establishments do not. Of course, the stakeholder survey can shed some light on this. We also suspect that not closing 5th between the Fountain and Dayton helps address this concern.
But we wonder if restaurants can voluntarily begin to offer a 5% (or even 10%) discount to any customer who presents a receipt of shopping in a downtown store on that day. This could motivate those planning to visit restaurants to include downtown shopping during their visit. Participating restaurants could display a notice something along these lines, “5% Discount for Downtown Shoppers.”
In any democracy, it is difficult to get a consensus. This is even more challenging in these polarized times. Nevertheless, it is critical to make a good faith effort to address the objections to Walkable Main Street.
Congratulations again to Mayor Mike Nelson, who has brought a refreshingly new governance style to the city of Edmonds.
Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash