Charlottesville Leaders, Residents Give Input on Downtown Mall Street Crossings

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After Wednesday’s car attack in New York City, the conversation about street crossings is back in the spotlight.

Charlottesville has been working on ways to keep the Downtown Mall safer, near 4th Street and 2nd Street, especially since August 12, but when it comes to closing streets, there’s a lot of different opinions. Some say it will affect businesses if the streets close and others don't think it will solve anything.

"I don't think they should close it, I know that there was talk maybe about doing a “memorial park” or something, I think that would be really nice, but I think that it would hurt the commerce downtown and just the availability to cut back and forth … if all of these were through streets, sure,” Mike Rodi, owner of Rapture, said.

Rodi wants to see better signage on adjacent streets like Water Street and East Market, as well as on the DTM itself.

“If you're not that familiar with the Mall than you might not realize that you are at a road crossing or that your toddler that is running half a block ahead of you is about to run into a street because it’s bricked over just like any street, you know. We're used to when you get to an intersection seeing a curb and pavement,” Rodi said.

City Councilor Bob Fenwick says he doesn't think closing the streets would make a difference

“If we were to block one street, a person who is looking for target, he was a lone wolf looking for a victim, would merely go to another street or would merely use another method of terrorism,” Fenwick said.

Others think the cross streets should be closed.

"This area is mostly use for shopping as it is, I just don't see a need for cars to drive in and out of it,” Sarah Iqbal, who lives in Charlottesville, said.

Fenwick says the city is doing something, but he wouldn't say exactly what.

“There’s thing we can do better, the intelligence statewide they can come up with a protocol for cities to be more secure,” Fenwick said. “We're not the only ones who will listen to this broadcast, that's part of the problem, we're up against a very craft strategic opponent.”

Fenwick says Council always welcomes citizens to come forward with ideas on what could be done with 2nd Street and 4th Street.

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