Car-Free Main Street Is Coming Tonight to Northampton
Tonight, we’ll get a taste of what Northampton could be like all year ’round. That’s because the Downtown Northampton Association, the new version of the now-disbanded Business Improvement District, is holding its first Holiday Stroll, and Main Street will be blocked off and no cars will be driving through between New South Street and the corner of Strong Avenue.
The Holiday Stroll will be held Dec. 9 from 5-8 p.m. and will allow visitors to enjoy Main Street on foot. Everyone at the new organization is excited–and I think this is about the best first foot they could have put forward. Blocking cars takes nerve–and pays off because it makes such a huge difference!
For once the tyranny of the car-dominated world we inhabit will be gone–people will be walking in the street and enjoying it, I guarantee. Just like when they stopped letting cars dominate New York City’s Times Square, it changed everything. If you visit Burlington Vermont, or Boulder Colorado, you’ll also see how much of a difference blocking out cars has on a place.
The last time the city blocked off Main Street was when a candlelight vigil was held after the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub shootings in June. Then, people held candles of sorrow and remembrance. Tonight, it will be a happier reason, but a good one nonetheless. I hope that every person who enjoys the holiday stroll will reflect on what a great idea it would be to have events like this every month, or every Sunday, like they do in Mexico City. There, the huge Reforma boulevard is a pedestrian bikes-only street on Sundays.
We could do that too, and I guarantee no one will miss the ever present cars and trucks on Main Street.