Seeing that nobody is really sure when auto traffic will be extended down Main Street, there are some issues that should be addressed that could add some vibrancy to the corridor. For example, have you ever noticed that the area surrounding this gate is one of the dead spots on the street? Many of the buildings on the west side of the Metro Rail entrance/exit are empty – I’m sure that it’s not all thanks to the gate, but this is a long stretch of walkway that just happens to very close to the reemerging 700-block.
One of the nice things about Main is that much of the infrastructure is still intact. There are lots of historic buildings that offer visitors plenty to look at as they walk from block to block. At the same time, there needs to be more of a concerted effort to build foot traffic until that day comes. As I looked at the NFTA gate, wondering what could be done to make it more appealing, I realized that I was also standing within viewing distance of the Arts Council. Now I’m not sure if this is the type of project that fits the task description of the council, but it sure seems like a good project to consider – especially since the organization has relations with so many other arts organizations and artists in the city. Of course the NFTA would also have to sign off on a project like this.
Just a couple of days ago, Mark Goldman and I took a walk up and down Allen Street. We identified a few dead spots on the street and discussed how to go about making those spots more appealing. 24 hours later Mark had contacted one of the building owners, along with a local artist, and this Saturday work will begin on an Allentown art project that will help to build on the neighborhood’s brand as an artist-friendly destination. Mark will be supplying the art supplies and the project will take about one week to complete. Stay tuned.