August 16, 2005

Pittsfield Merchants Want Slower Traffic

While local officials in some communities worry about how to better speed traffic through their downtown centers, others actively seek ways of slowing traffic in order to make a more appealing commercial center for pedestrians. Among the latter: Pittsfield, Mass., where "increased parking and slowing down traffic on North Street were the two biggest areas of concern for shop owners," according to Capital News 9 TV.

"Slowing the traffic for pedestrians is the key to bring more people downtown," said Giora Witkowski of USBluesware, according to

Downtown business districts may not be able to compete with a suburban shopping mall for easy, free and convenient parking; but if properly designed, they can strongly compete in the battle for shoppers with streetscape, ambiance and unique sense of place. After all, upscale consumers don't flock to Newbury Street because it's easy to park. And they don't patronize Waltham's restaurants and movie theater because Moody Street is quicker to drive down than Rte. 9.

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