Boston City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina wants to turn Hanover Street "into an Italian piazza, with strolling violinists, artist stalls and waiters with Valpolicella and espressos scurrying to customers at tables in the middle of the street," the Boston Globe reported today. LaMattina wants to test the concept next spring and summer on weekends, and if it works, to then "seal off the street permanently and convert it to a public gathering place."
WHAT a GREAT IDEA! Many European cities large and small have such open, pedestrian-only public squares, and they really add to the enjoyment of being in a neighborhood.
Mayor Manino reportedly supports the proposal. Some business owners worry about the logistics, including whether upscale customers would balk at the demise of valet parking and needing to walk a few blocks from their cars, but I don't see why valet parking couldn't be stationed at extremely nearby side streets.
"Longtime resident and business owner, Joanne Prevost-Anzalone, said she would welcome the European ambience, and if the delivery concerns were worked out, she would have coffee on the piazza every day," the Globe said.
"It should have been done years ago, what he is talking about," resident Pasquale Giliberti told the Globe. "Why should people have to go to a foreign country (for a piazza)?"
Why indeed. Pedestrian-centered, well-designed urban places are one of the joys of travelling to Europe. How nice it would be to not only stroll along Hanover Street next summer, but sit in the piazza enjoying a sunny afternoon.