There's always been a concern for pedestrian safety in Carytown. We are currently working with the city to lower speed limits in the area. The only street closure that's in effect for Carytown is for the Watermelon Festival in August. If there are any concerns, people are encouraged to attend city meetings or visit rva.gov for more info.
A word from a few business owners / members of the Carytown Merchants Association (CMA):
“C-ville and other areas with a walking district have ample parking. There is not enough population within walking distance to sustain Carytown. Europe with walking districts has functional public transportation. The Richmond Metro Area does not. It would be FANTASTIC. But, I'd want to see the parking in place before and not go on faith that the parking will someday happen. For this, properties will have to be purchased and demolished. Some blocks somewhere would have to agree to have that blight. Frankly, I don't see it happening in my lifetime.”
“I’m personally not in favor of closing the street to cars because I fear we’d lose our customers who want to park right in front of our store or in the Cary Court lot. The Mall in Charlottesville which is closed to cars has started to feel a bit lifeless in recent years, I think.”
“I don't think a decision like this can be made lightly and I'd like to see significant studies happen before making such a dramatic change. While it's okay to say "sure, look into it" I honestly think it's too much change for our little neighborhood right now, especially after the last two years we've survived. It would have a significant impact on the neighboring community--closing down Cary Street for one day/year (Watermelon Fest) has a dramatic impact on the neighborhood, it would require a lot of logistical work to make it sustainable permanently… I just want to see a lot of forethought put into a decision that would impact so many of us significantly. I'm always open to the conversation about change, this is just a big one that has been proposed many times without much in the way of numbers to show impact on our community (both residential and commercial).”
“I think it would be great to consider. We can create outdoor seating to bring in more revenue for our restaurants and bars but our boutiques and shops may take a big hit, mainly because there are a lot of customers who enjoy the convenience of parking in front of a business for easy ordering or pickup and be on their way, I’ve sure done it myself. What is this going to do to Cary court? We’d need to think about employee access as well as delivery truck access or public transportation reroutes. We could bring back a shuttle or trolley system, we could build up parking garages around the stadium and surrounding areas; there are a lot of possibilities. Lots to go over in future discussions but if we can address these issues, then I have no doubt we can make this work for the merchants, their employees, as well as the visitors.”
“Here are the main issues that would need to be addressed BEFORE considering moving forward with this project:
Trucks. Trucks cannot make it down the alleys if you shut down Cary. The smaller ones yes, but there's a reason why you are blocked constantly by food, beverage, and freight trucks. Our alley structure is completely different from other areas and they are unable to navigate through the turns to hit the businesses.
Parking. It's already tight as it is, and people want to be able to park and walk. We would need to build up the current structures to accommodate heavier traffic; you can't even turn around on the bottom floor once you enter. Charlottesville and other areas have parking around the area that you can use easily, this would force parking into the residental area that is already tight.
Emergency Route: Cary Street is a main evacuation route along with fire trucks, police officers and more. Again, traffic flow planning would have to happen to avoid dumping them into the already tight residential area.
Handicap Access: We would have to find designated handicap spots throughout the area to help.
Pull Up Businesses: A bunch of us rely on the ability to pull up and snag orders easily from our businesses. There are customers who hate or are unable to walk blocks down to the next business and rely on pulling up relatively near to where they are going.”
**The CMA is a group of volunteers from the small businesses that make up Carytown. We’d love to work towards any project that enhances Carytown and benefits it’s businesses, residents, and visitors.**