Fairfax town officials and community members weren't sure if last Sunday’s Streets for People event, which closed part of Bolinas Road for a car-free community gathering, would cause a traffic headache downtown.
But to the delight of many, including the more than 1,000 people who packed Bolinas Road from noon to 4 p.m., traffic was not a problem.
“I’m happy to report that during the road closure we did not have any traffic issues. The whole event ran smoothly and did not impact any of the side streets or major streets throughout downtown,” Fairfax Police Chief Chris Morin told Patch. “It was a safe and fun event.”
The police had a presence at the event – because they are part of the community, Morin said - and didn’t have any issues or get any calls about problems at Streets for People. “It was just a good day,” he said.
Fairfax resident Renee Goddard, the Streets for People project coordinator, said she was thrilled with the event’s turnout, adding that her husband pointed out that if the event couldn’t be measured in dollars, it could be measured in smiles.
Goddard said many people were impressed there was so much happiness at the event, even though it was alcohol free. The Fairfax Council had after .
But, Goddard said, the event also brought lots of dollars to local businesses.
“The testimonials from businesses are really blowing me away,” she said, naming three local merchants who said they saw a huge increase in sales, including one who said the sales was similar to the volume experienced during the winter holidays.
Kathleen Carroll, owner of the at 55 Bolinas Ave., told Patch her sales doubled during Streets for People. “It was fantastic. It was really the first event in Fairfax that, rather than taking away business, has actually brought us more business and new business,” Carroll said.
She said at other Fairfax events, people don’t wander too far to see the merchants. “But because this was right in front of the shops, it was such a boon for all the businesses on the block.”
She said four other nearby shop owners told her they also had increased sales.
The event .
SHOULD IT HAPPEN AGAIN?
One question everyone has been asking, , on our Facebook page, and directly to Goddard, is “So when’s the next one?”
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Goddard said. It will depend on the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and others in town, she said.
She said there are some pieces Sustainable Fairfax needs to focus on before there’s another, such as creating waste diversion and getting the local schools and youth groups involved.
“It was just a beautiful, sweet event. It was all ages and there was a really nice feeling about having the street closed off. Everyone just really enjoyed it,” Carroll said. “It’d be great if they did it once a month.”
Goddard said now she’s working on getting feedback on the event. Let her know what you thought of the event and how often you’d like to see it happen in the comments section below.
“The most positive thing was seeing the way the police, the fire and the business community went above and beyond,” Goddard said.
that closing Bolinas Road between Broadway and Elsie Lane is a contentious idea, but they have said closing the road would be an experiment to see if the town could realistically move toward a vision of making that stretch of road a permanent vehicle-free greenway.
What did you think? How was it? How often would you like to see it happen?