ASK THE BORED: Is consistency among BOW’s mandates when it debates street closings?


It’s possible the Board of Public Works and Safety might actually be trying to regain a sense of consistency.

Time will tell.

What we know from the minutes of January 14 is that the Regions Antique Automobile Club came to BOW well ahead of time to ask for a street closing (Market from Bank to State) for four hours on a Thursday evening (August 20).

Mrs. Cotner Bailey raised the valid point that it would inconvenience businesses and residents. Mrs. Jarboe noted that her equally sensible suggestion to move the event to the amphitheater was rejected by the club. Then Mr. Nash stated the board needs to have a conversation about street closure requests and event permits coming in so far ahead of time.

You’d think the board would appreciate advance notice, but still, these are reasonable considerations overall.

How, then, to explain the board’s perennial enthusiasm for the NA Blues, Brews and Barbecue Fest, which a mere four months ago blocked the entirety of Market between Pearl and State for two and a half days, inconvenienced businesses and residents so an on-street KOA campground could be erected atop the city’s new median, and would be much more efficiently staged if it were to be relocated … to the amphitheater?

There is no explanation, at least not yet. If the board’s brush-off of the Antique Automobile Club means it finally intends to have these conversations and grasp the need for consistency, that’s very good and I for one support it.

If not, it’s just more of the same hypocrisy — primarily from BOW’s superannuated figurehead.

The following was published here last September.

Beginning tonight — Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. — both traffic lanes on Market Street between State and Pearl will be closed until Sunday morning. Sidewalks will not be blocked.

The reason for the closure is to allow public space for professional BBQ teams to cook their meats for the weekend NA Blues, Brews and Barbecue Fest. You are encouraged to attend this event.

Speaking personally, if we’re to be genuinely walkable as a city, then disruptions like this are of little or no consequence.

However, reality on the ground dictates this reminder that there’s a parking garage at the corner of State and Market, and parking by the levee at the foot of Pearl — and quite a few curbside parking spaces everywhere, even on a busy weekends, just a short distance from the event and the affected businesses on both sides of the closed segment of Market Street.

It should be seasonable the next few evenings. If you’re driving, park somewhere and have a nice walk, then a bite and a drink. Don’t have too much of the latter if you’re driving.

And ponder the question of why we purpose-built Bicentennial Park to be problematic and barely usable for events, and naturally insist on constantly using it for such events even when the Riverfront Amphitheater would be far more appropriate.