Vendors need “mass”
Traverse City is considering an ordinance related to street vending. Among decision makers, there is general agreement to allow food vending in areas outside of the downtown and for fewer restrictions on private property. Where it counts, however, is a point of contention.
Street vending thrives where you have a critical mass of people; in Traverse City that means downtown. The draft ordinance under consideration on April 15 by the City Commission risks being overly protective of a few interests at the expense of the greater public good.
Street vending means on the street, likely in a parking space, and is beneficial to the city. Among other benefits, experience shows that it can increase walking (freeing up parking spaces), provide a diversity of consumer options (inducing smiles) and attract more people to spend more time in a location (spending more money).
Allowing street vending downtown, regulated for reasonable public safety concerns, risks nothing but salsa stains on our shirts. The real risk is the City adopting unnecessarily restrictive policies that work against the direction of an active, social community. Let’s create space for new opportunities for citizen consumers and small entrepreneurs alike.
Gary Howe is a member of the Traverse City Planning Commission.
Not so smart
It is a pleasure to travel through Traverse City’s historic neighborhoods. So many of the beautiful old homes have been painstakingly restored and cared for. The historic Old Town area provides a source of pride in our treasured community. The Old Town Parking Deck was designed so that it harmonized with the surrounding neighborhood. It was appropriately set back from Eighth Street to provide a little green space.
Then what happened? An ugly and out of place box apartment was wedged in front if it on city property. Why was this eyesore allowed to be built? Where were our city fathers and planners? Should our community praise Socks Construction and permit them to pigeonhole such architecturally inappropriate projects throughout our city under the guise of desirable urban living?
Do you agree with the Record-Eagle editorial of April 4 that this “Smart use of space is key to good urban development”? I don’t think so.