It came as a bit of a shock about seven days ago when the chairs and tables on Market Ave., which had been placed there after the street was closed to traffic for a three-month pop-up park that had operated smoothly and to almost universal approval, were pulled off the street.
The city, belatedly it appeared, had safety concerns. Ohio City Inc.'s permit application, the city said, did not include the tables and chairs, which officials worried would impede pedestrians and crews in the case of an emergency. (As an astute person noted on Twitter, it appears the application did in fact include the furniture
.)We'd also heard that police were concerned that while the industrial-grade bollards installed on the West 25th side of Market Ave. were more than sufficient to prevent any vehicle from entering the street, the security measures on the West 26th side — a bike rack and a road closed sign — were worrisome should someone attempt to barrel through and run over everyone enjoying the street.
That concern, which is undoubtedly a Worst Case Scenario What If that is both of tiny probability and one that police are nevertheless paid to point out, was also used as justification by the Jackson administration for the installation of the ungodly, unsightly jersey barriers on redesigned Public Square, which of course sit there to this day.
The bizarre piece of it all was that this was raised a full month into the experiment, and the frustration stemmed from not only the delayed response but by the appearance, rightly or wrongly, that the city was once again a stodgy, backward overlord objecting to progressive urban planning.
Well, a meeting involving OCI and the city on Wednesday has apparently assuaged everyone's concerns, as councilman Kerry McCormack tweeted
a pic of Market Ave. today, with all the furniture back where it was.
"All the groups are on the same page now," McCormack told Scene, noting that additional measures now include the furniture being secured at night and the addition of a water-filled jersey barrier on the West 26th side. "I'm happy the furniture is back and the street has been activated again. People love it."
Now if they could just muster the energy to get rid of the jersey barriers next...