On Saturday, Sept. 13 at about 9 a.m., North Main Street in New Hope was closed to vehicular traffic, and all of the parking meters were bagged with “no parking” signs. This was done to accommodate a bicycle race that started in Doylestown and would have its finish line on North Main and Randolph streets.
From 9 a.m. to approx 1:30 p.m., only residents and shop owners could enter North Main with their cars. After 1:30, the street was completely shut down to all vehicles. As a business owner in New Hope for 18 years, and having my shop on North Main Street, this was not only a detriment to all of our retail businesses, but it also created a major inconvenience for our residents and visitors.
The race was completed between 2:30 and 3 p.m. However, the road was not opened to vehicular traffic and the meter bags were not removed until approximately 4:30 to 5 p.m. I was told that following the race there was a huge party being held in a tent at North Main and Randolph streets, and that the street was being kept closed even for that.
To add insult to injury, it began to rain in the early afternoon. The rain would have been a deterrent to business anyway, but if traffic and meters were available to our customers, at least our customers could come to us without being utterly drenched. Does a race that takes up the entire day mean our borough officials have to close the road to our businesses for the entire day? The rain prevented any visitors and shoppers from walking down to North Main Street and even South Main Street, as the bulk of parking was at Union Square and the railroad station.
Who did this benefit? Not the residents, visitors, police and fire police, and especially not the retail merchants.
Later that afternoon, one of the merchants on North Main Street wrote a petition and received over 20 signatures asking the borough not to close our street in the future. Yet, the following Saturday, there was a street closure on South Main Street for a 5K run. I also understand that there are several events planned for mid-October and November that will involve street closings. Again, who benefits from this major inconvenience?
The plan of having the finish line of the race in New Hope was that it would bring thousands of people to New Hope. This could have also been accomplished had the race concluded at either the high school or behind Union Square at Hardy Bush Way.
I also understand that Thompson Toyota was a major sponsor for the bicycle race. I can assure you that if there was an event on their street that prevented their customers from entering their car lots, they would be writing this letter.
(The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Free Press)