Dome could block walkers
I write to second Candace Smith's concerns about lack of pedestrian access to the site of the new amphitheater and transit center and to the Mall during the 40 private events that Coran Capshaw is allowed to have there. [July 15: "Amphitheatrical: Architects pummel Mall design"]
I disagree wholeheartedly with Maurice Cox's view that it is a "marginal issue." It will be a marginal issue if the access remains identical to what is available during Fridays After 5 as that event has been run this year and every year except last year. Someone who is just passing through can walk through the site and get between the Mall and the Belmont Bridge without any difficulty, except for dodging the crowds.
However, I have experienced the situation during a couple of private events in the past and during last year's Fridays After 5, when pedestrian access through the site was forbidden. Pedestrians were forced to take detours that added a couple of blocks to the trip, or they had to climb up the grassy hill next to the sidewalk, trample the plantings, and scramble over the fence at the top of the bridge.
If we are trying to encourage people to get out of their cars and walk, it is critical to keep sidewalks accessible at all times.
I am a devoted pedestrian, but even I find it highly irritating to have the shortest, safest route blocked off, and I can only imagine that it will completely discourage others from walking at all. This is an issue, especially since the plans for the amphitheater call for increased crowds, but no increased parking.
Easy pedestrian access to and through this site must be maintained at all times.
Susan J. Berres