To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Despite near heroic efforts by the downtown business community, artists, leaders of government and officials at MCLA, our North Adams Main Street continues to lack in meeting its potential in drawing tourists into our business district. Just why is this and what can be done to build a stronger tourist draw?
Simply put, the basic problem that hinders travelers is the fact that their cars are between the museum and the downtown, thus establishing a barrier between both locations. As some of you know, many visitors tend to visit the museum only to jump into their cars upon leaving Mass MoCA and head straight to Routes 2 or 8 and ignore driving to the Main Street. This being the case, it is important for city officials and the business community to support an experimental and seasonal trial in which traffic leaving the MoCA parking lot can only turn right or left rather than straight up St. Anthony Drive and heading directly out of the city. Consequently, vehicles would be directed toward Main Street and then to Route 2 and thus exposing the area to the potential of greater economic benefit.
This experiment would give us a baseline of tourist flow and business growth that may result with this change. If workable and beneficial as I think it would be, the plan could be established permanently during the tourist season.
Also, it should be considered that near the parking lot an audio recorded message be located welcoming people to the museum and briefly giving them information as to the Main Street location. This is important in that being near their cars the message may well be more powerful than pamphlets found in the museum. When people enter or leave and have a period of time to walk, talk and become engaged in conversation that may become a distraction and thus they just jump into their cars and head out of town. Information being close to their cars would certainly be a more effective incentive to visiting downtown.
Lastly, and of great importance is the desire to see that Mass MoCA and Main Street merge with some of the art of the museum into the downtown district. In other words, Mass MoCA would be an extension of Main Street and Main Street would be an extension of the museum. People come to see the art and having the art out in public areas would also be a draw for visitors to go downtown.
The potential for economic growth is within this letter and, it is hoped that these suggestions will be implemented in building a stronger business district for our community.