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The College Park City Council on Wednesday expressed support for temporarily closing half of Knox Road to traffic during events, but opted not to move forward on any plans for a pedestrian-only plaza in the city.
The council motioned to support a temporary road closure option for events on Knox Road between Route 1 and Yale Ave, but decided not to take definitive action until conducting more studies. The council also discussed long-term options to create a pedestrian-only plaza on the street beyond just events.
“As for long-term, I think definitely some studies need to be done on that,” said District 1 council member Alan Hew. “I see value in closing roads on the weekends for the student activities here. But I don’t think that is a clear demand curve.”
The city has previously temporarily closed the area to traffic during its Friday Night LIVE! musical performances and other events.
Transportation firm Sam Schwartz has been conducting studies on the best ways to restrict traffic on Knox Road during events, according to Robert Marsili, the city’s public works director.
Soumya Dey, one of the firm’s vice presidents, presented to the city council on Wednesday five different barricade options for closing the street.
The council passed a motion to purchase Thomas Barriers steel barricades, which are temporary steel barriers that can be set up and removed as needed for events.
Ledo Pizza on Knox Road has property rights to two parking spaces in front of its business, which would pose an issue if the city opts to create a permanent pedestrian-only plaza. Traffic to the restaurant will be part of the engineering firm’s ongoing studies, Dey said.
District 3 council member Stuart Adams said Knox Road is a hotspot for students and other pedestrians, and petitioned the city to look into semi-permanent traffic barrier devices, like the Thomas barricades, to allow the street to be blocked off for events without using city public works vehicles.
The city could start instituting these temporary barriers for future event closures including Friday Night LIVE!, Adams said.
“I hope we can be a little more aggressive,” Adams said. “It’s a very active corner with a lot of students at nearby establishments on Friday, Thursday, Saturday night, and I think we can find a way to increase pedestrian safety.”