Gibbs St. is the heart of the Jazz Festival. For nine days, the city closes the small stretch between E. Main St. and East Ave. There’s a stage, tables and chairs and vendors.
Why not permanently close that block of Gibbs to traffic?
“I would be all for it,” said Mike Calabrese, owner of Java’s. “It’s such a special street.”
Think about it.
The city could put up a small stage. Have benches and tables and chairs. Perhaps put in cobblestone and some grass. It wouldn’t take much to give Gibbs St. a courtyard feel, because it’s so small. I bet it would be packed every night.
Closing downtown thoroughfares to traffic doesn’t always work. Buffalo’s Main Street pedestrian mall is considered a failure. But Gibbs is so compact, it could be very successful.
The city would only lose a couple dozen parking spaces and there’s a garage less than a block away. Calabrese said his morning coffee rush might suffer a bit, but he’d make up the business from the new visitors.
Calabrese said the University of Rochester owns much of the property on the block and has talked for many years about making it a pedestrian-only street. He said bus access for big events is an issue, but Main St. can certainly accommodate a number of large vehicles.
“They keep talking about it, but it never happens,” Calabrese said.
Maybe now is the time.