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Maxway and Broad

Posted: February 27, 2014 10:11 a.m.
Updated: February 28, 2014 5:00 a.m.

 

Representatives of Arnett Muldrow, the consulting firm hired by the city of Camden to provide marketing expertise, met recently with city council to discuss their recommendations. Of their proposals, we found one especially noteworthy but found another worthy of deeper study by council.

The firm advised council not to build a parking lot on the site of the former Maxway store; it had earlier been purchased by the city and the building razed. It’s in a strategic location for visitors entering the town from I-20 and could be a welcoming beacon, if developed properly. While Arnett Muldrow didn’t make a specific recommendation on what to do with it, the firm unequivocally strategized against a parking lot, and that’s sound advice. There’s plenty of time to take advantage of the property later.

Arnett Muldrow also encouraged the city to move forward with the so-called “road diet” that has been proposed; it involves narrowing Broad Street between DeKalb and York streets. But the firm was less than convincing in touting the possibilities, saying it could “conceivably attract more pedestrian traffic,” which is about as nebulous a forecast as anyone can make. Certainly we would all like to see more pedestrian traffic downtown, which would encourage commerce and be an incentive for new businesses to open in that area. But we aren’t convinced that narrowing the street will accomplish that, and the potential for traffic tie-ups has to be considered. Already, with a long light at Broad and DeKalb, traffic often lines up on Broad, and having only one lane in each direction could present real problems.

Additionally, merchants downtown haven’t backed the proposal with much enthusiasm; surveys have shown some in favor of it and some opposed. Spending a significant amount of time, money and effort without a more clear-cut consensus seems risky, indeed. We have never believed in the concept of governing by polls, and we certainly endorse bold leadership, even if it goes against prevailing sentiment. But in this case, we just aren’t convinced the road diet is the best move, and we hope council will move deliberately on this, even if highway authorities approve the concept.

 

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