After the infamous Eastern Market fire two years ago, Mayor Fenty ordered 7th St. SE closed on weekends to make room for stalls displaced by the disaster. As most of you know, the market reopened several weeks ago, and WaPo reports that store owners along 7th are requesting that the street be reopened. They are concerned that parking and traffic difficulties resulting from the closure are limiting their business, most of which comes on weekends. Stores along market row report a 35% to 75% drop in business since the road closures began.
Their pleas have caught the attention of the City Council, which plans to visit the issue in several months. For now, the government wishes for the street to remain closed to facilitate the revitalization of Eastern Market.
It seems to me that the 7th St. closure shouldn’t have any effect on Market Row businesses. There are many, many side streets in the area and ample parking on the blocks surrounding 7th. I’m not entirely sure why the closure of a single block would limit their number of customers. Besides, Eastern Market is always packed. According to the WaPo article, the majority of these businesses’ patrons are market goers. If anything, I’ve noticed an increase of people on the weekends. I’m guessing that there are factors aside from the road closure that are hurting these shops’ revenues. The economy? Changing tastes and interests? An increasingly younger clientele? It could be any number of things.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Does 7th St. need to stay closed, or should it be reopened?