Four Projects for Third Thursday (VOTE!)

Spring will be here before we know it, and with that comes the start of our favorite monthly street festival: Third Thursday. Personally, I enjoy just getting out on the street, seeing the downtown free of cars and open to everyone. As a regular attendee for as long as I have lived in Pittsfield, I want to give back and start participating myself. On that note, I have four ideas that I would be eager to try out, and I want YOU to decide which one I should do first. Find the link to the poll at the end of this article.

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#1: A Bike Corral and Valet

One way to encourage more visitors to ride their bikes to North Street is to provide a secure place to leave them when they arrive. Riding through North Street during Third Thursday is not allowed, and walking a bike for any extended period gets tiresome. There are a few bike racks scattered around North Street, but odds are that there may be a vendor set up in front of it, or it may not feel secure. That is where the bike valet comes in. It is just what you're thinking of: a valet, like for cars, but for your bike. Simply roll up to the tent, leave your bike with the attendants, take a number, and be on your way. Return with your number when you're ready, and get your bike back. The bike racks will be continuously attended, and are usually fenced off from the general public. Ideally there would be one set of valets at the north and south ends of the street.

Example of a bike valet setup.

Example of a bike valet setup.

#2: Parklet

What better place to unveil a new parklet than at Third Thursday? If you don't already know what a parklet is, in a nutshell it can be described as a parking-space-sized park. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from any number of materials, either permanent or seasonal. These public spaces provide additional places to sit, meet, or gather, and are not expressly associated with a business, like other forms of outdoor seating may be. Parklets could also provide programming opportunities, like public readings, performances, or meet and greets. This would probably be the most costly and labor intensive of the projects, but would provide a lasting memento of the Third Thursday season and a boon to the downtown area.

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A new parklet that has opened in Rochester, NY.

A new parklet that has opened in Rochester, NY.

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#3 Arcade games

Wouldn't it be cool to have a miniature boardwalk on the street with some old fashioned arcade games like Ski-Ball, Whack-a-Mole, Ring Toss, fishing, tests of strength, fun mirrors or more? And maybe some prizes to hand out? OK, right now I don't really know how to make it happen. But if you want it the most, I will start researching ASAP!

Generic "Midway" stock photo.

Generic "Midway" stock photo.

#4 Public Seating

This one is pretty straightforward. When I walk up and down North Street on Third Thursday, there is one thing that I have noticed is conspicuously absent: a common seating area to rest or enjoy a snack from one of the street vendors. Think of an outdoor food court. I may have some seating already available, and the only other things we need are some turf and some shade. It beats sitting on the curb, or just walking with your fried dough. Take a load off!

Some public seating as demonstrated at Better Block on Tyler Street, August 2017.

Some public seating as demonstrated at Better Block on Tyler Street, August 2017.

So, those are four projects that I would love to pilot at this year's slew of Third Thursdays. But I don't know which one to try first. That's why I want your feedback! If you are on Facebook, please vote in this poll on my Facebook page HERE before March 1st, 2018. You can also leave a comment down below with your preference, or share any other ideas you might have. See you on North Street!

The PittsfielderComment