Fredericksburg City Beat

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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Caroline without the cars?

City residents Walter and Laurel McLeod suggest on today’s letters page that Fredericksburg consider imitating other downtowns, like Williamsburg and Charlottesville, who have blocked off streets to traffic, creating pedestrian malls. They suggest this could help promote a better environment for sidewalk dining and other activity. They write:

Wouldn’t it be novel to block off Caroline Street from Charlotte to William streets? This change alone would create a sense of place for downtown Fredericksburg.

It would also spur greater use of the new parking garage by eliminating street parking in the pedestrian zone.

Sophia Street could be one-way, diverting traffic to the new River Walk. An upgraded Chatham bridge with broader walkways and new lighting would create an awesome gateway to the River Walk.

Every downtown has its own dynamic, and pedestrian malls have been successful for some, but here’s a reminder that they don’t work for everybody. 

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  • thatguyb

    What about trying it out by closing it down every friday night this summer, leasing the space for outdoor dining, have a band on one end, and see what kind of crowds it brings. May not work during the week, but I would guess it would be a hit friday night through sunday afternoon.

    Another option, when they build the park, do this with Sophia St, and create a true river walk. Get the developers onboard with redeveloping the rear of the lots between Caroline & Sophia.

  • mydar

    Most of Fayetteville Street’s eye-catching architecture vanished decades ago, replaced by parking garages and hulking beige banks.” Sounds charming. Fredericksburg is fortunate to still retain — so far — it’s historic character. Being free from the burden of the car would add a nice touch to an already charming section of a historic city. Winchester is a good analog.