Calls Grow for Car-Free Manchester Street to Aid Businesses

Elm Street in downtown Manchester. Photo courtesy of Mikespenard / Public domain

A prominent Manchester restaurateur is calling for the city’s main downtown thoroughfare, Elm Street, to be given over to pedestrians in order to help the area’s small businesses recover.

Peter Macone, operations manager of Republic Cafe and Campo Enoteca, made his call in a petition that is rapidly gaining signatures from locals. As of May 1, the petition had already secured 2,224 signatures.

The city has previously discussed pedestrianizing Elm Street for the summer before. Macone’s petition argues that the city should take action on the idea, as it would give restaurants capacity for additional, social distancing-compliant seating and will give pedestrians more space to spread out.

Manchester Ink Link first reported the petition.

“It’s time to at least bring the discussion to the forefront, but also I want to be clear that this is not a protest. I’m not trying to set a precedent, and I’m not in favor of opening before we’re ready. But when the time comes to go back to work, hopefully this summer, I think it would be a great way to sort of give comfort to those who want to be able to go out and observe social distancing,” Macone told the website. “We all know how great it feels to stroll along Elm Street without traffic, whether it’s for the car show or the taco tour. Every time it happens all you hear people talk about is how awesome it is.”