Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Redmond's turn.

It's interesting to see Redmond grappling with street closures.  I'm assuming that they didn't close 6th and 7th Streets before because for so long they were the only routes through town.

So when they did start closing streets, it came as a shock to many of the established businesses.

They objected.  They objected because it was probably obvious to them that the whole thing is a net loss for most businesses.  They could look at the results -- and they had enough time to see if there was a hidden benefit (the old -- "they'll come back later" excuse) and make up their own minds.

See, what I think happened in Bend is the frog in the hot water scenario.  It seemed like a good idea at first, it slowly escalated, then became a confirmed thing, and now no one can tell the real effect.  More and more events, longer events, more disruptive events.  Every one of them "Worthy", often for a good cause.

It'll be good for business they say, without any proof whatsoever.  It's just assumed.  Any retailer who demurs will be dismissed as a crackpot.  Newer businesses will assume that because they've been happening for so long, they must be good, right?  (And newer businesses probably make up the majority of active retailers...)

Also interesting to see that the proponents are using the same half-assed concessions to muddy the waters.

They pretend it's about "communication" and "advance warnings." Which I think are meant to just obscure the issue and make it look like something is being done.

No, it's about street closures.

But the proponents will be organized and persistent.

The retailers meanwhile will be all over the place, with a single "pro" retailer cancelling a dozen "con" retailers.  The retailers who are unhappy will throw up their hands and go along to get along.

The lobby for these events are -- the event promoters, the event sellers, the government, the pro-business groups, the advertisers, the media, and most of all, the attendees.

Retailers don't have a chance against that lineup.


Duncan McGeary said...

Look at Eugene. The closing of downtown was an unmitigated disaster, obvious to everyone.

But once in place, they couldn't repeal it, except slowly, year by year.

Even at the end, there were a couple of retailers who were in favor of the permanent street closures, and they had an outsized effect.

I'm assuming it's the lost cost effect -- it's more painful to lose what you got, then to try to get something else.

Duncan McGeary said...

And of course, for most people, they just won't care. Tough luck, we like our events.

And what can I say to that?

Pay my rent? No.

So...I just toss off these occasional blogs just in hopes that someone somewhere will realize that it isn't all good.