Concord police will proceed a case-by-case basis to close a block of Salvio Street during some Thursday evening market-and-music events at Todos Santos Plaza in order to ease pedestrian-auto safety.
Police Lt. Robin Heinemann broached the idea in a Wednesday morning meeting of the Todos Santos Business Association at E.J. Phair Brewing Co. and Ale House.
“That was kind of my idea but you guys are the ones who deal with it,” Heinemann told the merchants in the audience.
Hearing general support in the audience, she said police on the scene during the Thursday events will be able to make the decision that the crowd has reached a certain point and the city should bring in barricades to block traffic on Salvio Street.
During the season that runs into September, the city has a farmers market starting Thursday afternoon with bands playing free concerts, usually starting at 6:30 p.m. Pedestrian safety is a big issue when the crowd gets to 5,000, Heinemann said, but police usually don’t know ahead of time whether the crowd will be 1,000 or more.
A big factor is popularity of the bands, with a different outfit every Thursday.
Heinemann said she would communicate with business association President Virginia Thomas and Jeff Woods, the owner of the Salvio Pacheco Square building, to try to identify the most popular Thursdays and anticipate a Salvio Street closing.
Woods said he would seek input from his tenants, including E.J. Phair, about whether “a street closure is a help or a hindrance.” He said he would give the tenants notice of plans for a pre-emptive Salvio Street closing on any given Thursday.
“It’s nicer when you do know it’s coming,” said Virginia Thomas, president of the TSBA.
“Issues of pedestrian safety have been brought to Chief (Guy) Swanger,” said Heinemann.
Various streets around Todos Santos Plaza have been closed for various events. “Whenever we close Mount Diablo Street is when we get generated the most complaints — the Spaghetti Factory customers,” said Florence Weiss, manager of the Downtown Program for the city of Concord.