As I begin to go over the checklist for the bike valet at tomorrows Riverside Arts Market. I keep thinking about last weekend and the many weekends like it that has taken place this season at our weekly "green" market and the indifference shown by the management of the market.
Let me back up a little and explain further. In January of 2005 the city of Jacksonville cut the ribbon and officially opened the Northbank Riverwalk instantly creating the busiest bicycle/ped corridor in the city.
Every Saturday March thru December that same Riverwalk runs beside the Riverside Arts Market and feeds people walking and cycling to the market from Downtown, Springfield, San Marco, and suburbs south and east of the city.
But the Riverwalk doesn't just just bring people into the Arts Market. For many it is their place for exercise, recreation and corridor to work and home. And that is what I can't seem to get the management of the market to understand. That the Riverwalk is a roadway. Not for cars, but for people and it should never have its access restricted or blocked as I've pointed out in the past. Yet market leaders continually allow the market happenings and events to spillover on to the Riverwalk causing those on the Riverwalk off of it and into the crowds of the Market.
This past weekends chalk art event was no different. Instead of using the space available to the market. Management allowed it to take place on the Riverwalk. The picture above was taken early before the crowds arrived and literally shut down the riverwalk.
Was other locations for the chalk art available? There were plenty of them. Look at the map and picture below where I've circled the ample amount of usable space just around the bike valet.
The Riverside Arts Market does a lot of things right. They make sure all artist prove they actually make their art. The farmers vegetables and fruits are locally grown. They have banned the use of plastic bags and opted for venders only to use biodegradable bags. They promote the use of alternative transportation in the way of walking, buses and of course cycling.
But if the management of the local green market doesn't get it and doesn't set an example along the Riverwalk, how are we to expect the rest of the city to understand the importance of this path?