Successful Second Sunday
When the debate over cruise ships and their impact on Charleston was new, Mayor Joe Riley and Charleston Historic Foundation director Kitty Robinson formed a large task force to consider how best to balance tourism, particularly cruises, with the area’s quality of life, heritage and business climate.
The rift between cruise ship enthusiasts and those who want to see the industry regulated is perhaps wider than it was in the beginning. But the task force has not existed altogether in vain.
The thousands of people who turned out Sunday afternoon to amble on King Street, take lunch al fresco, listen to music, shop, walk their dogs, stroll their children and meet friends likely didn’t know that it was the same task force that launched the idea of Second Sundays.
On the second Sunday of every month, Charleston police shut off King Street’s shopping district to vehicular traffic. The atmosphere seems to get more festive each month as some people make it part of their monthly routine, and others discover a pleasant way to spend some outdoor time.
Second Sunday enhances the local quality of life. Crowds are well managed and neighbors have plenty of time to plan for the street closings. Merchants hope for an extra day’s business, or at least a good chance to invite people back.
It helped this week that the day was sunny and just brisk enough.
The task force also suggested providing bicycle parking, which the city has done in several areas. And it suggested free bus service downtown, which has also happened.
The cruise debate is more contentious, and the stakes are a lot larger. But there is no reason reasonable people can’t find a reasonable solution.
Just try next month’s Second Sunday and see.