KOPF: Modesto rolls out bad idea with plan to open 10th St.

columns@modbee.comJuly 29, 2013 

— Wake up, folks.

When a bad idea rolls across the horizon, we really need to pay attention. That the Modesto City Council is proposing to open the Tenth Street Plaza walkway between J and K streets to vehicle traffic is just plain nuts! Will the community have to wait for a pedestrian to be struck by a car before closing it back down? For newcomers, this is the area downtown between our large city-county administration center and the Brenden Theatres complex.

With films screening all day at the theaters, movie fans will be straggling to and fro on foot to cross the street from the parking structure. Wouldn't this be a constant impediment for impatient or careless drivers?

When there is a film I want to see, I head to the plaza because the parking structure keeps my vehicle cooler. However, bucking traffic at midblock on foot would certainly make me reconsider this. How about you?

Stick with me a minute for some stats, which no one seems to have bothered calculating. In this week's Brenden advertisement I counted 18 theaters, with an astonishing total of 78 show times. These begin about 11 a.m. and run all day with even some midnight exits.

Next, figure in that each person will be crossing the street twice — going into the show and leaving the theater after. So if only one person went to each showing, it would equal 156 times that the street is going to be crossed each day. We don't know the attendance figures for all these showings, but we can guess that many of the new, premier films will open to a very big audience. Fifty or 100 people will exit together as each film ends.

This could really clog the street, making it risky for pedestrians and for drivers.

Given this risk, can the city justify this idea? Hopefully the city will discard it and use the projected expense for a better purpose. If you agree with my argument, please help by letting our council know how you feel before this idea gets any further momentum.

Kopf is an opinionated Modesto homemaker and avid gardener. Send questions or comments to columns@modbee.com.

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