Downtown Plattsburgh: Yours To Avoid
Once upon a time the City of Plattsburgh decided to run a TV spot to draw people back to its downtown. Of course, this folly ignored the fact that there was next to nothing downtown, that most of the action was outside the city limits at the malls.
The city hired a third-rate advertising agency to produce the spot. One of my friends, a musician, would be aggravated by the wrap-up of the ad that featured strep-throated singers shrieking: “Downtown Plattsburgh. Yours To Explore!” I’m not a musician but even my untrained ear was pained by the poorly-written, badly-executed jingle.
While the promo spot was being aired, I didn’t notice a surge in visitors to downtown. Any suckers who did fall for the ad soon realized that the only opportunity for exploration was pub-crawling.
Lately the city has skipped wasting the money on pointless promos and instead is vainly reconstructing downtown, screwing it up even more. Take a look at the west end of Bridge Street where it intersects with Margaret. For a while it was changed back to a two-way street, making it convenient for drivers. Now it’s being transformed into a one-way bottleneck.
And what happened to the taxi stand that used to be on Bridge Street? There was a big stink when the city had designated a couple of parking spots for cab drivers only. Both of Plattsburgh’s mainstream media outlets, the newspaper and the TV station, reported on the issue. It sounded that those spots were vital to the fiscal health of downtown. Tickets where issued to any non-taxi driver who trespassed on those forbidden areas. Now there doesn’t seem to be any room left to replace them.
One-way or two-way? Taxi stands or no taxi stands? Obviously Plattsburgh has no master plan; it just improvises along the way. Let’s try this. No, let’s try that. After all, if it doesn’t work, it’s only taxpayer money we’re wasting.
During a city common council meeting last year a downtown businessman vented his frustration to the mayor and the councilors. He summed up the situation best when he said: “You just throw crap on the wall and see what will stick.” (Thanks to a WIRY-Radio microphone, his comment was recorded for posterity.)
My advice to anyone considering a downtown visit: Stay the fuque away! The reconstruction just keeps dragging on. Key streets are ripped up to hell. If you want to damage your car, then come on down! If you want to get stuck in traffic, then join the crowd!
And after the “improvements” are finished? My advice: Stay the fuque away! The traffic flow will be worse than ever with the west end of Bridge Street being one-way for no good reason. And with streets like Brinkerhoff and Court that are partially two-way, then suddenly change into one-way streets, you’ll end up exploring in circles.