North Fulton County

Roswell business owners sound off about pedestrian-only plans for Canton Street

ROSWELL, Ga. — The city of Roswell heard from business owners and residents Tuesday morning over plans to shut down a busy downtown road to vehicular traffic.

The plan for Canton Street would be to close a section of it to vehicles in order to make it more pedestrian-friendly, according to Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson.

At City Hall, the mayor admitted it was his fault that the plan wasn’t communicated properly to those affected and that he didn’t get their input first.

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The plan was first brought up in the last few weeks.

Then a compromise was made to start with just implementing the plan on weekends.

But business owners aren’t happy with the process or the planning.

The plan to close Canton Street to vehicles was originally floated as a trial from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“I think the businesses of the historic district feel a little like a kicked dog,” business owner Ryan Pernice told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach.

Some small business owners in the historic downtown Roswell district who met for a discussion at City Hall Tuesday morning agree their bottom line could benefit from making it more pedestrian-friendly by creating the “Canton Street Promenade.”

But a majority said it would hurt businesses by cutting off access.


“It’s our livelihood!” one attendee exclaimed during the discussion.

All attendees agreed that the biggest issue is parking and the idea isn’t realistic until a parking garage is completed in about two years.

“We’re not universally opposed to this idea, we’re not universally for it. So there’s a range of beliefs on where we all stand. And we just wanted to get our voices heard on what we think the issues are,” Pernice said.

Wilson said he wasn’t trying to keep it secret, but moved fast and now promises more engagement and an ongoing conversation.

“Long term is one, improving the quality of life for Roswell residents, activating an already great area, making it safer, but the thing that we just thought, intuitively, logically was really significantly benefitting the businesses on Canton Street,” Wilson said.

Wilson said they’ll have another public input session next Tuesday and any plan would have to eventually have to be voted on and approved by the city council before there can be any closures on Canton Street.

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