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‘Phoenixville Criterium’ Gets Tenative Approval from Council

The bike race is scheduled for June 30 at 2 p.m.

The Chesco Grandprix–the first annual bike racing series that’s tentatively scheduled for a June 30 date in Phoenixville–took another large step towards becoming reality on Tuesday night, as the borough council approved a revised application from the race organizers, pending the approval of police chief William Mossman.

The 0.6 mile course the cyclists will circle will begin and end at 220 W. Bridge Street, hang right on S. Main Street, run right onto Walnut Street, then turn right onto Gay Street before making a final right back onto Bridge. The originally proposed course had to be changed because USA Cycling–the governing body that oversees all such street races–adjusted its mandatory minimum street width.

The event is scheduled to start at 2 p.m., and will necessitate the closure of Walnut Street between Main and Gay from 1 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. on the day of the race. In the view of the council, the logistics of the closure pose a few headaches.

Mayor Leo Scoda worried the borough would be forced to tow residents who didn’t see signs warning them of the race, while president Richard Kirkner suggested that the primary proposal to handle the problem of displaced resident automobiles–free parking in the municipal lot on the day of the race for residents of Walnut Street–would be difficult to enforce and cost the township revenue.

"We're giving up our parking lot for the day and we're not getting anything out of it. We represent the taxpayers of this town, what's in it for them?" asked Kirkner.

Middle ward representative Jennifer Mayo, a Walnut Street resident and the race’s most vocal advocate on the council, said the hurdles were not so daunting as to make the race impossible to pull off.

"I want to see it," said Mayo, who suggested she would be willing to go door to door to inform her neighbors of the parking implications of the race. "I want to see it go by from my porch."

The race will also feature a fenced off beer garden sponsored by Downingtown's Victory Brewery that will be fully catered.

Pville21 May 30, 2012 at 07:35 PM
So, by planning this route they have effectively rendered one of the larger municipal lots useless. The lot off of prospect st only has 2 exits, onto church street, and onto gay street. That parking lot is now on an island that is not accesible to enter or exit. Also what about all of the residents that park in that lot? Are we not able to leave for the entire day? Poor Planning.
Tom Sunnergren May 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
It looks, Pville21, like the planning component isn't quite finished. The council members admitted, pretty uniformly, that there are some bugs still to be worked out in the plan, but they seem to think the event has enough upside for the borough, near and long term, that it's worth pressing on.
James Smith May 31, 2012 at 01:33 PM
What is wrong with using the free parking lot at Main and Washington? The lot is the same distance as the prospect street lot with better access and no hill to walk up. I'm sure our Police could put signage up in that parking lot days in advance to notify people the lot will be for Walnut Street residents on June 30th. We just had a very successful week long Dogwood Festival that displaced parking for all residents in a three block radius of Reeves Park. I think we can come up with a fair solution in Phoenixville to add another great annual event to our calendar.
Chris Kuok May 31, 2012 at 07:11 PM
So let's get this straight. People around Reeve's Park lose parking during the many festivals at the park and don't complain one bit. People who live around the many schools in the area lose parking daily and don't complain. People around the library sacrifice parking daily and don't complain. But the people who live near and around Prospect parking lot can't sacrifice a few hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon during hours that are typically not busy at all? About a parking lot that is not theirs to begin with? About a lot that is otherwise empty by their own admission during the start up of the parking program?
Bud Horenci May 31, 2012 at 07:30 PM
For the record, that lot belongs to the Presbyterian Church and is considered a private parking lot for their parishoners and local residents who seek permission to use it when the church doesn't need it. It is not a free, public lot.
David Curran May 31, 2012 at 08:43 PM
The link to the race's website is woefully lacking in details. Is is a series of onelap sprints or laps? Either way it really sounds neat, and I plan on attending. I would definitely expect a large turnout because of Phoenixville's proximity to popular biking trails. With the Schuylkill River Trail and Perkiomen Trail it really is a no-brainer to get to Phoenixville via bike.
Pville21 June 01, 2012 at 11:54 AM
The lot at main and washington is also useless for two reasons, its not a public lot, and the course passes right past it. The only way that people could park there would be if they arrived before and stayed until after. There would be no way in or out, becuause down the street is the other side of the course on gay st.
Pville21 June 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Come down that the prospect st lot tonight, on first friday around 7pm and tell me that its an "otherwise empty lot". Please, I would love for you to see what its like.
Chris Kuok June 01, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Pville21 - I live downtown and know exactly how it is on a Friday night. We're in my comment or in this article did Friday night ever become the question? It didn't. We're talking Saturday afternoon when that lot is empty. The only thing I know is that people who live around that lot feel like that lot belongs to them when it doesn't. So get over it. If you live in the downtown area then dealing with the extras that downtown events bring is part of the what you signed up for. If you wanted your own parking you should've purchased a home with a garage. Otherwise nothing is owed to you.
Chris Kuok June 01, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Your response it exactly the attitude I talk about in this thread regarding people feeling like that parking lot is there for them. Immediately you mention Friday nights when we all know Friday nights are busy but Friday night was never part of this conversation. It was only Saturday afternoon when everyone who lived around that lot complained that it should remain free because it's empty (exact words). It's going to be one Saturday afternoon so don't get your panties in a bunch. Go talk to the residents who live around Reeves Park who lose parking for almost 10 days each time the Dogwood Festival and Jazz Festival occurs. 10 days each time and you have the guts to complain about 1 slow Saturday afternoon. Whiner.
Pville21 June 04, 2012 at 12:05 PM
You clearly do not understand my point so I will make it easier for you ton understand, its not about me complaining about parking, I will get by. It quite simply this, everyone who comes out to phoenixville has a similat complaint, parking. So when the town holds this event and makes one of their biggest parking lots unavailabe, it makes the situation worse. Where does the town expect people, displaced residents and event attendees, to park? Not whining, so relax.
Steve Powers June 05, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Enjoy and accept these events. Some businesses have been here a while. Some have come and gone within a year or two. We need more of these events to continue to grow people to our town. We have come a long way in six years, yet a long way to get to Media or West Chester levels which are great. You have to deal with where you live. I live on 3rd avenue in Reeves Park. I knew about all the events at the park when I bought here. Is it pain for 8 nights with set up noise, yes. But worth it for one week a year and great for the town. They do need to get moving on the parking garage for all events and businesses.
Bob June 14, 2012 at 04:38 PM
When will a parking garage be built? I have been in towns smaller than Phoenixville that have them.
Chris Kuok June 14, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Oh Ok Bob. How about we tax your town to pay for the garage? Tell us in your infinite wisdom who would pay for that?
Bob June 15, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Well, Chris, nice to see that you like to engage in civil discourse and not resort to lame insults like so many people do these days. The infinite wisdom of your comment is so magnificent that it is a daunting task to even try to respond. However, if you must know, my town is Phoenixville. And, as far as who pays for the garage, any money used to pay for the building of the garage would be returned by revenue generated by the fees charged to park in the garage. The extra income generated by making Phoenixville more accomodating to visitors would also benefit the town and it's residents and businesses. A parking garage is exactly the kind of improvement project that tax money should be spent on as it pays back the town in so many ways.
Chris Kuok June 15, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Bob, the answer of a parking garage is ludicrous. You haven't really thought this out have you? You just threw it out there because it's the easy answer that people give when they don't know what else to say. The parking study from a few years back was posted publicly and talked about at length during the council meetings (which included talk of a garage...... for about 1 minute). One needs to consider the cost of even just a modest parking garage and then project that out over the length of a loan considering all factors including building costs, staff and maintenance etc and you quickly realize it doesn't work. Speaking of loans, we would also need to find a bank willing to front the bill for such a loan (that would be nearly impossible). Also, we would need a site to build the garage on (and please remember that the steel site is privately owned so we can't just walk in and break ground on property we don't own) and keeeping in mind that the borough taxpayers would be on the hook for all this. Bob, this is the easy answer because it's like saying let's trade Michael Vick for Aaron Rodgers. Sure that would be a great trade for us but there's one problem.......... Aaron Rodgers isn't on the market and the Packers aren't dumb enough to make the trade.
Bud Horenci June 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I have no position on this event or it's benefits but, I recall a fairly detailed study was done and concluded there is NOT enough demand for a parking garage to make it self sustaining. If you are from town, you know that except for Friday and Saturday nights, there just not a lot going on there. With garage construction costing in excess of $20,000 a space, as I recall, the garage would need to be full pretty much every day to come close to funding construction. And the alternative of taxing property owner to fund it is just out of the question. West Chester and Media are county seats and have lots of county activities and court systems to support their garages. Phoenixville has none of that. It's a shame but that's just the way it is. Cheers.
Chris Kuok June 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Opps! Sorry Bud didn't mean to step on your toes. Same answer. Two different styles. Sorry I can't be as nice as Bud but it's such an old and tired discussion at this point.
Bud Horenci June 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
No problem here Chris. We are on the same page. Also, regarding land acquisition, the Borough just bought property for it's new Borough Hall. I believe they over paid just under a million for that dinky property next to the District Court building and we all pay for that as well. If money could be made on a parking garage there would already be one there. It's a losing proposition from the getgo. Plus we're also already on the hook for the $100,000 defunct Parking Authority borrowing to "improve" and meter Borough lots. It never ceases to amaze me.
Chris Kuok June 15, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Bud, the parking authority was absorbed by the borough so it's not really defunct although technically you're correct. It seems the borough always planned on taking over the authority if you followed it. They (council) had to approve all decisions made by the board so nothing got done without borough approval (which I always found odd if council had nothing to do with the authority as they claimed). They are also making money at this point which is good news for the taxpayers. It seems to me like they didn't want to take the brunt of breaking the tough news to the locals. Regardless, I'm all for charging people to park in those lots. It's like they said in the beginning to let the people that use the parking lots pay for the parking lots. So all those folks going to bars and restaurants and enjoying our downtown can keep bucking up and paying their fair share. I never saw the problem with that philosophy. Now, what's this have to do with a bike race for gods sake. Let's get back to bike race talk. Is Lance gonna be in the race?
Bob June 18, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Boys, boys. You need to think a little about this. There are plans to add how many new residential units in town? A parking garage would not just be for people visiting town. A section of it could be set aside for people residing in town for which they would pay a monthly fee. Some of the existing parking in town could be converted to other uses, funneling more cars to the garage. As for funding, there are many options besides just using tax money. I have been to towns no bigger than Phoenixville that don't have near as much as we have going on that manage to have a viable, modest parking garage. It just takes a little imagination, which is obviously lacking in many quarters.
Lynn B. July 03, 2012 at 03:19 PM
who would have thought when I bought my house 3 blocks from downtown Phoenixville 24 1/2 years ago that it would actually be to my advantage. I only bought it for the price at the time...in 1987 P'ville was a tumbleweed town. Now I can walk to all the new and exciting happenings in town without ever moving my car.
Peter C. Brown July 03, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Lucky you Lynn! Everything changes - fortunately for us - most of it is for the better!

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