Williamsburg Walks has been shortened to a crawl.
Bowing to pressure from some business owners, organizers of the Bedford Avenue street festival agreed to condense the summertime pedestrian mall from six Saturdays to one weekend, June 26 and 27.
The festival originated as a pilot program two years ago which shut down bustling Bedford Avenue to traffic for four Saturdays in July and August. The event doubled foot traffic, according to a Transportation Alternatives study, but retailers complained of lost profits during the days when the festival occurred — typically their busiest day of the week.
As a result, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth was forced to make the change.
“Thank God they’ve cut it,” said Jill Goldhand, the owner of the N. Sixth Street furniture store A and G Merch, who urged festival organizers to reduce the schedule.
Williamsburg Walks may be shorter, but Neighbors Allied for Good Growth said it will be better. “We are confident that the event will be fantastic and we will establish a sustainable model for the years to come,” said event organizer Gregor Nemitz-Ziadie.
For Jumelle’s Madeline Vibrasius, who runs a clothing boutique on Bedford Avenue near N. Eighth Street, the revised schedule is a “fair compromise” between the merchants and Williamsburg Walks.
“It will probably have less of a chaotic feeling and have more of a festive summer feeling that brings the community together,” said Vibrasius. “We’re looking forward to this event so we won’t have to dread it anymore.”
Williamsburg Walks will host a public forum at Teddy’s Bar and Grill [96 Berry St. between N. Eighth and Berry streets, Williamsburg] on April 21 at 6 pm.