Peekskill to keep cars off Esther Place pedestrian plaza
Peekskill residents who rallied to keep a street closed off to traffic can rejoice today as the city leaders decided not to go through with a proposal to open Ester Street back up.
City leaders announced their decision at Monday night's meeting to keep Esther Street, or Esther Place as locals call it, a pedestrian plaza.
In 2020, during the pandemic, city leaders closed off the 120-foot back alley.
But recently the city council was considering a proposal that could reopen the street again. They said there had been complaints about people parking illegally on neighboring crosswalks, insufficient storefront access for some businesses, and difficulty getting plows, garbage trucks, and emergency vehicles through.
But hundreds of business owners and residents signed a petition demanding the road stay closed permanently. There was even a rally this past weekend.
Many said they felt the closed off street has improved downtown business and become a go-to community space.
In the end, the city council dropped the proposal in favor of sticking with their plan from 2020 when the area was originally converted.
"People know they can come to Esther Place, have a coffee or a meal, they can do a little bit of shopping, check out the art galleries, or just sit, open up a laptop, open up a book and do work," says Conor Greene, of Peekskill Walks.
The decision will leave the street for pedestrians while also incorporating loading zones and ensuring people can pass safely so first responders can get in.