Letter to the Editor: Creative solutions needed for rail bridge disruption

The railroad bridge project in downtown Middlebury is going to happen. There is no way around it and we must accept (serious) short-term inconveniences and impact for long-term good and, of paramount importance, safety.
How about the complaining stops and the creativity kicks in? At risk of sounding naïve in a complex situation, let’s at least think about, for example:
•  Temporary parking areas on each side of town, with continuous shuttle service through town and across the College campus.
•  Close Main Street during heavy construction periods and create a pedestrian mall.
•  Institute a yellow bike program in the downtown area. Create bike lanes to encourage people to ride and walk rather than drive. Encourage walking and biking in good weather. 
•  Pop-up stores for those impacted Main Street shops — perhaps in the new park mid-day and (fee-free) at the Farmer’s Market, which will now be out of the central downtown fray.
 It is going to be tough, but we don’t have to make it even more difficult. Let’s turn the ‘ghost town’ into a tourist attraction with the kind of energy the Town Hall Theater has shown to address downtown challenges.
 I work with over 1,000 college students and their families over the summer — let’s find mutually beneficial ways to keep them going downtown.
Elizabeth Karnes Keefe
West Cornwall

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