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Business owners welcome new Main Street traffic

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Main Street in Buffalo was reopened for cars on Friday after $8 million and decades of pedestrian mall status.

The reopening took place in the middle of a series of packed houses in Shea's for "Motown: The Musical." Drivers quickly remembered how to stop in front of restaurants and drop people off and then move to a parking space.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," said Joe Jerge, owner of Della Mostra restaurant. "Whether or not it affects commerce on Main Street really is up in the air."

Jerge has a good connection since his new restaurant is connected with Shea's by an interior hallway. The restaurateur says parking right on the block might bring more pedestrians and those customers being dropped off right out front.

"That would very advantageous, not only for us but for everybody on Main Street. If you go down Main Street, there is still a lot of shuttered buildings and stuff like that. So, hopefully this will be the beginning of what may change that," Jerge said.

Many of the current theaters and restaurants don't have entrances on Washington or Pearl so customers had to hike a considerable distance to the front door before the street was reopened.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.