Solid Sound Brings Heavy Traffic To The City
|Wilco plays at Joe's Field on Saturday night. Solid Sound wraps up on Sunday afternoon. See more photos here.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – If you haven’t noticed, there are a lot more cars driving through North Adams this weekend.
With more than 7,000 people visiting North Adams for Solid Sound there has been noticeable influx in traffic.
Basic commutes to downtown have easily extended a few minutes and at some of the more precarious intersections, North Adams Police officers are needed to guide visitors and protect those making their way down to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on foot.
The downtown was a parking lot, with vehicles lining East, West and Main streets, Ashland, Church, Lincoln, River Houghton and Eagle.
Earlier on Saturday, the Farmers Market, with local crafters, took over Center Street between Holden and Marshall. While relocated to open up parking in the St. Anthony's Municipal Parking Lot, the response was extremely positive, with dozens of Facebook posts after the event calling for a permanent move.
"Today's atmosphere was almost street-fair like, with much interaction among vendors, customers and shoppers chatting and laughing...and most importantly BUYING LOCAL!!" wrote Lisa Jarisch on North Adams Everything Good.
While the traffic is welcome, it has been an unusual annoyance to local residents who want the clear path to downtown they are used to.
Some said the city looks like it did in the past when the factories were in business, others said that it was reminiscent of its glory days after World War II.
Resident Donald George said this weekend the city looks like it did when the race track in Pownal, Vt., was in full swing.
“It looks like the days of Green [Mountain], you couldn’t get anywhere,” George said. “It was difficult to get around but good for the city.”
Resident Steve Nichols said having this many people in the city is nothing new to North Adams.
"When I was younger and Sprague Electric was in full swing, you were used to all the traffic and people downtown," Nichols said. "If you didn’t want to deal with it you stayed home at certain times. It's not a big deal."
Local Greg Meaney welcomed the Solid Sound concertgoers after jokingly saying the city should leave out a "tip jar" so Wilco fans could help subsidize any tax increases from salt and sand this winter. He said the music festival truly benefits the city.
"It's nothing new, and there has always been negativity around people coming in," Meaney said. "People are worried more about getting over the bridge than the actual future of the city. We need this."