Waltham business owners split on making popular shopping and dining street pedestrian-only

WALTHAM, Mass — A lot of people now look forward to areas like Moody Street in Waltham shutting down to traffic for the summer.

The switchover started with the pandemic when restaurants embraced outdoor dining.

“It’s a wonderful place for the families to kind of just relax and not worry about the cars,” said Carol Perris, manager at Vinotta restaurant.

But now that the pandemic is coming to an end, Waltham city leaders need to decide whether to keep Moody Street pedestrian-only in the summer once again.

There are two proposals on the table right now.

One would be to shut down traffic completely on Moody Street between Pine Street and High Street all summer like the last three years.

Another proposal would make it a one-way street during the week and pedestrian-only on weekends.

Either way it’s a hot topic among business owners here.

“We think it does promote the businesses, it brings eyes like street level it brings eyes to all the businesses here where if you’re zooming by in a car, you’re not going to see that,” said Perris.

“I’m looking forward for this year too,” said Leon Bo, who runs Rose Nails. “It attracts more customers to visit my business too, so it’s a good thing and I like to see people walking around like no noisy cars you know.”

But not everyone is on board with shutting Moody Street down this year.

“We lost so many clients,” said Neeta Chawla, owner of Neeta’s Heritage Threading Salon & Spa.

She says her business has taken a big hit since traffic has closed during the summer.

“Summertime is mostly business time for salon and spa, we didn’t get nothing,” said Chawla.

She says although the restaurants are drawing lots of people from all over, it’s been a pain for her regular customers and for many other small businesses like salons and barbershops.

“They have to park their car really far because so many other people are coming from far away they park their car, but the regular client when they come here they don’t have a space to park their car,” said Chawla.

Waltham city leaders will make a decision on this by the end of this month.

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