AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Taking your drink to-go is now an option in one part of Downtown Aiken.
City leaders approved closing The Alley to cars and allowing people to have a cold adult beverage outside.
Cars haven’t been able to drive through the Alley since it was closed down for renovations.
However Bee Lane, intersects The Alley, and that’s been open to vehicles, but as part of the city’s latest push to make the town a destination, that’s been closed to cars indefinitely.
“I like the idea of a pedestrian kind of walkway,” Dennis Ryan told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
“You’re not worried about cars running you over when you’re having a beer,” said Aiken Realtor John Lamprecht.
A one-way sign, on Bee Lane, won’t be necessary anymore, now that The Alley is officially closed to vehicular traffic.
People making deliveries to the restaurants, in The Alley, no longer have the luxury of parking right in front of the businesses.
However, business owners say it hasn’t been a problem.
“The trucks had already stopped coming through over a year ago, when the pavors came in, because they didn’t want to mess up the road either.” Owner of Trio Bar & Kitchen Jeffrey Jordan said.
Transforming The Alley into a pedestrian mall also allows people to order beer and wine in a plastic cup, and enjoy it out in the open safely.
“I think it’s great,” Lamprecht said. “I think they should have done it a long time ago. If you come out here on Thursday night, Saturday, or any other time of the day now, you kind of really get a good glimpse of just what’s happening in Aiken.”
Jordan says at first closing the road hurt business, but that’s not the case anymore.
“As amenities have been added to The Alley, like “Amp The Alley” and the beautification of it, it’s not as sterile as it used to be.” Jordan said. “It’s added a lot of foot traffic, so it’s actually turned out to be a really good thing.”
City leaders say not allowing traffic on Bee Lane helps to preserve the pavement, so it cuts down on the cost of maintenance.