If you read my post taking on the Ward One Resident Association, you know I was supportive of TriRock Annapolis. And I really wanted them to get it right. I wanted the City of Annapolis, the government and the citizens, to see the good in this type of event – I want us to really understand the potential we have to host some kick bootie events. I wanted the organizers to prove they could make good on their promises. And I wanted the downtown Annapolis businesses to profit from this. I’m not associated with any of the above mentioned so I had absolutely nothing to gain, but gosh I wanted it to work!
The main concern among folks was the disruption to traffic and street closures. And so the City sent out an email Thursday afternoon with all the information included. I’ve copied and pasted it here. It clearly states that Prince George St. between Randall and Maryland Ave. will be for residents only, from 2p Friday to 6p Saturday, assuming to accommodate the streets that were closed and cleared. On Friday at 4:45p, no signs had been posted. When I called the City’s office right before 5, (4.58 to be exact) I was very pleasantly surprised that the phone was answered. I figured Friday afternoon, they’d surely be gone. The City employee was quite irritated with my news, but I was shocked when I was told she hadn’t been downtown yet. As the Special Projects Coordinator, you’d think she would have at least been on-site for five minutes considering all the tension and animosity surrounding TriRock.
The signs went up but they only made it less than half way up Prince George St., not even to East St. If there are no signs, non residents will park. And they’ll have a valid argument. I know the parking enforcers work hard… or so many people wouldn’t complain about getting tickets. But somewhere there’s a disconnect.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. Folks didn’t get the memo about no parking and the tow trucks were out at 5a doing their job, clearing the streets and serving as an unsolicited alarm clock at 5:30a on a Saturday for your’s truly. So I decided to capitalize and take a drive through town before roads closed. Where were the competitors parking? Up at the top of West Street? Nope. On Prince George in residents only, King George, and in the Hillman Garage. (Towne Park had employees in that booth at 6a!) I stopped one athlete and asked where the organization told him to park. His response, “wherever we could find a spot or in one of the two garages.” I kid you not. My heart sank.
I sat quietly observing outside the Donner Lot (where the Farmer’s Market takes place) that I assume TriRock paid for. It was half empty and I saw a few spectators with out of state plates pull in to park. I was ecstatic to see the Circulator go by. And then a volunteer drove by and stopped to ask the Police Officer directing traffic asking where the volunteer parking was. She kindly showed me her notice saying there were two places for them to park- an address on Compromise or the Gott’s Garage for $10, which would be reimbursed. Again, pure disappointment. Park Place and Knighton are $5 and the Circulator is free! Create a situation that puts people on the Circulator and make it part of the Annapolis experience. First-hand experience is an excellent marketing opportunity. And it would have saved the Competitor Group money. But I guess the folks out in San Diego don’t care about that? Maybe this is part of why WORA butt heads with them? Did the City of Annapolis work with the Competitor Group to educate them about the options?
All these thoughts ran through my mind. And then, my personal favorite. A little blue car drove up Prince George in the opposite direction of traffic. The driver was sporting a TriRock jacket and fit all stereotypes of San Diego. He was clearly part of the organization. And he wanted to proceed down the bottom half of Prince George, empty of all cars, and closed to all traffic for the event that he was part of. Oh- and the race had started and bikes were racing full speed down the road. The police officer told him no way was he going down that road. Points for the APD. I was shocked at what seemed to be total arrogance on TriRock’s part that they could violate the law and more importantly, put their racers’ safety in jeopardy.
But TriRock did patronize the businesses on the closed streets. They purchased Sugar Buns from Sugar Buns in the Kitchen and they bought crepes from Sofi’s. And both businesses were extremely busy that morning. They followed through on their promises. People were walking with their plants from the HAF Annual Plant Sale, so it didn’t prohibit the fundraiser.
People came to town. Some stayed and some made a weekend of it. It brought the downtown residents out to the streets. It was fun to watch and its overall impact on the traffic and streets was significantly less than commissioning week and boat show.
We see the potential for Annapolis to be a great location for big time events, but it can never happen until the City gets it together, the residents are kosher with outsiders bringing their money to our town and understand that their lives aren’t really inconvenienced, and the outside organizers can work on their arrogance. And that’s where AnnapolisChatter stands. If you have an opinion, please feel free to contact us or post below!