Rallying in support of the Chippewa Street ordinance
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Most people would expect all college students to be against the Chippewa Street commingling ordinance banning minors after dark, but here’s a twist: we’re in favor of it.
Frequent college partiers have probably noticed by now that anyone under the age of 21 is now barred from the Chippewa Entertainment District after 10 p.m. The argument has been on the table for several years and has officially been put into action in the last few weeks.
The main motive of the Buffalo Common Council for banning minors from the strip was safety, and while restricting anyone under the legal age from hanging around Chippewa won’t necessarily solve the problem completely, it definitely will help.
The ban began when bar owners along Chippewa Street claimed rowdy kids at night were giving the strip a bad name. Instead of being responsible adults, we’ve made it so the city has taken a parent role, scolding us for our destructive behavior and telling us we have a curfew. College students our age will be quick to argue that we’re old enough to fight in a war but not old enough to go have a couple of drinks, but we clearly haven’t earned that right yet.
In fact, “College Night” for Chippewa ran its trial “one-night-a-week period” until the last Thursday of September. With any level of tact and maturity, the night could have stayed in effect, but instead the period ended after four incidents led to four bars being shut down.
The argument against the ban doesn’t just come from students, though. Other business owners see this as a major threat to the economy downtown now that those under 21 won’t be allowed to commingle with adults. Is the money worth the safety? Buffalo’s Entertainment District, most notably Chippewa Street, is notorious for late-night crime and violence, and college students are easy targets. But even when it’s not a college night, the infamous Chip Strip is dangerous, and the late night appeal is sometimes baffling after seeing slews of after-dark stabbings and shootings making the morning news.
Despite a struggling Buffalo economy, the absence of college students on Chippewa isn’t going to drive it into the ground. It might create a temporary sting for the businesses on the strip, but if they really want to make up the money, they can market better to students before curfew. After all, by taking away college night, you’re not giving them the opportunity to enjoy themselves. Businesses need to take the opportunity to be creative and find new ways to sell their service.
As for the students fighting for their right to party, does it really have to be Chippewa? Surely you can find a new bar in the city off the strip to move your Thursday night party to, especially since other Buffalo bars are going to quickly take advantage of the Entertainment District’s closed doors with their own specials. Go against your instincts to cause a commotion and let this one go.