Is Providence creeping toward 4 am closings?

Tucked near the end of Greg Smith's story yesterday on Providence's new approach to funding a roving police patrol on heavy nightlife nights was this interesting info:

Assuming the roving detail works out, city officials and business people expect that it will be a precursor to serious consideration of a very controversial idea: later closing times for bars and nightclubs.

One school of thought has always held that if so many clubgoers did not spill out of the nightspots at the same time — most bars and clubs in the area have licenses allowing a closing time of 2 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights before holidays — the problems with rowdiness and traffic congestion would be alleviated.

“…We had to demonstrate that we had managed the existing business [at the 2 a.m. nightspots], before we could have a serious conversation about staggered and different closing times…,” Cicilline said Tuesday.

The creation of a permanent roving detail and requiring the bars and nightclubs to pay most of the cost is the recommendation of a coalition of government officials, business people and other downtown stakeholders called the Hospitality Resource Partnership. With the help of a California consultant, the city and the management district created the partnership in an effort to work through the tensions inherent in redeveloping Providence’s old central business district and the Jewelry District.

The Phoenix and the ProJo's David Brussat have been among the few lonely voices that have for years publicly called for later closing times as a way of alleviating Providence's seeming intractable nightlife issues. It's good to see movement on this from the city.

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