Today's Cap Times has an article on the problems generated by the popularity of the new Plan B nightclub on Willy Street. The club owners have been very pro-active in working with the neighborhood, and they are seeking ways to contain the noise from dozens of patrons hanging around outside waiting to get in once the club has reached its capacity. There have also been complaints about the glare of headlights at closing time.
I have some thoughts. In recent years, Disney World has used something called a "FastPass" to manage the lines for popular attractions. Instead of standing in line for an hour or more, you go to a kiosk and get a ticket with a return time printed on it. You spend your waiting time elsewhere in the park (where the lines are shorter or non-existant), then come back during your time window and enter the attraction through the FastPass entrance. The times printed on the tickets are staggered according to the park's expected attendance and the loading speed of the attraction.
Plan B could do something similar. They could have a stack of tickets printed up ahead of time, with staggered return times (stacked in chronological order) based on the usual attrition rate for that night of the week (that is, the usual pattern of how long it takes for X number of people to leave the club per hour). People who want to get in after the club is full are given a ticket with the earliest time they can return. They don't have to worry about losing their place in line, since those who arrive later will be given tickets with later return times. The backs of the tickets could have ads for other area establishments that are open late, encouraging people to hang out inside another bar or restaurant rather than outside in a residential neighborhood. Thus, Plan B would be a good neighbor to other bars and restaurants as well as to the sleeping residents on their block.
They are also trying to work on building a wooden privacy fence to help with the noise and headlight issues. However, the owner of the apartment building next door complains that "a fence built right to the property line would squeeze access to his building and make it difficult to move furniture or appliances into the apartments."
How about a heavy vinyl curtain (made of the same material used for commercial banners) rather than a wooden fence? It would be flexible enough to allow furniture and appliances between the buildings yet still deflect noise and light as well as a wooden fence. Perhaps it would be prohibitively expensive, or perhaps a vinyl curtain that size would be too heavy to safely hang. I don't know enough about the product to say. Some kind of moveable barrier is what is needed. Maybe something like a roll-top desk lid, mounted sideways? It could be retracted during the day.
I hope Plan B works out the lingering issues and becomes a Madison institution every bit as beloved as the Cardinal Bar and the (late, lamented) Hotel Washington.