PENTICTON - Merchants in Penticton’s 200 block of Main Street appear to be taking in stride the traffic disruptions and restricted access resulting from this year’s downtown revitalization project, which began earlier this week.
On Monday, March 14, the 200 block was barricaded from traffic and construction fences erected around the sidewalk perimeters. Since then, trees have been removed, curbs and asphalt torn up and much of the sidewalk’s interlocking brick removed.
“It’s all been pretty good,” says Central Interior Traffic Control flagger Sandy Reed, who says there have been no accidents so far. She says people have taken the construction work in stride.
“There are a lot of friendly people down here,” she says.
Sirius Science and Nature Proprietor John Patterson says he had “an awesome day” yesterday, March 15, and today has been “okay.”
“So far so good,” Patterson says. “They’ve done a lot of work in just a few days."
Patterson is concerned some of the businesses in the 200 block have expressed intentions of closing while the construction goes on.
“I’m hoping other businesses don’t do that, because it might result in a perception it’s not business as usual, with no one open,” he says.
At least three businesses on the street won’t be affected by the street closure, as Hooked on Books, Fibonacci Roastery and Cafe and Softy’s Shoes continue restoration work on their shops following a fire last year.
A spokesperson for Action Vacuum, who did not wish to be named, called the construction “work that has to be done.” She says her business has been on the street since the last revitalization work was done in 1974.
“They left the sidewalk so people can still get around. We’re just telling people who call to come to our back door, which is easily accessed, in addition to having free parking. It’s not hurting us that much,” she says.
“They are working very hard, it’s going to look beautiful when it’s done,” says Georgia of Capitol Restaurant, who concedes the last few days’ work has affected her business.
Several business owners refused to comment on the project.
Work on the 200 block includes replacement of water mains, installing new storm drainage, replacing and widening the sidewalks, replacement of street lights and traffic signals, and repaving. The work is scheduled until June, with work on the 100 block starting in September.
Contractors are expected to be on the street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Businesses in the 200 block will be accessible during the construction period.
While construction takes place, 15 minute express parking and additional free two hour parking zones are being added between March 17 and June 17, east of Main Street.
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