Vernon businesses have mixed views on downtown street closure to traffic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon businesses have mixed views on downtown street closure to traffic

FILE PHOTO - Vernon patios

Vernon businesses have mixed views about closing downtown streets to traffic this summer.

The Downtown Vernon Association recently conducted a survey, asking businesses if they would like to see closures to vehicle traffic in the 2900 and 3000 blocks of 30th Avenue this summer. The survey will be presented to city council during its next regular meeting, Monday, June 14.

Businesses were more supportive of the closure in the 2900 block than in the 3000 block.

READ MORE: Thompson-Okanagan cities allow patios, close streets to support business during COVID-19 restrictions

In the 2900 block, 85% of respondents supported a full closure and 11 of 18 businesses facing 30th Avenue also supported it. Only five (28%) support a partial closure.

But only 53% of survey respondents supported a full closure to traffic in the 3000 block. Eight businesses out of 21 businesses on 30th Avenue also supported a full closure on the block. Data was not available on a partial closure for this block due to a survey error.

Businesses also said Thursday through Sunday would be the best days for street closures to traffic as well as for activities or entertainment.

“From the comments, ideas, and suggestions shared in the survey, and in discussions with the businesses in these two blocks, there is a demonstrated willingness from our 30th Avenue facing businesses, particularly in the 2900 block, to create a vibrant, useable, and welcoming public space for all community user groups (eg. dining patio areas, entertainment, interactive activities, etc.). What is not clear at this point, is whether closure of 30th Avenue to vehicle traffic is the most effective approach to achieving this objective,” said Susan Lehman, executive director of the business association, in the report.

In the 3000 block, 73%, or 11 of 15, of those surveyed would consider alternative programs or activities while 11 of 21 businesses facing 30th Avenue would consider them.

Currently 52% of businesses facing 30th Avenue prefer the current status quo in the 3000 block until a more developed plan is created, while 73%, or 11 of 15, survey participants prefer the current situation until a better plan is created.

The downtown association is requesting that the city assigns the appropriate personnel to work with the association and businesses to collaborate on both short-term and long-term 30th Avenue plans “to increase the public's enjoyment and use of our historic and beautiful "main street” and provide increased exposure for businesses.


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