EDITORIAL: Gridlocked

The City of Penticton seems convinced that 12-foot wide sidewalks is an essential element of making Downtown Penticton more vibrant.

The City of Penticton seems convinced that 12-foot wide sidewalks is an essential element of making Downtown Penticton more vibrant.

Vibrant Penticton is the phrase the city has been using over the past few years in planning to revitalize and enhance Penticton’s downtown and waterfront. But how vibrant is downtown going to be when traffic has come to a standstill along Main Street?

Among other things, the just-released plans for the enhancement of the 100 and 200 blocks of Main include widening the side walks, narrowing the traffic to two lanes and removing the angle parking in the 100-block — also resulting in the loss of parking spots in a premium area.

You’ve circled the block three times and there, finally, is an open parking spot. Few of us are masters at parallel parking, so it takes you a minute to get lined up and backed in neatly, holding up traffic in your lane all the while. Not a problem, except someone is trying to do the same thing on the opposite side of the street, and half a block down, a courier truck has double parked so the driver can run in and make a delivery. Instant gridlock, and it is only going to cost $4.3 million to get there.

The latest street design does widen out into three lanes at the Westminster Avenue intersection, easing the pressure on that bottleneck, but the current three-lane design allows traffic to keep flowing around obstructions all along Main Street. Clean sidewalks, enhanced green spaces, trees and flowers, are more relevant to a better pedestrian experience than wide sidewalks.

City hall’s plans for Lakeshore Drive, originally, included removal of angle parking for wider boulevards, an idea that council was also told came from public consultation. It turned out many members of the community felt their views weren’t reflected in those plans — evidenced by 1,000 signatures on a petition delivered to council three weeks after the plans were introduced.

Is this another example of the city not considering a larger portion of the public? Or, residents failing to show up to voice their opinion?