In all the recent controversy over whether Main Street downtown should have one-way or two-way traffic, the problems with narrowing the street to two lanes, making room for wider, more “pedestrian-friendly” sidewalks seems to have been overlooked.
Picture this: you’re cruising down Main Street when a courier truck, its driver frustrated from circling the block five times trying to find a parking spot, simply stops in front of you.
You look to change lanes, but traffic is stopped there by an SUV trying to parallel park in a spot sized for a smart car.
Welcome to Manhattan.
The current three-lane design allows traffic to keep flowing through the centre lane regardless.
Consider Westminster Avenue, one of the busiest corners, which almost always has people turning right and left at the same time.
In the present setup, drivers heading straight through can use the centre lane, but how far is traffic going to be backed up without that extra lane?
Downtown revitalization is a good thing. But sidewalks don’t need to be 12 feet wide to make them pedestrian friendly.
Clean sidewalks, more street furniture, enhanced green spaces, trees, flowers, these are what contribute to a better pedestrian experience.
As with the proposed removal of angle parking along Lakeshore, city council and the planning staff may not have considered that the public, in the long run, may not be willing to give up convenience for a prettier design.
The City of Penticton should be able to find a better use for the $424,600 cost of realigning Main Street than creating a permanent traffic jam.