Some downtown businesses contacted by KTW have mixed reactions to the calls of a Kamloops councillor to scrap one-way streets in the city’s core.
Coun. Denis Walsh has called one-way streets restrictive and outdated. He said one-way streets create highway-like conditions for vehicles passing through and discourage foot and bicycle traffic in the core at a time when people are increasingly seeking alternative transportation.
City staff, meanwhile, have said one-way street were created to enhance the flow of traffic downtown, and that converting them to two-way routes would reduce the number of vehicles able to access the downtown core.
One-way streets are located on Seymour Street, Lansdowne Street, First Avenue and Third Avenue.
KTW reached out to some downtown businesses to hear their thoughts on the issue.
Janette Roos, a manager at Frankly Coffee on Lansdowne Avenue, said she thinks the change would help with business and has heard from customers who have trouble accessing the coffee shop in the 400-block of Lansdowne.
“Lots of people forget, because it is a one-way, that we are even down here, just for the simple fact that Victoria Street is one road up going both ways and there’s always traffic, but down here going one-way — they are leaving,” she said.
At Klasske’s Bistro, at 260 Third Ave., owner Rob Cornborough said he has heard no complaints about access and said changing to a two-way street might even make the situation worse.
“I don’t see how that would change anything,” he said.
“I don’t honestly think making it a two-way street is going to improve anything.
“Point A to Point B would be faster for some people, but I don’t think we’re going to see an increase in business.”
Gerald Thiessen, owner of Papa G’s Cafe at 561 Seymour St., believes changing Seymour to a two-way street would indeed slow traffic down.
“Traffic comes by here — it’s like a freeway some days. There’s accidents on the corner where I’m at all the time,” he said, referring to the corner of Seymour and Sixth Avenue.
“But I don’t know where they think it’s going to increase pedestrian traffic. Last night, I drove down Victoria and down here [at Seymour Street and Sixth Avenue,] it was a ghost town at nine o’clock.
“You go one block over [to Victoria Street] and there’s people on both sides of the street going all the way down,” he said.
“I think Denis has got some valid points, but I think he’s outnumbered at the city.”
Thiessen also noted problems with vehicles turning the wrong way onto Seymour from Sixth.
“I see it every single day,” he said.
All parties contacted by KTW noted parking as the issue they hear about the most from customers.