Renaissance Brandon would like to see the city remove the downtown cement barricades, so the area no longer looks like a "year-round construction zone," according to board chair Shaun Cameron.
One of the strategic goals of the downtown development organization for the next year is to look at "street-scaling improvements" along Princess Avenue and Rosser Avenue.
Cameron said the first step would be removing the barricades, also known as Jersey barriers, from the one-way streets.
"You’d still have to have something in there just to keep the traffic from accidentally coming up the street …but definitely something more appealing," Cameron said. "Whether it be planters or flowers or trees, along that line just to have a much nicer look than a cement barricade."
The barriers were added in the summer of 2011, when the city launched a downtown traffic/ angled parking trial. Ninth and 10th streets became one-way streets from Princess Avenue to Pacific Avenue, with angled parking added on one side of the street.
The idea was to get traffic to flow north on 10th Street and south on Ninth Street, forcing traffic to loop the area by making only right-hand turns.
"(The board members) were happy with the one-way streets as they were set up, in the sense that it created a nice flow of traffic, around the Ninth/10th street corridor there and was able to slow vehicles down ... which I think helps exposure to businesses and just safety as well," Cameron said.
The 2011 trial also included a pedestrian mall. From Aug. 17 to Sept. 16, the block of Rosser Avenue between Ninth and 10th streets was modified to allow for a pedestrian-friendly shopping corridor, complete with picnic tables, benches and live entertainment.
The initiative was met with mixed reviews and ultimately did not receive funding for the summer of 2012 or 2013.
Angled parking has also had its fair share of mixed reviews. While some are happy with the 70 extra parking stalls, others find it awkward and even unsafe.
Coun. Len Isleifson (Riverview) brought up the issue at this week’s city council meeting.
He said he has received a number of complaints from people who work and shop in the downtown area.
"A long time ago … when I learned to drive, you’re taught to check over your right shoulder when you back up," he said. "That is impossible to do on 10th Street, you have to look over your left shoulder. I almost got nailed trying to pull out of a parking stall. It’s very dangerous to park down there."
Isleifson asked city administration to come back to council with a report regarding the angled parking.
"Maybe just an explanation on the consultation we received and if there is an opportunity to re-look at it, and if we’re going to keep angled parking, maybe move it to the other side of the street," he said.
Coun. Jan Chaboyer (Green Acres) was also questioning the effectiveness of the downtown angled parking.
"I would also like (city administration) to include some of the safety elements in their report," she said.
Ted Snure, general manager of development services, said there are currently no plans to get rid of angled parking or Jersey barriers.
Staff will provide council with a report addressing the inquiries from both Chaboyer and Isleifson.
"They had just asked us to provide a report with regards to the angled parking and which side of the street it should be on and the reasons why it’s on the side that it’s on," he said. "So all of that stuff that council had asked us for, we’ll certainly be looking at and bringing it back as a response to council."
Snure said discussions are currently underway with Renaissance Brandon to look at alternatives to the cement barriers.