Market Avenue will reopen to vehicle traffic Sundays through Thursdays, following a special city council meeting Tuesday, June 15.
The avenue will be closed for pedestrian-friendly markets on Fridays, Saturdays and statutory holidays until Sept. 6, according to council’s resolution.
Tuesday’s meeting came a week after affected business owners publicly voiced their concerns about the Downtown Business Association’s (DBA’s) “Market on Market” initiative, which closed Market Avenue seven days a week starting May 15.
Representing the DBA, Market Place Ice Cream’s Susan MacDougall asked mayor and council to amend the street closure along the lines of council’s resolution. The DBA had planned the Market Avenue closure while affected cafés were closed to indoor dining due to COVID-19 restrictions, she explained. But several businesses, including the cafés, reported that the street closure had dented revenues by the time these restrictions were lifted on May 25.
The DBA had meanwhile hoped to see market vendors operating as many as four days a week, which later boiled down to three, she said.
Council then heard that Market Avenue business owners had volunteered to set up and take down traffic barricades as needed. Staff explained that business owners already operating outdoor patios on Market Avenue would need their own insurance in order to protect the city against potential lawsuits.
Existing patios can stay on Market Avenue, but no more patios can go on the street, according to council’s resolution.
Flower pots installed along Market Avenue parking stalls will be moved onto the sidewalk, taking into account pedestrian safety and parking access, staff said.
The changes come into effect Fathers Day Sunday, June 20, when Market Avenue will open to two-way vehicle traffic until Thursday. Bollards installed in the middle of Market Avenue on May 15 will stay in place until the Market on Market wraps up after Sept. 6.