Merchants assess Parking Task Force recommendations | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateTue, 23 Jul 2024 1pm

Merchants assess Parking Task Force recommendations

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    The Downtown Drumheller Parking Task Force delivered its recommendations to Drumheller Town Council on the future of parking changes to the core, however the recommendations are getting a mixed reception from some of those affected.
    The task force made its recommendations, and council unanimously accepted the documents. Some of the recommendations included parallel parking along 3rd Avenue between Highway 9 (2nd Street West) and 1st Street West. The rest of 3rd Avenue will remain angle parking, however the angle will be changed, which will widen the driving lane and improve visibility.
    The formation of the task force came after a groundswell of residents made their voices known to council through a survey published in The Drumheller Mail, spearheaded by a group of downtown merchants.
    Sylvia Madsen owner of Café Italiano was part of the initial campaign. She tells inSide Drumheller she has mixed feelings about the recommendations.
    “It’s a compromise. It’s not the perfect solution, I don’t think there will ever be a perfect solution. I don’t think there would ever be something that everyone could agree on,” she said. “It was a surprise it took so long to get to this point, and I’m surprised the town did the right thing.”
    Another part of the changes is to reconfigure the intersection of Highway 9 and 3rd Avenue West. Under the new plan, eastbound lanes will remain relatively unchanged. There will be two westbound lanes at the intersection; one will be a left turn lane, while the other will be a thru traffic/right hand turning lane. The traffic light cycles will be amended to suit the new configuration.
    Madsen said as a business owner she can see the good and bad points. She understands parallel parking needed to be implemented in order to change the intersection of Highway 9 and 3rd Avenue, but also understands it could impact businesses.
    She does like the recommendation to change the angle of the parallel parking.
    “I think it is better there is a 10 per cent grade (change in angle of parking). People will be able to see better backing out,” she said.
    Of the entire plans, “I think it is better than what they originally planned, when they said ‘deal with the cards you’re dealt with.’ That was harsh,” she said. “At least this was a little more democratic.”
    Barry Fullerton was chair of the task force and said the process worked well.
    “I have said it before, they were really a good group to work with,” said Fullerton.
    He told inSide Drumheller the  work of the group was meticulous and they left no stone unturned when looking for suitable options for the downtown parking and traffic flow issues. He concedes it is a compromise, but also indicates he feels the group was representative of many views of downtown merchants and residents alike. This includes business directly affected by the change to parallel parking to 3rd Avenue.
    Doug Wade, whose business is on the stretch that will now have parallel parking, isn’t as warm to the plan. He has gone from being upset about the issue to being upset about his take on the democratic process.
    “On February 12, downtown Drumheller delivered at great expense of time and money the most important information council needed,” said Wade. “The overwhelming majority of residents, 1,680, wanted parking left as is. Also the 200-plus members of the Chamber of Commerce gave the same message. Democracy has not been served.”
    He said in light of the survey, the task force should have never been struck, and it will have an impact on his business.
    “Now the question is not if there is going to be a loss, now it is how much,” said Wade.
    For Madsen one of the good things that came out of the process was the work put together by downtown businesses.
    “I give kudos to the task force, they did a heck of a lot of work in a short amount of time, they were very committed. At times I think it would be nice to have a committee between the Town and everyone else… I think it would take the pressure off the town, and it would open up lines of communication,” she said. “I think it was awesome to get all the businesses to work together and find common ground and work to a common goal.”

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