When we started our business in Sidney in 1982, Beacon Avenue was not the inviting shopping street it is today.
Thirty years ago, Beacon Avenue was a wide windswept, dangerous-to-cross, difficult to back out of, angle-parking, high-speed traffic artery to nowhere. The street was an invitation to drag race after the shops closed at 5 pm.
Beacon was so wide and uninviting that customers crossed at their peril and merchants on either side did not know each other. The maintenance was the responsibility of the provincial Highways Deptartment from the Pat Bay highway to Fifth Street but the municipality treated Beacon as if it was all highway and it sure looked like it.
If we reverted to a two-way traffic pattern on Beacon Avenue now, we’d probably have to give up the following (unless we didn’t allow any parking on Beacon) — the wide sidewalks, the tables and chairs outside of restaurants, the decorative sunshades, some trees and flowers, perhaps some benches, maybe some crosswalks and traffic calming, but most of all a friendly shopping ambiance.
The greater Victoria shopping centres try to design the main street shopping experience, that is, they attempt to create what we take for granted in Sidney.
If the only supposed benefit of reverting to two-way traffic is the very dubious likelihood of picking up a little more traffic from the Anacortes Ferry terminal, then I think we should leave well enough alone and be thankful the town and business community work so well together now.