If there’s one thing to agree on in the debate over traffic direction on Sidney’s Beacon Avenue, is that no matter which way drivers go, the town’s gotta look great.
Business owners and residents alike may find themselves on opposite sides of the street when it comes to one-or-two-way traffic — but they can certainly agree that the storefronts and streetscapes must be appealing in any case.
Beautification of the downtown core of Sidney that started more than a decade ago is at the root of many of the decisions made by local politicians — then and now. Which could be the reason behind the initial reluctance by councillors to open up the debate on Beacon Avenue traffic — why change a good thing, right?
What this council, local business and residents in general must consider is whether the next big change on main street will lead to a more positive outcome — socially and economically.
To that end, consideration of traffic flow on Beacon Avenue is only the beginning of the thought process on making the main street an excellent space. Recently, the street was nominated as a great place in a national planners contest. It didn’t win, but people felt strongly enough in its potential to compete with other streets across Canada.
Instead of a two-way or one-way debate, there must be consideration given to downtown revitilization — this has gone hand-in-hand with economic resurgence in the past and in recent times as some communities revert back to traditional two-way streets. To simply change traffic flow without other upgrades might lead only to disappointment.
Change for the sake of change isn’t the best reason to proceed in this case. Already the Town is considering signage upgrades, adding paint to accommodate cyclists and keeping the downtown core ship-shape.
What this traffic debate can do for Sidney then, is to open up new possibilities to create a unique space for locals and visitors alike.