Sidney staff will be bringing forward safety measures to help ensure social distancing on local streets. (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Pedestrian counters in Sidney pick up increased activity

The pedestrian count at one location rose almost 25 per cent on May 19

Figures from the Town of Sidney show just how much activity has picked up since the provincial government started to lift social restrictions.

The pedestrian counter installed outside Tanner’s Books at the corner of the Beacon Avenue and Fourth Street recorded 1,331 on May 19 — up almost 25 per cent from the daily average of 1,071 for the period between March 1 and May 19. Looking at all four counters in downtown Sidney, the daily average was 640 for the period of March 1 to May 19. For May 19 the average was 844.

Coun. Peter Wainwright said he would not call the increase of pedestrians at Tanner’s Books a concern.

RELATED: Sidney businesses cautiously reopen their doors

“I think what you are seeing is an indication that the re-start is actually happening,” he said. “There is a greater number of people apparently in the downtown. Obviously, this kind of thing is weather-dependent.”

Wainwright said the number for May 19 would likely be lower if it had rained. “But May 19 was not like that and it also wasn’t a spectacular day either,” he said. “So the numbers are probably not super high because of that. What you are probably seeing is that a lot of people felt like getting out and seeing what was opening and taking advantage of some of the stores that had previously not been opened. There is a lot going on and that is good.”

Wainwright also said that the municipality plans to bring forward measures to help address various social-distancing challenges for pedestrians in the downtown to ensure the safety of residents.

“We know a lot of businesses have limited ability to accommodate customers physically inside,” he said. “So in a lot of cases, you will see line-ups on the street and of course people have to be able to get by the line-ups in both directions with appropriate distance,” he said.

At the same time, a “few places” in Sidney have “pretty narrow” sidewalks that serve as “pinch-points,” said Wainwright, pointing as an example to the bus stop immediately adjacent to the TD Bank. Wainwright also wondered how people waiting for the bus would be able to gather safely in maintaining social distance.

“So staff have been looking at that kind of thing pretty carefully,” he said. “They are going to bring forward some options for council on Monday. But the pinch points are a safety issue now and my understanding is that they are going to be taking actions to deal with those pinch points in advance of the council meeting.”

Ultimately, any measures will have to consider a wide range of issues, such as safety, mobility and commercial parking, he said.

Another factor is lobbying efforts to allow retailers and restaurants to spread out retail and serving space to parking lots, sidewalks or local streets, as some residents call on the municipality to close Beacon Avenue for portions of the day to create that additional space.

Richard Talbot, a retail consultant with decades of experience, generally favours the idea, provided officials consult with merchants before proceeding.

“It’s worth investigating,” he said. He also noted downtown retailers have been historically concerned about parking, with many relying on front-door parking to receive commercial deliveries.

Wainwright said he hasn’t formed an opinion on the subject yet.

“The devil is in the detail with this kind of stuff,” he said. “We have been allowing restaurants and cafes to us public space on the sidewalk historically. They can get a permit from the [municipality] for that purpose. But there are places where you have a couple of restaurants basically side by side and there would be limited opportunities on the existing sidewalk. But maybe we would allow them to take over adjacent parking spaces. It’s a fairly complex issue … and at the end of the day, I am not sure how it is going to play out.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

South Island Prosperity Partnership funds study looking at local meat processing

Bike lane closed, traffic impacted by landscaping in Metchosin

Construction begins May 25, to be complete by mid-July

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

Saanich farm stands can stay open

Council amending bylaw to allow for temporary use permits

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

Most Read