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Monday, January 30, 2023
Letter: Closing Queen to traffic hurts businesses but there are some options

Dear editor:

I am writing in response to Samuel Young’s letter on making Queen Street pedestrian only, “Make Queen Street a pedestrian mall, with proper signs and infrastructure,” May 20.

All great suggestions.

As the owner of Queen Street businesses, concerns about visitors not being able to socially distance on the sidewalks during the summer is, of course, an issue during the pandemic.

However, our sidewalks have been an issue with pedestrian traffic for many years.

The immediate thought is to close the street to pedestrians only. However this has been proven over the last 30 years we personally have been on Queen Street to affect business sales negatively and upset residents in Old Town because overflow parking moves to area streets. In recent years it also allows the horse carriage protesters to park themselves on the street in front of our businesses.

Unless the street is reopened at 5 p.m. (when most shops close but restaurants stay open), so that vehicles can drive the street to see we are still open, closing the street basically dictates our hours of operation for us.

Also, the logistics of putting people onto a shuttle during a pandemic is challenging as it may deter people from staying to park.

Allowing merchants to pour on to the street as vendors takes away from the beauty of the streetscape and cheapens our brand, in my opinion.

As Mr. Young mentioned, Lord Mayor Betty Disero has said a long-term solution is needed and I agree with her.

The sidewalks along Queen Street should be widened by another few feet. The width of Queen Street allows for this. It was brilliant when the mayor and administrator Sheldon Randall alternately used the parking spaces on Queen Street to widen the sidewalks. However, residents were concerned with the double parking on side roads.

In the short-term, placing markers on the ground may help remind people to distance. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control reported a new study that found your chances of transmitting COVID outdoors is less than one per cent (previously believed to be less than 10 per cent).

It is a tough call, as we welcome the business once we can open. We need it to survive the winter months ahead.

We also want to ensure that everyone remains healthy and the numbers continue to decrease in order to avoid another lockdown, which will be detrimental for Queen Street businesses.

Maria Mavridis
Corks Restaurant 
Firehall Flame Restaurant



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