Sidney council will be going to the community prior to the end of December for its say on the future of Beacon Avenue.
Mayor Larry Cross announced Monday night council asked municipal staff to prepare a process for consulting with the public on the issue of traffic flow on Beacon Avenue.
“We want this to be really good public input,” Cross said in an interview. “And we want to be careful and get it right.”
Council has come under increasing pressure from some members of the business community to seriously consider changing Beacon’s one-way flow from Fifth Street to the waterfront ( a total of three blocks) to a two-way system.
“It’s an issue that affects all of our residents,” Cross said, “even thought it was raised mainly by business people.”
The Town, he continued, will develop a process to meet with citizens and business owners. The exact details he did not give as staff continue to develop the process.
“Council has a responsibility to hear all voices of the community and we do want people to be happy with it.”
Council had been reluctant to delve deeply into Beacon Avenue traffic flow after a report by traffic consultants Urban Systems. Completed in February of this year, the Downtown Traffic Movement Study focussed most on safety and road sharing issues in Sidney. It did, however, recommend the one-way system be evaluated prior to doing any roadway network structure improvements. That includes engaging local stakeholders on the Town’s options, preparing high-level cost estimates and conducting user surveys throughout the year.
Council at the time essentially put the Beacon Avenue traffic flow issue aside. It has been kept alive, however, by Denis Paquette, who has been a vocal opponent to one-way traffic on Beacon since it was changed in the late 1990s.