The merchant associations are divided on the idea of Régis Labeaume to make the commercial streets pedestrian this summer.
“On each artery, we saw all the same reality. There are traders who are 100% for arterial pedestrian. We have others who are mi-figue, mi-raisin. And we have others who are 100% against,” explains Marie-Noëlle Bellegarde-Turgeon, director general of Société de développement commercial (SDC) du Faubourg Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
The idea, says dr. Bellegarde-Turgeon, it is not to harm the merchants, in a period where they are already under a lot of pressure.
“Yes, the pedestrian streets, but not at any price. It’s got to be good for all”, she argues. The SDC, we will search its members in order to have the pulse of the artery in the next few weeks.
On 3rd Avenue, Isabelle Madrid confirms that the traders do not require that the artery is closed to cars. Except, perhaps, at certain times targeted.
The day before, the mayor of Québec, Régis Labeaume, said he was ready to go very far in the concept of pedestrian streets.
“It depends on how far are willing to go the merchant associations. It could close it all summer, if they want to. It is up to them to choose,” he advised.
However, the reality on the ground is that merchants have mostly need in this moment of corridors to sanitation. These are a temporary widening of sidewalks to allow passers-by to move, without being hampered by customers who need to queue up on the sidewalks because of the measures of social distancing in the shops.
The mayor believes, however, that this “would not change large-thing”.
“We consider that [the idea] of corridors in health could be considered. There seems to be less open to this avenue here, but we continue to offer it”, argues the director-general of the SDC, Montcalm, Jean-Pierre Bédard. The idea is also desired on the 3rd Avenue.
For Ms. Bellegarde-Turgeon, corridors health would help reassure customers who know that they can attend the arteries safely. “We want people to want to come and they know that it is safe.”
“It is necessary to probe the most possible of all the traders” before deciding, ” said Mr. Bédard. Same sound of bell on the side of the avenue Maguire, where the director-general Bruno Salvail has the intention to make the tour of its members to test the waters. “Currently, merchants are resilient. It should work in their way to try to help. It doesn’t mean that what is good in one place will necessarily apply elsewhere.”
Major projects are to come on this street will be transformed into a street-friendly. “Is this were we should go towards more user-friendliness? Is it that sidewalks need to be expanded? All scenarios will be studied.”