Rob, Tanya, and Canmore Mayor John Borrowman discuss some of the early feedback to the pedestrian-only section of Main Street.


Rob: I love the new pedestrian-only section of Main Street right now.  There’s just a certain energy, a certain vibrancy to that area. The last time I was there I saw a group of tourists doing the Abbey Road thing on one of the crosswalks. I saw a busker playing music. There’s just something about Main Street that’s really cool right now.

Tanya: I kept shoulder checking as I walked down because I felt like there was a car behind me for some reason. It’s definitely a completely different feel from what it was. What I really was enjoying was watching the businesses transform the spaces in front of them into places to interact with customers outdoors.

John: I’ve really been enjoying it as well. I mean, I’ve been an advocate for doing something like that for 25 years or more since I had my business on Main Street, but COVID is providing an opportunity to just try it out because essentially it’s designed to allow space for people to move around without getting too close. It allows the businesses space to queue their customers.  But, same as you both, I really like being on Main Street with this new feel.

The feedback that I’ve heard is mostly quite positive. There’s certainly been some concern voiced from some of the residents on streets adjacent to downtown that are seeing increased traffic so there’s still going to be some modifications and tweaks that we need to make. I expect next week there’ll be some announcements around some traffic calming changes. For instance, they’re intending to put in a four way stop at the intersection of 7th street and 7th Avenue, and there’ll be some changes at both 8th Avenue and Main Street as well as 8th Avenue and Veterans Way. So we can look forward to see continued tweaking to improve the traffic flow primarily. Also, the Downtown Business Association, their board has approved some funding from one of their reserves to go towards adding some vibrancy downtown and they’ve applied for a matching fund from the Town. So we’ll be seeing a little bit more color and flowers and whatnot.

Rob: I know this might be really early to be asking this question and I know the reason that we’re doing this is for COVID-19 distancing and requirements, but from the early success, has there been any conversation about maybe making this an annual thing? A seasonal thing?

John: There’s been no official conversation, certainly not at a council level, but I have heard that suggested from a number of residents I’ve talked with. I think we should just experience it through the summer and give it some time to let it really settle in. It might be something that the community would support revisiting, but at this point we expected to go back to normal traffic flow after Labour Day.

Filed under: Canmore, Mayor John Borrowman, Mountain Insider