[Above Photo - Mayor Cam Guthrie and Rachel Guthrie enjoy Downtown Guelph's extended patios on Wyndham and Macdonell Streets - Photo Credit: DGBA ]
For Immediate Release - July 20, 2020
The Downtown Guelph Business Association considers modifications to on-street patio districts
The DGBA will be working with the City of Guelph to consider reopening Macdonell and Wyndham streets to vehicular traffic while maintaining a robust patio expansion program. The move is designed to address issues that have arisen regarding access to Transit, the difficulty of deliveries to and from businesses, and hampered public access to businesses in the road closure zone.
New regulations from the Province, and a new bylaw approved by the City on Wednesday last week, now allow for expansion into roadways without having to close the road down. That has always been the preferred model for the DGBA, one that supports patios but doesn’t inadvertently hurt businesses that need the road to be open.
The changes also mean that patios all over Downtown will be able to apply to expand onto parking spots and still keep the roads open for customers and visitors.
“The regulations have changed over the course of the last three weeks,” says Marty Williams, Executive Director of the DGBA. “When we first designed the district, road closures were our only option. But as of today, much has changed. Perhaps we need to pivot and take advantage of those new permissions.”
Downtown Guelph will be working with City Staff to determine how the new program can be achieved without disrupting or reducing capacity in the existing patios.
Maintaining COVID 19 safety measures, traffic safety measures, and remaining compliant with accessibility requirements will be paramount considerations.
Changing the configuration to allow for transit and traffic will also allow an easy re-conversion to a pedestrian zone during times of high demand; the new zone would be much more flexible.
“City staff have done a great job adapting to the changing on-the-ground realities. They – and we -- get very little notice of policy changes, but when they come, they have responded in a timely and professional manner,” says Williams. “I want to publicly thank them for being there to support businesses, and for all their hard work and creative thinking.”
“Downtown Guelph is a year-round dining, shopping and styling district. Patio season proves that,” says Williams. “And soon it will be even easier to get down here and check it out.”