The patios and temporary sidewalks along Argyle Street in Halifax could be a permanent fixture if a Halifax councillor gets his way.
Peninsula South- Downtown Coun. Waye Mason is pushing to turn the popular downtown street into a pedestrian-only zone. Regional council discussed the idea on Wednesday.
Mason suggested setting up barriers along Argyle Street this summer as a pilot project. When the convention centre is complete he wants car traffic limited permanently.
“A place where people congregate and gather and go to be entertained. And it's kind of happening anyway so it's more recognizing the fact of how the street is already being used,” he said.
He did say some vehicular traffic would be allowed. Service trucks would have access in the morning, for example.
Wendy Friedman, owner of Biscuit General Store, says she supports a mixed-use street where traffic could be easily blocked off to create a walkway.
“I’ve seen it so much when I travel...I think it brings a lot of vibrancy and creates a community space which I think would be really healthy for downtown Halifax,” she said.
Friedman is unsure how it would affect her business .
“To make Argyle Street a daytime destination as well as a nighttime destination would be helped by creating a pedestrian space,” she said. “It would be a great way to get tourists to wander beyond the waterfront.”
Every year most of the bar owners up and down Argyle Street spend as much as $15,000 installing, tearing down and storing their temporary sidewalks and patios.
Joe McInnis, owner of Durty Nelly’s, says he’d be happy to leave them there year round and limit Argyle to foot traffic.
"It just allows for a lot more ease, less traffic," he said. "I mean you'll see that in every European city you go to."