Saint John City Market escalators to be replaced
City council to call for bids on plans to install new escalator and an elevator
Saint John is moving to fix its broken escalators at the City Market.
The unreliable 22-year-old devices have been the subject of numerous complaints. They have been completely out of service since March and worked only intermittently for months before that.
The problem is aggravated by lack of an elevator for general use.
"Oh, dear," said Blair Baldwin on reaching the market lobby after he and wife, Pat climbed 26 steps from Brunswick Square. "We were a little shocked when we found it broke down."
The senior citizens from southwestern Ontario had been assured they could get around the uptown easily by using the pedway system.
The proposed fix would see both existing escalators removed and replaced by a single escalator going up. The small, handicapped-only elevator would be replaced by a much larger lift that is open to all.
The move would require a small addition to be built onto the market's glass entrance enclosure to accommodate the new elevator.
City Market merchants have been consulted about the proposed changes and are relieved a solution is close.
"I'm sure that we've lost business," said Joe Lander of Pete's Frootique.
Lander says he has many elderly customers who come daily to the market from the Smyth Street, York Point area via the pedway system.
"They rely on that escalator to get up to the market," said Lander. "It's hard for them to get up and down stairs."
"I think it's a good concept," said Kylee Douglas of Sagrattis, "It's modern, but it also works with the design of the market."
City staff looked at three other options including a proposal to scrap both escalators and install a single large elevator. An alternate option was rejected for lack of space. It would have seen two new escalators installed along with a new elevator.
City council will be asked to authorize a tender call at Monday's meeting. It is estimated the total cost will be around $800 thousand, plus HST.
A staff report says the work can be completed within six to seven months from the date the job is awarded. The pedway to the market would be closed entirely for as much as three months of that time.