Bernard Avenue will be split into separate patio and pedestrian areas. (Contributed) A busy Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna on May 18, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Bernard Avenue will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s main drag will be a pedestrian-only roadway from June 29 through the Labour Day long weekend

Kelowna’s main drag is officially set to close, to vehicles, for most of the summer.

In an effort to assist downtown businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is making Bernard Avenue a pedestrian-only thoroughfare, allowing restaurants and businesses to expand operations into parking spaces and streets.

Bernard will close to vehicle traffic from St. Paul Street to the Sails statue, including a portion of Abbott Street towards Lawrence Avenue. The intersections at cross streets would remain open to through traffic. The closure would begin June 29 and last through Sept. 8.

Over 10 metres of the road would be used as new patio space, with two three-metre walking lanes — one in each direction — in between. The sidewalks on both sides of the road would still be used by pedestrians.

The south side of Bernard Avenue would see significantly more on-road patio space at 7.5 metres than the north at 2.6 metres. That space will extend out directly from the business’ current frontage — unless they receive written consent from the owners of the adjacent properties to use their space.

Businesses serving liquor would be required to provide fencing demarcating their service area. That fencing, according to JoAnne Adamson, the city’s property manager, will be “uniform and consistent; classy and tasteful.”

Fencing would be optional for businesses not serving alcohol, however, the area must be visually demarcated in some way.

Cyclists will initially be allowed to ride down the centre pedestrian lanes but will still be restricted from riding on sidewalks. Adamson said the city will continue to monitor how cyclists and pedestrians interact and are prepared to close the pedestrian lanes to bicycles if need be.

While expressing some concern about cyclists potentially using sidewalks and suggesting staff consider putting up signs, Coun. Luke Stack said he is glad some other two-wheeled vehicles won’t be visiting Bernard this summer.

“We’ll be able to go downtown without Harley’s trying to deafen us with their machoism (sic),” he said.

A city-operated Public Space Task Force will be created to review and approve requests regarding the temporary use of public space throughout the city.

Patio fees have also been slashed across the city, due to city staff’s anticipation of around 50 per cent the usual capacity on patios due to distancing rules set out by the government.

“Bernard gets a lot of focus but this will benefit everywhere in the community,” said Coun. Brad Sieben, citing one business he’s been in contact with that has a patio ready to go.

Along Bernard, restaurants will have to pay the reduced fees for both their usual patio and the space they use on the street.

Council lauded the changes, with two councillors — Mohini Singh and Loyal Wooldridge — even bringing up the potential of this occurring annually.

“There are going to be some people who are pleasantly surprised who perhaps right now aren’t fully on board,” said Mayor Colin Basran.

READ MORE: Proposed wine centre in historic downtown Kelowna building moved to public hearing

READ MORE: School buses could remain parked as Central Okanagan students return to class

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COSAR and Kelowna RCMP rescue couple lost at James Lake

The rescue occurred Saturday, July 11

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read