[*submit by Lewis Rifkind. Do you want to add to the conversation? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Here are a few thoughts about how to improve Whitehorse. While the examples chosen are specific to the downtown area, aspects of it could be applied to any part. It is recognized that certain aspects have been discussed (the City Downtown Plan has some very exciting discussion about street closures) it would be nice to see some of them actually adopted.
Pedestrian Parking Space
Let street front restaurants and cafes rent from the City of Whitehorse from mid May to mid September vehicle parking spots. This could be done for a nominal fee to cover the lost parking meter revenue. The Cafe owners would install concrete barriers to protect the parking spot from vehicle traffic that can still use the road. Then, in the space where vehicles use to be able to park the Cafe owners could place tables, chairs, umbrellas etc. This converts the street vehicle parking spot into a pedestrian seating area.
Stopping Flow Through Traffic
Consideration should be given to turning more streets into cul-de-sacs.
The lack of flow through traffic ensures a quiet streetscape for residents. It can also serve as an informal recreation area for skateboarders, basketball players etc.
Certain intersections could even be diagonally blocked, thus vehicles could only turn left (or right, depending which way the diagonal block is placed). Cyclists and pedestrians would still be able to go straight through. They can be designed and sign-posted to permit emergency vehicles and service vehicles such as snow ploughs to also go straight through.
Conversion of Streets to Pedestrians Only
Complete closure of certain short sections of roads would also be nice. For example, portions of Third Avenue could be closed off and turned into plazas. The south side of the Third and Main intersection could be closed from the alleyway between Steel and Main to the actual Main Street roadway (the bit under the Skybridge connecting the Hougens Centre to Shoppers Drug Mart).
It would also create at least five more diagonal parking spots along Main Street, more if diagonal parking spots are created where Third now terminates by the alleyway. The closure would pedestrianize a central location, and provide room for multiple food vendor trucks.
Many streets in the downtown area could be converted to angle from parallel parking. Not only does this create more spots (typically four angle spots can go where two parallel spots previously existed), it also slows traffic down. Yes, the street has to be widened slightly but this is easily accomplished in certain areas. Look at Third Ave and Steele where the NWTel building is. There is a very wide sidewalk that has been asphalted. It would be a simple matter to convert half of the current sidewalk to accommodate angle parking.
Vehicle Noise Bylaw
The no idylling bylaw must be enforced. It’s time for audible emission standards and testing. Bylaw should have the authority to ticket cars with loud or non-working mufflers. It would also be nice to crack down on noisy diesel engines, although it is recognized that might be a Territorial or even a Federal responsibility.
Not only encourage businesses to put in bicycle racks (and decent ones, that can accommodate all sorts of bikes, including the fat tire ones)but also to put in enough of them.
[*Article submit by Lewis Rifkind. Do you want to submit an article? Email us at email@example.com]
Decent bicycle rack that can accommodate different styles of bike – pic by LR
Overcrowded bicycle rack and the design might end up bending wheels – pic by LR