Enderby’s Main Street will be soon be closing to traffic for six hours a week to make room for the 2021 farmer’s market.
City council approved a request from the Enderby Farmer’s Market on Monday (May 3) to close Cliff Avenue (from Highway 97A to Vernon Street) and Belvedere Street (Cliff Ave. to Speers Lane) every Friday from May 7 to Oct. 22 this year, so that pedestrians can freely peruse vendor stalls outdoors in the downtown area.
It’s a throwback to previous years in which the city allowed farmer’s markets to take place on the street; a downtown pedestrian market was first created in 2012, but it’s been years since one has taken place.
The road closures will take place from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market itself will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., giving organizers time to set up and tear down the booths each week.
The traffic reopening time of 2 p.m. is a hard-and-fast-rule, in order to manage business interruptions in the downtown.
“One of the key concerns expressed by downtown businesses when the market previously operated in the downtown was failure of the market organizers to ensure that the event ended at the specified time,” reads an April 29 staff memo.
A petition on the matter was given to all businesses within a one-block radius of the site. In total, 31 businesses said they support the road closure, while two were opposed and six did not respond.
The road closure is limited to the 2021 season. Its arrival is opportune during the pandemic, when vendors aren’t able to fill indoor spaces. Other cities such as Vernon are working on similar plans to shutter Main Street traffic so businesses can expand their patios into the street.
However, the outdoor Enderby market is not strictly a pandemic response measure; Mayor Greg McCune said staff will use this season to decide whether to carry the idea forward into future years.
“I think it’s a good idea overall,” McCune said, adding the market will need to obtain permission from the city if organizers want to continue the pedestrian market beyond 2021.
The market will be required to follow public health orders and guidelines, as well as a pre-approved COVID-19 safety plan to be posted at the market for shoppers to follow.
The farmer’s market will also be responsible for setting up and taking down traffic control devices, maintaining porta-potties, emptying city garbage cans and cleaning up litter in the closed area each week.
The Enderby Farmer’s Market originally made the request at council’s April 19 meeting, but council pushed the matter to May 3 to allow the market to provide a site and traffic management plan.
Overall, city staff had no problems with the plan that market organizers came back with on Monday, which includes site adjustments to ensure MacPherson and Speers lanes remain open to traffic during market hours.
Pedestrian aisles will be set up on either side of Cliff Ave. And Belvedere St., and there will be spaces between vendors where the Cliff Ave. sidewalk bulges out, to allow access to ambulances in the event of an emergency.