The ‘big dig’ adversely impacting downtown business, says BIA, seeking parking solution – request referred to staff for review

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UPDATE: Following a deputation on Oct. 8 from representatives of the Downtown Barrie Business Improvement Area requesting free parking in the parking lots and on-street in the downtown area until construction is completed, the City’s building committee referred the matter to staff in the Transit and Parking Strategy Department to review the effectiveness and cost of the request, and report back to the committee recommending suitable alternatives. The matter is to be discussed by general committee on Monday.

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Representatives of the Downtown Barrie Business Improvement Area (BIA) are scheduled to appear before the City’s building committee on Tuesday to lobby for parking options during the current reconstruction of Dunlop Street.
In a presentation titled ‘Construction Negatively Affects Businesses – A Solution is Proposed,’ the BIA says the current option of free parking on the fourth floor of the Collier Street parkade is not effective. The association is requesting free parking for all of the Downtown BIA area during all phases of the construction.
The project is proceeding in three phases:
• Phase 1A – Section between east of Mulcaster Street to just east of Owen Street commenced in September, and is scheduled to proceed to Nov. 8. This phase will be completed early in 2020, as weather permits 
• Phase 1B – Owen Street intersection culvert, Owen Street intersection to Bayfield Street and Five Points intersection. This work is to start after the first phase is done
• Phase 2 – Section between Bayfield and Toronto streets, planned following the completion of phase 1B.
The BIA has committed $300,000 to the $13 million project, but in the presentation says (many businesses) “won’t survive without quick action.” The construction is already impacting businesses, the BIA says.
“In Sept, (business was) down 56 per cent compared to 2018, down 51 per cent compared to 2017,” one retailer says, while another says the “construction has drastically affected my business! Wasn’t prepared for this.”
The parking solution,” says the BIA, “needs to be simple – all parking lots within the downtown.”

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