Sturgis organizers ask to close off downtown

Bikers only: Merchants will have their say on giving a motorcycle rally exclusive parking in the downtown core during Sturgis North.  - File Photo
Bikers only: Merchants will have their say on giving a motorcycle rally exclusive parking in the downtown core during Sturgis North.
— image credit: File Photo

Organizers of the Sturgis North motorcycle rally and music festival would like to close Salmon Arm’s downtown core to vehicular traffic, other than motorcycles, during the event.

Site manager Steve Hammer attended the Salmon Arm Downtown meeting Feb. 9 to update the board and to discuss traffic plans.

He said he would like to see Ross and Alexander streets and Hudson Avenue between the two streets closed during the rally, which is scheduled from Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, July 17. He would like to see the streets open only to foot and motorbike traffic.

Director Maggy Davidson, owner of Spirit Quest Books, said she has many out-of-town customers who already complain about the lack of parking downtown.

“For me, it means I lose four days of business.”

Salmar Community Association rep Patti Munro suggested making the parking lots of the Salmar Grand the core area for motorcycle displays and then people could walk up to the main streets. She said the legion could be alerted in case it wishes to entertain motorcycle enthusiasts.

Hammer said he is expecting 1,500 to 2,000 veterans coming to the rally from Canada and the United States.

He also said he has been receiving the support of downtown businesses and asked if the board would support his proposal.

Director Michael Wagner said approval is up to downtown merchants – if the merchants support it, the board would too.

The idea to have pockets of parking for motorcycles throughout the downtown was also suggested. The city’s rep on the board, Coun. Chad Eliason, said he likes the idea.

Dale McTaggart told the Observer that the city won’t make any plans without consultation.

“What we’ve said to the DIA and the downtown parking commission, we will work with them before approving any formal request.

There’s talk about long closures downtown, but none of that has been approved and it’s not a formal request.”

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