With the construction of the Ross Street underpass underway, it is expected the section of Lakeshore Drive from Alexander Street to 4th Street will remain closed for up to four months. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

With the construction of the Ross Street underpass underway, it is expected the section of Lakeshore Drive from Alexander Street to 4th Street will remain closed for up to four months. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

OPINION: Road closures add another angle to parking challenges in downtown Salmon Arm

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

It’s surprising how quickly travel in downtown Salmon Arm has changed since the city announced part of Lakeshore Drive was being closed for construction of the Ross Street underpass.

As of Nov. 29, Lakeshore Drive was closed to traffic between 4th and Alexander streets, and limited to westbound traffic from Alexander to Shuswap Street. The changes could last 24/7 for up to four months.

With Lakeshore becoming a one-way street from Alexander to Shuswap, angled parking was created along the eastbound lane. I’ve seen the odd driver bypassing the signage at Shuswap to travel east, though only during evenings. For the most part though it seems folks are adapting, albeit with the Askew’s Foods parking lot becoming a bit of a traffic loop.

If you’ve seen them, you know there’s no chance of people ignoring the road closed signs and fencing blocking off Lakeshore from Alexander to 4th, which is now a dirt road.

Changes to parking and travel in the Ross Street parking lot also seem to be challenging for some people, including those who, for whatever reason, choose to park in the new travel lane west of the lot’s access – despite the signs with subtle wording like “Detour” and “No Parking.”

Read more: Drivers adapt to changes in Downtown Salmon Arm for underpass construction

Read more: Road closures for Ross Street Underpass construction to last two months

Back to Lakeshore, I’m curious what people think of one-way lane and angle parking. I’ve read angle parking is an improvement to parallel parking in that it accommodates more vehicles. Angle parking is also said to be safer and easier to get in and, supposedly, out of. (I say this because backing out of the small number of angled spots on Shuswap can be a pain.)

While they don’t make up for the current deficit of downtown parking spots, perhaps the current angle parking and one-way traffic limitation might be something to consider holding onto post Ross Street underpass construction. Granted, a parking spot or two would be lost for patio season, but the reduction in traffic and increase in parking might be a good fit for businesses along that stretch of Lakeshore.

With the current reduction of parking in the downtown, I’ve heard it mentioned it is now even more important that people who work there aren’t taking up parking spaces on Hudson, Alexander or any other spots on the roads. While bylaw enforcement provides a stick approach to this challenge, it might be helpful if a carrot approach was also offered, such as a downtown employee pass for free parking, Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the duration of the closure in the parking lot by the Salmar Grand.

Thankfully, the closures are only a temporary inconvenience and if we can get through the great five-day-ish dairy shortage of November 2021, we can get through this too.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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