Lack of plaza parking troubles Port Moody business

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A lack of parking is driving away business from Port Moody's Queens Street Plaza, according to one local business owner.

"My view is it hasn't worked. It's rare to see anybody at the plaza," said Helen Daniels of the Gallery Bistro.

She presented Port Moody council with a 133-name petition Tuesday night calling on the city to restore parking on Queens Street at Clarke.

"I've heard the plaza allied the heart of the old town centre. Well, it's stopped beating," said Daniels, who would like the concrete curbs removed and angled stalls brought in along Queens Street, which would be reopened to one-way traffic northbound.

"The businesses can't make it solely on pedestrian traffic."

Mayor Mike Clay pointed out that creation of the plaza was a collaboration between the city and area businesses.

"We started the farmers' markets down there with the Moody Centre Business Association. We had visions of Friday night or Sunday afternoon concerts on the square and the restaurants and boutique stores down there partnering and getting these things done."

He said the city provided the venue and support for the market, pointing to the CPR Christmas Train as a golden opportunity to attract customers to the area until it was displaced by Evergreen Line construction.

"We tried really hard but it didn't feel like it was picked up by the businesses down there," he said. "Even when the train went there most of them weren't open. And that was a real opportunity to highlight their business with 5,000 people there and they were closed."

The mayor said a Moody Centre parking study is due to come back before council soon and this issue could be included on that agenda.

"We have to look into this quite a bit before we just have any gut reaction and say let's take the curbs out and open it up for parking. I think there's way more going on here," said Clay. "The other thing, when you do that you turn it back into a through street so you change the dynamics of that neighbourhood a lot. And it's a tricky intersection at Queens and St. Johns so having people using that as a thoroughfare could get dangerous."


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