Letters to the Editor

Cars don’t mean business

A group of 12 downtown merchants has concluded that a recently approved one-way street design on Pioneer Way will be the death of their businesses.

After months of study, review, public comment and input from staff, the city council made a well-considered decision to implement a one-way street design on Pioneer Way in the downtown area.

Rather than accepting the idea of representative government, these 12 “downtown merchants” have taken to the streets with petitions and threats of revolt.

The underlying assumptions made by these merchants are simply wrong. Contrary to their recent arguments, there is nothing “lose-lose” about the decision to renovate the downtown infrastructure or to make the area more attractive and people- friendly with a one-way street design.

Not only will the improvements enhance the downtown area’s “curb appeal,” the one-way street design will invite more potential customers than any other option.

Some merchants and owners see cars and traffic as their lifeblood. Common sense tells us, however, that the 4,000 car per day traffic count in the downtown area of Pioneer Way is not a benefit to the merchants at all; it is a detriment.

Those merchants who depend on the availability of on-street parking will see twice the number of parking spaces with the one-way alternative than what is offered by the two-way street design that is so dear to its current proponents.

Yet, this vocal minority has attempted to overshadow the significance of these improvements with their hue and cry about the temporary disruption and possible impact of fewer cars on Pioneer Way, even though nearly all of these vehicles and their passengers are literally bypassing the Pioneer Way storefronts on their way to another location.

The idea associated with a one-way street on Pioneer Way is to lure customers to the downtown area and get them out of their cars. The notion that “the more cars traveling down Pioneer Way, the more potential customers there are for the downtown merchants,” is a myth.

Give your city council some credit and let them govern.

Christon Skinner

Oak Harbor

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