Extended patios stay up on 17th Ave while restaurants stay closed

Some area concerns about narrower sidewalks while no one is using the patios

The temporary sidewalk barricades on 17th Ave stay in place, forcing traffic to use a single lane in various places on the street. Photo: KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Temporary sidewalks continue to take up space on 17th Avenue’s roadway, despite restaurants being shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Shortly after the restrictions were implemented, the City of Calgary had informed businesses that some barriers would be removed to provide space for curbside pickup and loading.

In a statement, the City of Calgary explained why the decision was made to make some exceptions.

“After some discussion with some businesses that installed more significant infrastructure, the city has left barriers in place in some areas to ensure safety and reduce impacts to these businesses,” the statement read.

Donna Rizzuto, a local 17th Ave goer, understands the decision to keep the extended patios and temporary sidewalks in place during the three week shutdown.

“It doesn’t bother me, because I understand that – I’m assuming it’s safe to say when they reopen, then they’ll be prepared. And it’s helpful for the patio people to have that extra extension,” Rizzuto said.

“A little inconvenience is fine by me, because I’m hoping that in the long run, it’s going to help the businesses and we have to support each other and support our local businesses.”

The City of Calgary decided to keep some barriers up to accommodate the extended patios with more “significant infrastructure”. KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Ernie Tsu, owner of Trolley Five and President of the Alberta Hospitality Association, sees the monetary advantage of keeping temporary sidewalks in place.

“I think it’s a great decision by the city for sure, especially for all the restaurants that invested so much money into those structures … I think if you take a look at at locations like UNA [Pizza + Wine], I mean that’s not an easy structure to take down and put up,” Tsu said.

“I know at Trolley Five it would be a $9,000 to $10,000 cost for us just to take it back down and put it back up.”

Alternative opinions

However, Gohn Rasti doesn’t agree with the decision and expressed frustrations.

“They should wrap it up … the restaurants are closed. It’s good, but not in 17th Avenue particularly. It’s so narrow. [On] wider streets? Yeah, it’s good.” Rasti said.

“They are just making [driving on 17th Ave] more difficult for people.”

Some restaurants, such as Tropical on 17th, have removed some of their extended patio furniture and folded up the temporary sidewalks during the shutdown. KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Liz Krill, who uses a walker, acknowledges the benefits and drawbacks of the barricades staying up.

“I know it would be a lot of work to move them and then in three weeks put them back again, or whatever – if it is three weeks, which it could be, I suppose. So no, I wouldn’t think they would remove them. Although this one is all folded up, which is kind of good,” Krill said.

“It’s easier for the traffic [when the temporary sidewalk barricades are folded up], for sure.”

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