Public sidewalks for the public to use
I am a long term resident of Vancouver and know Main Street very well. We need to invest in our sidewalks and street landscaping. The priority should be the public use, not the private use. If a business would like to have sidewalk seating, then it needs to fit within the space and provide a clear four to five feet (more preferably) of room between their private fenced area and the sidewalk. I don't accept the squeezed areas of our street that have furniture and landscaping that funnels the rest of us to a single file in order to pass by. If a restaurant doesn't have enough room, then we need to say "no" to the use of our sidewalks. Alternatively, a business could build a bump out into the street, which will lose street parking in those spots, but could help our city by replacing sections of worn out sidewalks. We need sidewalk repair and maintenance now, not ten years from now. It is overdue. I believe that we should replace the sidewalks with alternative materials (e.g. rubber) to accomodate a larger species of street trees.
I also agree with an earlier comment in regard to parking and it being free, with a slight modification on the idea. I suggest that we provide the first 20 minutes to be free like we used to allow, or we have a free period prior to noon everyday. There needs to be a change that results in a friendlier experience downtown and still provides the income that the city feels is necessary for parking management. We can also invest in an online, interactive system that allows visitors to find parking spots with their mobile devices.
This community engagement opportunity has ended.