• Get Rid of Those Street Ads, Niagara!

    The Victoria Centre Business Improvement Area‘s (BIA) most recent objective is to clean-up the streets of Niagara’s tourist district by prohibiting street ads and merchandise displays on many of the city’s main sidewalks. Up until this point, businesses were not in violation of city bylaws when advertising externally so long as they were not disrupting the flow of pedestrian traffic; however, the BIA has turned their attention on completely eliminating the presence of street ads and sale stands on public property.

    While many businesses will surely argue against this demand, this has become a matter of safety, not aesthetics. Decongesting the walkways would help improve the streets of Niagara’s appearance, but the main concern is that pedestrians are being funnelled onto the roads. These high-risk locations are known as “choke-points” and have become a serious problem for walkers, drivers, and businesses in the area.

    Before such a ban can be instated, there are a few obstacles to overcome. Firstly, determining property lines for each and every business in potential violation could take a very long time. Secondly, in respect to sidewalk patios and parking lots, taking back city authorization is next-to-impossible. What this means is that all future applicants for outdoor patios must pass a far more stringent set of requirements in order to occupy public space. Similarly, restricting businesses that have made a regular occurrence of sidewalk promotion will feel victimized.

    What many businesses do not realize is that this could have a positive impact on sales and loss-prevention. Having to attract visitors in-store will encourage a greater customer-conversion while also deterring theft. Not to mention, a neighbouring store’s sale will no longer impede traffic for all other businesses in close proximity. On the flip side of things, pedestrians will have less distraction, less harassment, and an easier passage to walk, making the strip more accessible for everyone.

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