DBIA survey shows little support for Pitt Street summer closures

In this May 2018, file photo, Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ont. looking south from Second Street. A Cornwall councillor is looking at options to close part or all of this section of street from First to Third Street to vehicle traffic to help businesses suffering from the coronavirus outbreak. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A city councillor’s idea to close portions of downtown Pitt Street to help businesses reopening in the age of physical distancing is getting little support in a recent business survey.

The survey, conducted by the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Downtown Business Improvement Area, showed 12 per cent of DBIA members asked agreed with closing Pitt between First and Third Streets, 20 per cent for the section between First and Second and 14 per cent for reducing lanes of traffic.

There were 41 responses to the six-question online survey, conducted between Wednesday and Friday last week. The tight timeline was needed in order to get the information back to the city in time for a report for the next council meeting.

There was slightly more interest in using sidewalks and parking spaces for patio and retail use, however the number of businesses that have access to this option is small, the chamber said.

Asked for their own ideas, the chamber says the overwhelming response from those surveyed was free parking on Pitt Street.

The findings have been forwarded to Cornwall City Council.

Coun. Eric Bergeron proposed a number of ideas, including shutting sections of downtown Pitt Street to vehicular traffic, during last week’s council meeting to help businesses coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.