City to study paving pedestrian plaza in Cloverdale

Some businesses say the plaza at 56A Avenue and 176 Street interferes with traffic flow and confuses drivers.

Looking east from 176 Street at 56A Avenue to the pedestrian plaza some businesses say is interfering with traffic flows in downtown Cloverdale.

The Cloverdale Business Improvement Association has lent its support to a long-standing proposal to connect 176 Street and 176A Street at 56A Avenue by replacing a pedestrian plaza with a short, one-way street.

The plaza consists of several large trees, concrete planters and an arbour,  but confounds drivers hoping to turn east on 176 Street at 56A Avenue, forcing them to pull puzzled U-turns or ask directions.

The move would improve traffic flow through to businesses along 176A Street as well as to the Cloverdale Library and Surrey Museum, and would add more street parking.

With the Cloverdale BIA now on board, city hall will now look at the cost implications as well as enter into a dialogue with neighbouring businesses that would be impacted by paving the plaza.

“It’s still at the discussion level,” cautioned Cloverdale BIA executive director Paul Orazietti.

The new roadway wouldn’t be wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic, so the new lane would be would be one-way, with new parking stalls on one side of the street.

He said the proposal is at least 12 years old, appearing in the 2000 version of the Official Community Plan.

Improvements to 176 Street have been made since, including the addition of public art and Victorian-style lampposts.

But the problem remains that drivers have difficulty finding addresses in the historic downtown.

“Traffic doesn’t flow through the town centre sufficiently,” he said.

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