The chair of the Locke Street Business Improvement Association (BIA) says there’s a “palpable amount of relief in the air” now that the thoroughfare is once again open to traffic.
Heidi Vanderkwaak, who is also co-owner of Donut Monster, was among those taking part in a ribbon-cutting to officially reopen Locke Street on Wednesday morning.
The roadway, which runs through the busy west end business district, had been closed for several months for reconstruction.
Vanderkwaak says that in the week since traffic has been able to return to Locke, she’s talked to at least 10 business owners who say “their revenues have gone up by 20 per cent.”
Robyn Allan, owner of “Nest”, says her homemade gift shop was just getting started prior to construction.
She says that while the project put a dent in her business plans, she “hung on” and got through it.
“You do what you can and you work with your neighbours.”
Allan agrees that the end of construction is a “massive relief” and says she is “already seeing traffic picking up in the store.”
A number of initiatives are planned for the coming weeks, including Locke Street’s Christmas tree lighting this Friday evening.
The BIA has also organized a community re-opening celebration on Nov. 30.
The $6-million project began on Locke Street in March 2019, and has included new curbs, sidewalks, bump outs and a freshly paved road surface, along with improved accessibility including urban braille and wider sidewalks.
In addition to underground improvements — new water mains — the area now has added street furniture, urban trees, and increased parking.