Niagara Gazette — “We’re not giving up on the idea that Third Street should be pedestrian friendly and we will continue to promote outdoor dining,” Dyster said.
Shawn Weber owns two buildings on Third Street with his business partners David and John Giusiana. The partners bought the building at 501 Third St., which holds their restaurant Wine on Third and 11 apartments, 12 years ago, before the streetscape renovations began.
Weber is glad to see the bump-outs go, as parking is sometimes and issue for his patrons on busy nights.
“If I have a busy night at the wine bar all the spots on the street are taken even though no other businesses are operating,” he said.
Weber said that the overall plan for the streetscape was great, but that USA Niagara did not follow through with the second part, which was to create more off street parking for the businesses that the renovations were meant to attract.
“The long-term viability of Third Street is really dependent on parking,” he said.
The Lotus Spa building, which sat empty on the 400 block of Third Street after police shut down a prostitution ring operating out of the business, was bought by the city, demolished to make way into a larger lot between Second and Third streets.
Weber thinks that the city should do the same with other obsolete buildings in the business district.
“Imagine if every store front was filled,” he said. “Where would everybody park?”
Chris Schoepflin, the president of USA Niagara, described the removal of the bump-outs as a tweak in the Third Street plan.
“If the majority of the people accrue to thinking that this is a good idea then the mayor is responding accordingly,” he said.
Even with the reduction in the bump-outs the 400 block of Third Street is still more walkable than it was before the streetscape renovation. The sidewalks were 4 feet wide and now they are being reduced from 12 feet to 8 feet wide.