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A 'lot' of changes planned for Orillia Farmers' Market

Near-misses spark changes to parking, exits at popular Saturday morning market at the library
2018-05-07 farmers market parking.jpg
This diagram, included in the city council agenda package, shows the parking situation at the Orillia Farmers' Market.

Last spring, the Orillia Farmers’ Market manager was clipped by the mirror of a vehicle that drove into the market to access the loading area behind the Opera House.

Similar incidents happened at least two other times last summer. The problem, says Kathy Webb, chair of the Orillia Farmers' Market Management Committee, is one that needs to be remedied.

In a letter to city council, Webb asked the city to allow the market to barricade both West Street entrances to the Orillia Public Library lot on Saturday mornings.

On Monday night, council committee agreed. (All decisions must be ratified at next Monday's city council meeting).

Webb said the lone West Street entrance had been kept open so that at least one accessible parking space was available to market customers; that space was adjacent to the Opera House at the south-east corner of the lot.

“The market manager and market vendors have noted an ongoing public safety risk associated with the location of the one accessible parking space that was to remain open during market hours,” Webb wrote in her letter, detailing the three incidents.

“It has also been observed by vendors that there have been some near misses when vehicles are backing out of the accessible space,” Webb wrote, noting many pedestrians access the market through that entrance. “Market customers are not expecting moving vehicles in the market area and are not necessarily paying attention to or hearing vehicles that may be driving in or backing out of the accessible space.”

Webb said the “temporary closure will provide a safer, more defined outdoor market space and will eliminate the risk of injury to pedestrians attending or working at the Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.”

Council also decided to allow volunteers to set up two temporary accessible parking spaces on the south side of Market Street from the hours of 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday during the market’s outdoor season. Staff noted Market Street is the western entrance to the Farmers’ Market, thus the temporary accessible parking spots would still be "located with excellent and smooth access to the Farmers’ Market/"

For those visiting the Opera House during the farmers’ market, there are accessible parking spaces available on West Street South and Mississaga Street East.

The price tag attached to the decision is about $2,500. That money would be used for two accessible parking signs and two portable stands.

Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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