By Alex Cooper & Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Times Review
Apparently the City of Revelstoke has decided that bicycles, skateboards and dogs are enough of a nuisance that residents need to be reminded of the rules — with loud ‘no’ stencils on every single corner downtown.
Some corners have up to 24 of the ‘no’ signs sprayed around the intersection.
The new signs are on painted onto every street corner downtown, from Campbell Avenue to Orton Avenue and First Street to Third Street. They feature a trio of symbols — one saying dogs must be on leash, another for no skateboards, and the last one for no bicycles.
The signs are a reminder that cycling and skateboarding aren’t allowed on sidewalks and dogs must be kept on leash.
Skateboarding has been banned on sidewalks for many years, but it is allowed on city streets. Cycling is governed under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act and is prohibited on sidewalks. Dogs must be on leash except in designated off-leash areas; there are no off-leash areas on any sidewalks or streets in Revelstoke.
Mayor David Raven said the signs were a staff response to complaints about people violating the bylaws.
“If people keep ignoring (the bylaws), you make them aware of it, I guess,” he said. “We have been getting lots of complaints of dogs not on leashes and bikes and skates on the sidewalks. It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets hurts.”
Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce executive director Judy Goodman said their organization wasn’t consulted about the signage. “Wow!” was her first reaction.
“It’s a lot. I had to ask what the skateboard was,” she said.
She said the Chamber had worked with the city on a push to have graffiti removed downtown. More recently the Chamber advocated for a streamlined design review process after a local business struggled for over eight months to get their business sign approved by the city.
Goodman said the Chamber hadn’t received any complaints from member businesses about bicycling or skateboarding on city sidewalks. Off-leash dogs have been an issue for some businesses, she said.
Apparently, the city’s internal sign approval process is very streamlined.
The Times Review attends all regular council meetings. To the best of our recollection, the decision to spray paint ‘no’ signs all over downtown was never an agenda item, or discussed publicly.
“Way to spend money,” was Society Snow & Skate owner Karl Jost’s first reaction. “I think it looks terrible.” The skateboard shop owner preferred the city focus on ways of reducing taxes for small businesses.
Jost thought the dog on-leash sign was also superfluous. “What’s with the dog? Yes, you’re allowed to walk your dog downtown?” he asked rhetorically. “We’re not Nelson.”
Over at Skookum Cycle & Ski, employee Adam Jarvis was helping a customer at the front door.
“Do they really need that many?” Jarvis asked, “A sign on a post may have been more attractive.” He felt the six ‘no’ signs on each corner of Mackenzie and First Avenue marred the otherwise pleasing aesthetic created by the flower planters. Jarvis agreed bicycles belong on the road, not the sidewalk.
Jarvis also felt the dog sign was a little confusing; lined up next to the other two signs, the dog leash looks a little like a slash — which gave him the initial impression that it meant ‘no dogs.’ He wondered if the signs couldn’t have waited until spring as the biking and skating seasons are drawing to an end.
There are six signs out front of Wearabouts clothing store’s corner entrance. Senior sales assistant Vittoria van Leur supports the signs.
“It’s about time,” she said. They will, “remind people to be conscious of other people. I think it’s sad they have to do that.”
She worried about children or elderly people getting injured, saying both youths and adults flaunt the rules about skating or biking on the sidewalks. “I think it’s disrespectful and very dangerous.”
Montrealer John Wood came to Revelstoke to visit family. He couldn’t help noticing the hubbub about the new signs, overhearing some complaints just after they were sprayed on. “It’s kind of a free and easy town — they don’t like rules,” he observed.
“I can see the point of it,” Wood said, adding the signs were a little hard to read if you approached them from the upside-down perspective. “I thought it was an iguana,” Wood said of the ‘no’ skateboarding sign.
Downtown business owner and dog owner Frank Fik tweeted about the new spray paint outside of his business. He also interpreted the sign to mean ‘no dogs.’ “Apparently we can no longer walk our dogs downtown on a leash,” he tweeted. In a subsequent clarifying tweet, he wondered if an alternate graphic would have been better, suggesting “a little brown pile with the bar through it.”
When asked about complaints about the look of the spray-painted signs, Mayor Raven said it showed people were noticing them. “Are they as attractive as they could be? Probably not, but how do you get the message across?”
What do you think of the new signs? Leave a comment below.