By the time the Region of Peel has completed its planned water main replacement in downtown Brampton, the city’s main streets could look completely different.
The city has continued its accelerated timeline for plans to make Queen St. and Main St. within downtown more attractive and user-friendly.
The city’s vision is a bold one, with huge improvements to the pedestrian, cycling, and transit experiences.
Main Street from Nelson Street East to Wellington Street, and Queen Street from Chapel Street to Mill Street South, are the extent of the project for now, though the city’s consultant has modeled the effects of side streets.
The city isn’t proceeding with the top-ranked choice (at 36%) of citizens from the first consultation, which is to make the road pedestrian-only. Instead, they’re planning to go with the option that captured 25 per cent of respondents: narrow the road to two lanes, add bike lanes, and widen the sidewalks.
While the street won’t be permanently closed, it will be designed in such a way that closing it will be possible most of the year, such as when the farmer’s market happens in the summer. The curbs to road will be low enough that when the street is closed with special, flexible barriers, the difference between the sidewalk and roadway will be almost flush.
Notably, there is no street parking in this option. The study has determined the 89 on-street spots can be handled by the city’s five garages, which generally have a vacancy of 598 spots.
Businesses that front onto Queen and Main, and use the current spots for parking, will be required to use existing laneways for business uses such as deliveries and unloading product.
There are still some decisions to be made. One is whether the bike lanes will be flush with the road, or raised and flush with the sidewalk, as shown above. The Zum bus shelter at City Hall, and the shelters under the GO train overpass may be moved.
There are other choices. Will the roadway be tiled like the sidewalks? It could even be coloured concrete or plain asphalt. How will street trees be planted? Will the city continue to use heritage-themed lights, or new ultra-modern lighting?
There could be furniture too. Right now, the sidewalks are too narrow, but soon there could benches, bike racks, and planters.
The Environmental Study Report for the fourth phase is expected to be finished by this summer. There will be a 30-day review period for both the public and the provincial environment ministry to comment on the study.
After that, the study will become part of the region’s waterworks project. The construction in downtown starts in 2018, and will continue for two years; the streetscaping construction will start in 2019.