‘Car culture’ prevails for new downtown after earlier public push-back

By Jamie Morris and Roderick Benns

Cycling and pedestrian advocates who attended last night’s public meeting at the Lindsay Armoury were not pleased to see that the main features of Lindsay’s downtown will remain largely unchanged in its revitalization initiative.

Well over 100 people showed up to hear what City staff and urban planning firm CIMA+ representatives had to say about plans already in place, and to give feedback on some initiatives still up for grabs. But for the most part the downtown vision has been set – Lindsay will retain its angled parking and there will be no bike lanes.

Photo: Jamie Morris.

“There would be no bike lanes because it would take away from parking,” one presenter said at the meeting.

Mainly that’s because of public push-back in earlier consultations — including an outcry against the idea of a boulevard running down the main street.

While car culture prevails, there will also be some traffic-calming features and improved intersections. There’s also lots more greenery, including trees and planters.

The presenters shared and explained details of plans about the downtown streetscape and it soon became clear that this part is a done deal. Both an environmental assessment and public and stakeholder consultations have been done and the decisions of the previous council have committed the City to this plan.

The curb ‘bump outs,’ some non-signalized crosswalks (for which drivers still have right of way), and textured pavers for the sidewalks, are nods to pedestrians, while not an overhaul of the downtown vision.

The City was still inviting input for the preliminary construction schedule and planning for the work on the aging underground infrastructure. This includes cast watermains, sewers, and more. Work on the Peel and Russell Street portions has already been put out for tender and that work will be done this year. (There’s $6 million in this year’s budget for that work).

There were two options. Do all the work on Kent Street in one year or to spread it over two years (2020 and 2021) during off-peak tourist seasons — spring, early summer and fall.

There are also the options of doing the Kent Street work a block at a time, all at once, or in some other way (one side at a time to allow some traffic flow from end to end was mentioned).

Those who want to comment will have to the end of the month and can do so online through the City’s website. Juan Rojas, director of engineering and assets also suggested those attending should be aware of the parking study and opportunities to provide feedback on it.

Rojas pointed out that City staff make recommendations, but ultimately it’s Council that decides. City staff will write a report after all the public input (public meetings, deputations), and the report with recommendations will go into the budget proposal for fall 2019.


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