General Committee Update – March 23, 2021

Last night at General Committee, Council discussed the pedestrian connection from Library Sq to Town Park. Library Sq was planned as part of the larger Cultural Precinct (Yonge St to the GO Station), so with construction well under way, it is time to revisit some of the other pieces to ensure our downtown core becomes the cultural hub we have collectively worked towards.

The original plan envisioned a pedestrian connection straight up the middle, between Trinity church and the surrounding residential homes. However, there are numerous challenges to do so; from width restrictions to the walkway, impacts to surrounding properties, and even snow storage. So, while this may be the most attractive connection, it is not the most feasible. Staff presented an number of alternatives to add a pedestrian connection and recommended a new sidewalk on the north side of Metcalfe Street, from Victoria Street to Wells Street.

This would also help pedestrian traffic for the Farmers Market or for folks attending Trinity Church on Sunday or Welcome Table on Wednesday. Currently, you see many residents walking on the road.

As with all construction, there are numerous issues that need to be resolved. In this case there are concerns about the integrity of the heritage trees along this street..  Council as a whole was concerned that any construction not bring harm to the trees and that it preserve the natural beauty of our heritage area. Specifically, they expressed the desire that the first step for an inhouse design would be to work with an arborist to determine if a new sidewalk design is feasible without bringing harm to the trees.

Council approved the recommendation “That staff proceed with the in-house design of a sidewalk on the north side of Metcalfe Street from Victoria to Well Street” and report back with all findings, from the feasibility, to the safety of the heritage trees and associated costs.

I am looking forward to the report as we move forward in providing better pedestrian connectivity from Yonge St. to the Town Park.

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