Big changes are coming to the downtown core, and the revitalization project includes one seemingly controversial feature.
We recently reported that the downtown core will be undergoing major streetscape improvements that are scheduled for construction in 2019, and if all goes as currently planned, street parking may be eliminated in downtown Brampton.
The new streetscape, plans for which are still under review, had five proposed alternatives to how the intersection’s roads are laid out:
Alternative 1: close the road entirely and just have pedestrian and cycling access
Alternative 2: two-lane roads with no parking
Alternative 3A: two-lane roads with parking on one side
Alternative 3B: two-lane roads with parking on both sides or
Alternative 4: four-lane roads
While Alternative 1 was popular among public comments at a 36 percent vote, Alternative 2 is where the city is leaning, with two-lane roads and no street parking.
According to the city, there is more than enough room for any cars that would usually be parked on the street in downtown’s five parking garages. During peak hours, 89 street parking spots are occupied, while there are 1802 spots total in the core’s parking garages, 598 of which sit vacant.
Jayne Holmes, Director at Capital Works, said at a recent town hall meeting that the city’s parking garages downtown will be renovated to improve lighting, sanitation, and signage as part of the plan for construction in 2019.
That being said, Holmes mentioned that some accessible lots should still be available, plus above-ground dropoff and unloading areas. Potential loading zones include Diplock Lane, the Rose Theatre, Harmsworth Lane, John Street, and Main Street near City Hall.
While the point of the downtown revitalization project is to create an aesthetically beautiful environment while boosting awareness of what’s in the downtown core, business owners and residents have voiced concerns about eliminating street parking.
Some business owners and residents are concerned that they are not in the know about the downtown revitalization initiatives although the construction will affect them directly, and many are outraged that street parking may be eliminated altogether.
On the other hand, some have said that having wider sidewalks and no street parking will increase foot traffic and thus actually boost business, and possibly even tourism, in the downtown core.
There is currently no stand-in committee to review the city’s planning.
The downtown streetscape project sits at an estimated $25 million, not including engineering costs, or the sanitary sewer and watermain works project, a project set to start construction in spring 2018 which will be funded by the Region of Peel.
“We want to do it once, and we want to do it right,” Holmes said in terms of the massive scale of the downtown revitalizaton and any budget concerns.
Widening sidewalks, extending pavement treatments around Garden Square and Ken Whillans Square, and eliminating street parking is part of the city’s plan to host more events, increase walkability and pedestrian capacity, and give the core more character.
Holmes hinted that the downtown core aims to have a Yorkville-esque vibe, and compliment Brampton’s heritage.
According to Holmes, the event- and pedestrian- friendly plan for the core is reminiscent of downtown Brampton circa 1973.
What do you think of the city’s plan to eliminate street parking in the downtown core?