Q1. Why revitalize Beckwith Street?
The water and sewer pipes that run beneath Beckwith Street have long surpassed their useful life (some of the pipes were installed in the late 1800’s). The surface of Beckwith Street is also deteriorating rapidly and maintenance costs will escalate significantly if left unattended. The town must also make improvements by 2025 to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the municipality is committed to developing a safer, more accommodative downtown.
Q2. What are “complete streets”?
Complete Streets are streets that are designed to be safe for everyone: people who walk, bicycle, take transit, or drive, and people of all ages and abilities. They also consider other uses like sidewalk cafés, street furniture, street trees, utilities, stormwater management, and many other uses.
Q3. What funding has been secured to date for the Revitalization of Beckwith Street?
On February 15th, 2018, the Town received $933,850 from the province through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund – Top Up 2017 program to improve the water and sewer pipes that run beneath Beckwith Street. This project will enable the Town to separate our combined wastewater and storm water sewers thereby reducing water flows into our wastewater treatment plant and lowering the cost of treatment. The separation of this infrastructure will better enable storm sewers to accommodate future heavy rain events.
On July 24, 2019, the Town announced that it had received an additional $2.1 million from the province through the Connecting Links 2019-2020 program. The Connecting Links Program provides dedicated provincial funding for road and bridge projects on designated connecting link highways. The funding will be used to for road reconstruction, improved markings and medians, curbs, traffic signal upgrades, and lighting at intersections.
Q4. When will construction start?
The terms of agreement with the province stipulate that the Connecting Links project must be completed by December 31st, 2021.
Council has not yet awarded a contract for this project. Further details on this will be coming forward in August 2019.
Q5. How many on street parking stalls will there be compared to the angle parking arrangement?
There are currently 120 parking stalls on Beckwith Street between Chambers and Elmsley. The current yield cannot be replicated because parking spaces need to meet minimum setbacks from traffic signals along with new pedestrian activated crossing signals being added at William Street and Church Street. These features were added to the design as an outcome from the public consultation process. The goal is to maximize parking, and it is expected there will still be parking capacity for 101 vehicles. There are also opportunities to create new parking stalls on several intersecting streets to minimize the overall reduction – this will be pursued to its full potential in the future.
Q6. Will the complete streets design make the downtown more accessible for people using assistive devices (wheelchairs , walkers, canes, etc)?
Yes. The design reduces the barrier that presently exists between regular parking stalls and the sidewalk. The new design provides improved access from the parking lane to the cycle lane then to the sidewalk. The extra parallel parking lane width will make it easier for lift equipped vehicles to deploy a side ramp or maneuver an assistive device out of or into their vehicle. Additional designated spaces will also be provided in each block that will allow increased opportunities for vehicles that deploy accessible equipment from the rear.
Q7. What is the point of having cycling lanes that start and finish downtown?
The Beckwith Street revitalization presents the perfect opportunity to install cycling lanes in the more intense section of downtown. The cycling network can be expanded over time with either dedicated lanes or shared use lanes to meet the Town’s long-term objectives for active transportation as confirmed in the town’s 2019-22 Strategic Plan. The Beckwith redesign will serve our community for decades.