4th phase of the ambitious Elgin Promenade on target - will the $$ needed to complete be available?

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Elgin Promenade, that pathway that serves as a pedestrian and cycling corridor will extend from Brant Street to Martha Street connecting the downtown core to the Centennial Multi-Use path is about to embark on the 4th phase.

The idea has been on the drawing boards for some time – when a funding opportunity came up in 2017, the city moved on it quickly.
It was a grad idea when it was first presented to the public in 2017, made possible by a federal gas tax rebate grant of $700,000.

Overall area - big pictureThe Promenade will eventually allow people to cycle or walk across the width of the city from the BurlOak Park in the east end to the Canal that separates us from Hamilton on the west end.

The first thing it did was open up the space opposite city hall and a little to the south of city hall. Some parking spots were removed and the first of four phases between Brant and John Street was done.

phases graphic all 4

Done in phases; the fourth one will begin in the Spring of 2021.

 

No one was really sure how many people would use the Promenade; when a pedestrian counter was installed on John Street from October 25th, 2019 to December 2, 2019 the counter showed approximately 346 people per day which is significant number of users, especially in the off-season.

A second pedestrian counter was also installed for all of 2019 at Martha Street and the Centennial Multi-Use Trail which is located beside the east end of the Elgin Promenade. The 2019 daily average count for 12 months at this location was 688.

Phase 4 connects Pearl Street to Martha Street – Site Constraints
The final phase that will connect Pearl Street to Martha Street, comes with a series of challenges and site constraints including land ownership, vehicular circulation of the adjacent parking lot and underground utilities.

The land for this proposed walkway is not owned the City however the City Realty Services department is in negotiation with the landowner of 425 Pearl Street to acquire the northern section of this parking lot in order to build the connecting link of the Elgin Promenade.

The proposed walkway is on top of two easements; Transnorthern (high-pressure gas pipeline) and Halton Region (sanitary and water). In advance of tendering this project, all those permits and approvals from various agencies have to be in place before a tender can be released.

The existing two-way driveway into the parking lot at 425 Pearl Street will be converted into a one-way in drive lane. A secondary driveway further south along Pearl Street will be built to accommodate egress from the existing parking lot.

concept plan BEST

All of phase 4

 

enlargement area # 1

A tighter look at the west side of phase 4.

area #2 enlarged

A closer look at the west side of phase 4

The Elgin Promenade Phase 4 – Design Program

The finished phase 4 will be a 4m wide pedestrian facility that is uninterrupted by cars (except at intersecting streets).

The illustrations for phase 4 represent approximately 60% design completion.

Two additional properties

Looking east. The two white structures are properties that will have to be acquired.

view looking west

Looking west. Phase four has space for more than just a walk – there are small areas where people can congregate.

Proposed Crossovers

There will be three pedestrian crossovers where the Promenade crosses Martha Street, Pearl Street and Elizabeth Street.

Martha Street and Pearl Street will be installed in conjunction with Phase 4 of the Promenade. Transportation Services staff are reviewing the Elizabeth Street pedestrian crossover to determine if it can be installed prior to completion of the Elgin Promenade.

In addition to the three pedestrian crossovers proposed, John Street is still under evaluation given the additional movements related to the Downtown

Parking Summary
The overall parking count from phases 1 to 3 resulted in a net zero loss of city parking stalls.

The project will result in 17 parking stalls being removed from a privately- owned parking lot at 425 Pearl Street. Currently, the owners of the lot do allow the public to use the space during evenings and weekends.

Capital funds have been committed in 2020 to complete a needs assessment with the goal of developing a plan to add parking supply to the downtown.

Project Schedule
The Elgin Promenade construction is anticipated to start in spring of 2021. Below is high-level schedule for the balance of this project.

High level time line graphicThe addition of a handsome rather splendid path for pedestrians and cyclists does present a repetition of a problem at Spencer Smith Park where cyclists tend to forget to respect the rights of those walking to safe passage.

This part of the city is rich in historically significant properties. The heritage value and appropriate protections (including possible Heritage Act designations) for the potential built heritage resources and potential cultural heritage landscapes will be addressed.

A report released last September, “Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment of the Downtown Mobility Hub”, will be reporting back to Council in 4Q; a funding source has yet to be determined.

One of the potential cultural heritage landscapes, the properties known as 431 and 435 Pearl Street, which are adjacent to the Elgin Promenade on the east side of Pearl Street.

Community Planning Department staff will report back to Council in spring 2020 concerning the scope and financial considerations for the heritage study.

Given the financial constraints brought about by the COVID crisis – could this part get put on hold ?

Part of Phase 4 includes new landscape construction on the rear portion of the city-owned property at 431 Pearl Street.

The project is going to significantly improve the way people use the downtown. It is going to require the purchase of a part of that parking lot, the purchase of the properties at 431 and 435 Pearl  – all at a time when dollars are going to be in short supply.

The success of the Elgin Promenade to date is a direct result of the number of stakeholders that have participated in the development of this multi-use pathway facility. Formal engagement with the downtown business community, members of council, advisory committees and area residents started in 2017. Since the project start, there have been two formal PIC sessions as well other related initiatives such as the Urban Parks Strategy Workshop and Downtown Streetscape Guidelines public engagement process.

dfer

dfer

In Q2 of 2020 staff will host a design session, open to project stakeholders and members of Council, in order to complete the conceptual design for the area behind 431 Pearl Street.

There was a phrase that Marianne Meed Ward used frequently when she was the ward 2 Councillor – ‘these are nice to have projects that we can’t afford.’ Didn’t hear that phrase once during the discussion of what was a Receive and File report from the Planning department.view looking west

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1 comment to 4th phase of the ambitious Elgin Promenade on target – will the $$ needed to complete be available?

  • Sally Hewitt

    Just a comment about cyclists and pedestrians….I believe I am a very considerate cyclist especially when I am cycling in a space shared with pedestrians. I find that pedestrians can be a problem for me.
    We need dedicated pedestrian lanes and dedicated cycling lanes like they have in Mississauga and Etobicoke,