Windsor residents are being asked to weigh in on a new design proposed for two main streets in the southwestern Ontario city's downtown core.
Mayor Drew Dilkens was joined by CIMA engineering consultant Jaime Garcia and the city's transportation planning senior engineer, Jeff Hagans, at a news conference Tuesday to discuss preliminary designs and give an update on a 2018 environmental assessment of downtown streets.
"This environmental assessment plan has the potential to transform one of the city's major east-west corridors by creating a complete street for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists and public transit riders," Dilkens said.
The assessment explores ways of reconfiguring the 3.5-kilometre stretch of University Avenue West from Huron Church Road to McDougall Street, to beautify the streets and integrate more efficient features for cyclists, parking and transit.
It also proposes strategies to optimize the public right-of-way along two blocks of Victoria Avenue, from Chatham Street West to Park Street West.
"The University Avenue you see today was designed to accommodate streetcars. It's too wide and it's underutilized," the mayor said.
Protecting bike lanes 'a must'
During the news conference, Garcia said the public and stakeholders were asked to give feedback on what's most important to them, regarding the two downtown streets.
"Protect the bicycle lanes should be a must in order for any kind of changes to take place in the course," Garcia said.
Based on the environmental assessment and feedback, the preliminary design features three to four lanes on University Avenue — two lanes for transit, one to two lanes dedicated to parking, depending on available space and an additional bicycle lane, protected by a boulevard.
A similar structure has been designed for Victoria Avenue from Chatham Street West to Park Street West.
It's estimated the restructuring projects will cost:
$9.7 million for University Avenue
$1.9 million for Victoria Avenue.
According to Dilkens, the city has set aside approximately $5 million for the project, but more funding commitments will be discussed once the designs have been approved by city council later this year.
Ways to share input
Residents are invited to share input with the city administration from July 27 to Aug. 24 on the preferred design concepts for the redevelopment of University and Victoria avenues.
For more information and to submit a written comment, you can visit the University Avenue & Victoria Avenue Environmental Assessment page on citywindsor.ca.
Residents may also provide comments through 311 or by contacting the project team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An online public consultation is being provided for residents today (July 27) from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. ET for more details on the environmental assessment. More information is available on the City of Windsor website.