Creating Dundas Place

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1 Creating Dundas Place A Flexible Street Scoping Study January 2015

2 Dundas Street Scoping Study

3 Acknowledgements This document would not have been possible without the guidance of the Project Team and contribution of the many stakeholders who participated in the process. Project Team IBI Group Joe Heyninck Trevor McIntyre Rebecca Dewdney Joyce Renfrew Kelly Cobbe Ashish Ghate Chris Prentice Don Drackley Linden Laserna Tony Zhou Stakeholders City of London Downtown London London Transit Commission London Hydro Bell Canada Rogers Cable Union Gas London District Heating City of london Edward Soldo John Lucas Jim Yanchula Sean Galloway Karl Grabowski Jane Fullick Shane Maguire Maged Elmadhoon Tom Copeland Ugo DeCandido Roland Welker Jake Blancher Justin Lawrence Ivan Listar Don Purchase Chuck Parker Dundas Street, London, ON Dundas Street Scoping Study 1

4 Dundas Street Scoping Study

5 Contents Executive Summary Introduction Background Study Purpose Case Studies What is a Shared/Flexible Street? Shared-Space Typologies Case Studies Context Study Area Maintaining the Importance of Dundas Street Within Downtown London as an Economic and Social Hub Importance of Dundas Street in the City of London Transportation System Infrastructure Review General Municipal Services Utilities Design Opportunities Implementation Balanced Approach for Dundas Street Infrastructure Dundas Street Scoping Study Implementation Plan Critical Path Schedule Staging & Cost Estimates Existing Conditions Dundas Street Local Attractions Existing Built Form Dundas Street Issues & Opportunities Analysis Dundas Street Vision Review of City of London Studies & Reports Synthesis Vision Statement Public Transit London Transit Services London s Rapid Transit Plan Transportation Road Network Operation Parking Enhanced Pedestrianization Cycling Event Planning and Street Closure a mixed-use compact city, The London Plan Report Dundas Street Scoping Study 3

6 4 Dundas Street Scoping Study

7 Executive Summary Dundas and Richmond, Photo by Sean_Marshall Dundas Street Scoping Study Executive Summary 5

8 The Dundas Street Scoping Study is a preliminary study to define the scope of future improvement initiatives as related to Dundas Street in order to create a more attractive, vibrant and functional corridor in the heart of London, Ontario. It is the next step in a commitment to a new and revitalized Dundas Street a bustling, thriving public space which will once again become the economic, cultural and institutional heart of the City. In 2012, the City of London retained IBI Group to carry out the Dundas Street Scoping Study and develop a project that meets several goals and opportunities as outlined in the Draft Downtown Plan (June 2013) as well as provide the City with a comprehensive review to identify how Dundas Street can be successfully re-established as the primary shopping and recreation district in London. With a principal focus on flexible streets, enhanced pedestrianization and increased linkages to key local features, the Scoping Study blends a strong understanding of the relationship between urban design and placemaking, traffic, transportation, safety, construction staging, utility relocation, maintenance and operation and costing. The resulting project plan details a balanced approach over a seven year period and includes budget and timelines for stakeholder consultation, design and construction. The report is organized into 11 key sections, each building upon the understanding and findings of the previous sections to culminate in a set of design opportunities, implementation and staging and cost estimates. The key sections are briefly summarized as follows: Introduction Dundas Street has always been an important street for the City of London, with a rich history dating back well into the 1800s. This section details valuable historical context, the steps taken to further the revitalization conversation and the purpose of the Dundas Street Scoping Study. Case Studies Given the intent to transform the segment of Dundas from Ridout Street to Wellington Street into a flexible street or shared street, there is a strong need to fully understand the implication and benefits of these types of streets. In this section, these terms are defined and further expanded upon, providing three successful case studies for review. Context Context plays a critical role in urban design and placemaking, and in this section, elements that influence Dundas Street both physically and non-physically are examined. In addition to defining the study area, Dundas Street is evaluated in terms of its place within the City of London and its importance as both an economic and social hub as well as a key component of the London transportation system. Existing Conditions In this section, the existing conditions of the five block section between Wellington Street and the Forks of the Thames are studied and graphically represented including key local attractions, existing built form and the delineation of three distinct character areas. An issues and opportunities analysis is categorized by the built environment, the natural environment, infrastructure and servicing, transportation and transit, social-economic and traffic operations, pedestrian movement and parking. Dundas Street Vision While Dundas Street has been included as part of numerous studies and improvement initiatives, it has never been the sole subject of a comprehensive review to create a new project opportunity to re-invent the street. The many studies that have helped to develop the project vision are reviewed and summarized in this section as well as ideas combined to further develop specific key components in terms of economic, placemaking and direct benefits. Public Transit This section outlines the potential impacts on the public transit services and transit users should removal of public transit services occur on Dundas Street between Wellington and Ridout. Specifically, the potential impacts are discussed in regards to transit operating costs and transit use. Transportation As Dundas Street is a central portion of the Downtown London s transportation network, any major changes to the street have to be evaluated against various transportation considerations. In this section, changes are considered in terms of road network operation, parking, enhances pedestrianization, cycling and event planning and street closure. Infrastructure Review Within the City of London, Dundas Street has the highest density of municipal services and utilities and any future improvements will need to have regard for these services. This section provides a summary of the information provided by various service and/or utility representatives during the course of this study in addition to potential impacts these services and/or utilities could have on any future revitalization projects. Design Opportunities Dundas Street revitalization has been identified within the Draft Downtown Plan as the first of six strategic directions items focused on public realm improvements. The project plan presented in this section consolidates all design opportunities identified and provides direction on specific sections of the street to further execute the project vision of making Dundas Street the most exciting place in London. Implementation The Dundas Street project plan shown in this document will be implemented over time incrementally and in a balanced manner addressing various conflicting interests and priorities, which are identified and listed in this section. A Critical Path Schedule is also recommended, which takes the project from project commitment to construction over a seven year period. Stage & Cost Estimates Due to the size and scale of the anticipated improvements, a two stage phasing strategy is recommended and outlined in this section as well as pre-design estimates of probable costs for both stages. 6 Executive Summary Dundas Street Scoping Study

9 1. Introduction Rendering of a complete street. our move forward: london s downtown plan, 2015 Dundas Street Scoping Study Introduction 7

10 1.1. Background Dundas Street has been the main street for the City of London dating back well into the 1800 s. For many years, the stretch of Dundas Street between the Thames River and Wellington Streets has been recognized as the economic, cultural, and institutional heart of the City. It has also been the City s primary transit corridor from the earliest days of horse and electric streetcars. However, as has occurred in many North American cities in the last few decades, as the City s population has grown, there has been a shift in focus away from the Downtown with new businesses choosing to locate on the periphery of the city. Since Dundas Street is also seen as the City s primary pedestrian street, the perception that the City s overall health is affected by the image and experience of this street as a public space has gained prominence. After years of decline and numerous studies to provide direction for renewal, there is now a strong interest in repositioning Dundas Street so that it can once again become the primary meeting place and destination for residents and visitors in the City a lively hub for events, activities, shopping and entertainment as well as business. Over the years, Dundas Street has been the focus of a number of smaller studies and improvements but never has there been a dramatic and comprehensive effort made to re-invent the street, to celebrate the past history and to create a new opportunity for a vibrant place that can transform this part of Downtown. Previous investments in Dundas Street have focused on beautification measures such as street trees, sidewalk pavement and metal trees in addition to some underground infrastructure improvements in response to new development and to investigate existing problems. Since , the City has initiated a series of incentive programs with buildings on Dundas Street included in a Targeted Incentive Zone in an effort to maintain existing heritage buildings and promote a more vibrant commercial corridor and neighbourhood. However, a major project for the entire corridor has not been undertaken since 1994 when the City reinstated on-street parking. Past studies and initiatives have also had some impact on Dundas Street. A Blueprint for Action; Report of the Downtown Task Force (February 2008) was an important move forward in focusing attention on a comprehensive Downtown revitalization effort. The report established that one of the three primary goals for the Downtown in next 10 years is to make Dundas Street the most exciting street in London. The Downtown Task Force (DTA) also presented a series of 31 recommendations to help set goals for the next 10 years. Some of the key recommendations specific to Dundas Street include: Develop a 10-year transportation plan to see buses, then cars, phased out of the east-west Dundas corridor between Wellington and Ridout, the traffic being replaced by pedestrians and bicycles during the spring-summer-fall months. (#28) Consistent with the transportation plan timetable, develop a plan for the transformation of Dundas into a piazza-style corridor through beautification, a greater business street presence and development of a pedestrian oriented concept (#29) In September 2011, conceptual designs for a flexible pedestrian-oriented Dundas Street were presented as part of the Mayor s Downtown Vision. The concepts were developed as a culmination of ideas from the Draft Downtown Plan, the Transportation Master Plan, City Council meetings, the Thames Valley Corridor Study, and other public consultations. These initiatives have built strong interest and excitement with the public and local businesses that a major revitalization project is feasible and there is a potential for dramatic change in the street. View of Richmond Street in the 1940 s View of Dundas Street looking east from talbot street in the 1870 s 8 Introduction Dundas Street Scoping Study

11 The City of London in June 2013 released the Draft Downtown Plan which has been produced based on an extensive public engagement process. The process helped to solidify the vision for Downtown and chart a path forward. In 2015, the city will release the final Downtown Plan entitled our Move Forward: London s Downtown Place. It recognizes that Downtown London is London s face to the world. A successful Downtown is key for retaining and attracting business investment in London. The Downtown Plan is built around six strategic directions. These provide direction for projects and actions to follow that will achieve the desired outcomes for our City, ultimately building a livable and vibrant downtown. Dundas Street revitalization has been identified as the first of six strategic directions, which are focused on the public realm initiative and their potential to leverage private investment value, as well as the first listed Transformational Project. Make Dundas Street the most exciting place in London. Dundas Street is London s original main street and a place once lively with activities of trade and commerce. Times have changed significantly since the street s origin, but Dundas Street can re-establish its place as London s preeminent street. This can be achieved through investments that provide people-oriented infrastructure that is focussed on creating neigbourhoods and a unique and diverse range of experiences, boulevard tree planting, event programming and providing the highest level of maintenance in the city. Source: DRAFT Downtown Plan The Dundas Street project is a major opportunity to build upon many years of work and a focus on the revitalization of Dundas Street in fashion that it: Will become a focus for Downtown London and beyond, a pedestrian space that is a stage for day to day activities as well as special functions and programmed activities, festivals, and events; Will forge an enduring connection between the Forks of the Thames and the life of the city. Can, unlike other streets, transform into a place where pedestrian activities take precedent, where motor vehicles do not dominate the use of the rightof-way and do not prescribe the built form; Can result in a space that is accessible to all Londoners and visitors, with a focus on the quality of the space, the materials used, the lighting, safety, the ambience day and night and seasonally, and that this will help to revitalize this part of the downtown, but also generally will encourage other businesses and development opportunities in the Downtown; and Will include upgrading and replacing aging utilities and a thorough and comprehensive approach that not only replaces, but adds value to the space, by reconfiguring it into a high quality, best in class Downtown urban space. Goal To recréate Dundas Street as the preeminent public place in London-- beyond just a space to move through and instead to become a destination to arrive at for shopping, leisure, civic activities and celebrations. Why Is This Important As Dundas Street is a long-time commercial artery and a spine of civic activity in London, the condition and uses a long Dundas Street have a direct reflection on the health of the downtown as a whole. Dundas Street has experienced an evolution of uses and activities over time, and the street continues to evolve as economic conditions and demographic trends change. lt is important to strengthen the multidimensional aspects of Dundas Street through road improvements, subject to refinement following conclusions from a project-related Environmental Assessment, which will better define the feasibility and limitations ofthis project. These improvements will create a positive and compelling experience that will attract businesses and visitors. Source: Our Move Forward: London s Downtown Plan, January 2015 Dundas Street Scoping Study Introduction 9

12 1.2. Study Purpose The purpose of the Dundas Street Scoping Study is to present a rationale for investing in infrastructure, propose preliminary design options, undertake an infrastructure review and provide recommendations, propose implementation strategies and other recommendations, and prepare a preliminary budget based on various scenarios. The Scoping Study draws together urban design and placemaking, traffic, environmental quality, transportation, safety, construction staging, utility relocation, maintenance and operations and costing, and gives direction to the preliminary design exercise, and ultimately the strategy for how to implement the project. The following key design considerations were reviewed and addressed as part of the study: Urban Design: Design themes overall and block by block, streetscape design details, signage and wayfinding, public art / banner programs, environmental features, lighting, street furniture; Programming: Opportunities for both everyday use and major event use; Traffic, Transit and Active Transportation: Various conditions including every day use, major event use, and emergency operations; and, Servicing: A range of options including reusing services in current location and rebuilding and relocating services. This study and the vision for the project is rooted in numerous City reports and is the result of an iterative process between City of London departments, Downtown London, London Transit Commission and the Consultant to determine the most appropriate strategy for revitalizing Dundas Street. The study is intended to provide clarity in describing and executing the project and also help generate excitement and support for the full potential of the project. Present day view of Dundas and Richmond. Photo by Sean Marshall CC BY-NC 2.0 The final recommendations do not propose a Preliminary Design but aim to present a clear direction for the project as an integrated and comprehensive exercise. 10 Introduction Dundas Street Scoping Study

13 2. Case Studies King Street, Kitchener, ON Dundas Street Scoping Study Case Studies 11

14 2.1. What is a Shared/Flexible Street? A flexible street or shared street, is essentially the entire street right-of-way, from building face to building face shared by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. By combining uses rather than segregating them to certain parts of the right-of-way, there is more flexibility, sharing of surfaces and respect in the way that motorists and pedestrians share the space and how it can be programmed. At times, motorists will be allowed to have a higher usage and at times when it is desirable to reduce the vehicle usage, these spaces will function as pedestrian spaces, where retail, festival and other occasional, casual, and programmed activities dominate the space and they essentially become civic plazas, or piazzas. Research conducted on shared streets shows that by combining the activities, and designing them to reflect the intended usage and slow speeds (30 km/h or less), motorists become more aware of pedestrians and pedestrians, when not depending on regulatory signage, are more aware of motorists. This concept has been more fully accepted in European countries, but is now becoming more common in North American cities and even locally, in cities such as Kitchener, Ontario and Toronto. One of the main controversies of shared space is the right of pedestrians with visual impairments to be able to travel independently in the public right-of-way without relying on the motorist s ability to avoid conflicts with them. Providing comfort space, an area within the street predominantly used by pedestrians where motor vehicles are unlikely to be present, may still be needed within a shared space particularly for younger and older pedestrians and those with impairments. Flexible / shared streets are streets a living street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists. Techniques include shared space, traffic calming, and low speed limits. 16th Street mall, Denver. Photo by Gordon CC BY-SA Shared-Space Typologies Shared-space typologies can be classified into three main categories based on the levels of intervention as per below. Maximum intervention: No curbs, flush surface wall-to-wall, driving surface may be defined by bollards Medium intervention: Curbs/rolled curbs to define roadway, patterned road surface and sidewalk Minimum intervention: Curbs with defined road, pavers on flexible sidewalk/event space/parking 12 Case Studies Dundas Street Scoping Study

15 2.3. Case Studies King Street Kitchener, Ontario Time of installation: Completed in 2010 Cost: $11M (total construction value) Function: Main commercial street through downtown Kitchener Flexibility: converted the existing lay-by parking and sidewalk into a flexible sidewalk parking system. During warmer months the bollards are located close to the curb to maximize space for pedestrians, outdoor cafés, restaurants, retail and smallscale street performances. Bollards can be moved to allow for on-street parking in the winter. Bollards can also be placed at major crosswalks, allowing each of the six blocks to be closed off for the city s major events and festivals Special Features: Infiltration grates direct stormwater runoff to planter beds, sub-surface tree routing corridors, and semi mountable curbs improve pedestrian accessibility. Surface Materials: Unit paving sidewalk Removable bollards for flexible parking Stormwater filtration planters Asphalt roadway Permeable surface materials Many more trees than previously existed In 2007, the City of Kitchener undertook a major revitalization project to reshape and re-energize the downtown into an urban, modern, livable and sustainable destination for pedestrians and businesses. Beginning with a Streetscape Master Plan for the City Centre District and continuing through the detailed design and contract administration services for the reconstruction of six blocks of downtown Kitchener s main street, the King Street project was founded on the principle that an investment in a high quality public realm will serve as a catalyst for private sector investment, intensification and renewal of the downtown Kitchener core. The design creates a pedestrian-first public realm that reconfigures the street by converting the existing lay-by parking and sidewalk into a flexible sidewalk-parking system. During warmer months the bollards are located close to the curb to maximize space for pedestrians, outdoor cafes, restaurants, retail and small-scale street performances. In the winter, the bollards can be moved to allow for on-street parking. Dundas Street Scoping Study Case Studies 13

16 The project showcases several innovative design features intended to respond to the public s wish for a pedestrian oriented space. Removable bollards separate vehicles and pedestrians while providing a flexible sidewalk/ parking system that can be altered to respond to the season (patios, sidewalk sales and wider walkways in the summer/ more parking in the winter), allow easy block-by-block road closures and a special civic area directly in front of Kitchener City Hall. Permanent festival services (water, electrical, audio/ video) and informal stages were integrated into the final design. Semi-mountable curbs are provided to promote the feeling of a pedestrian plaza and improve accessibility during special events. Generously wide sidewalks, two revitalized public plazas, granite clad planting beds with seat walls, public art and accent lighting are design elements that contribute to the vibrant pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Strategies for Staging Construction The reconstruction of King Street was undertaken over two construction seasons, 2009 and It was important that a careful balance was maintained between the continued operation of the local businesses and the construction activities. Clear public communication (coordinated with City of Kitchener staff and the Downtown BIA) and responsive, personable site superintendence allowed business concerns to be quickly addressed. Detailed scheduling included mandatory night work and a staged approach to minimize the impacts on the community and work with the needs of the local businesses. The annual occurrence of special events taking place in the downtown core (Cruising on King Street, Bluesfest and Oktoberfest) created key milestones and schedule deadlines throughout construction operations, which were met with success. Economic Improvements/Benefits: The King Street revitalization has been an instant catalyst for new development within the project limits by attracting new businesses and bringing vibrancy back. Twenty-One (21) good quality businesses have emerged and 22 existing facades have been enhanced with a total investment in excess of $750,000; The average daily foot traffic has increased from 3,000 to 8,300 and festival and event attendance has increased 33%; A new 385-unit condo project is currently in presales phase and a new 96-unit boutique hotel is proposed; and The project s success has made it a model for best practice urban design for municipalities and BIAs throughout Ontario. Placemaking Improvements/Benefits: The design scheme for King Street responded to public s interest in the Pedestrian First model. An original streetscape design and vision for King Street was developed that reflected the area s character and incorporated street trees and planting, sidewalk cafés, bicycle connections and bicycle parking, improved street lighting, public art, transit pads and shelters, wayfinding signage, and street furniture. The project received the 2010 Community Place Award from the International Making Cities Livable Council in recognition of the innovative design for a flexible, summer/ winter sidewalk, and sustainable streetscaping to bring people, particularly youth, back to downtown. The King Street project was also recognized as a green street by Tree Canada for its contribution to, and leadership in, creating an environmentally sustainable street design. 14 Case Studies Dundas Street Scoping Study

17 Place d Armes, Montreal, Quebec Time of installation: Construction began in 2009 the work was completed in Cost: $15.5 million Function: A public square rich in history located in Old Montreal between Saint Jacques and Notre-Dame streets Formerly the hub of the Montreal s tramway lines when the city s downtown and central business district was centred around Old Montreal and Saint- Jacques Street Flexibility: No curbs with wall-to wall paving and driving surface defined in bollards Special Features: Utilities box hidden underneath large public seating bench Surface Materials: Unit paving on sidewalk and road Trees incorporated into design at an early stage Dundas Street Scoping Study Case Studies 15

18 Exhibition Road, London UK Time of installation: Competition held in 2003 and won by the architectural firm Dixon and Jones. Construction completed by the 2012 London Olympics. Cost: Not available Function: Street provides access to many nationally significant institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, Natural History Museum (which incorporates the former Geological Museum), the Royal Geographical Society and Imperial College London. Flexibility: Shared space design for the Exhibition Road and surrounding streets prioritize pedestrians while allowing some vehicular traffic at a reduced speed Special Features: Surface Materials: Wall-to-wall unit paving with bold graphic pattern Existing trees incorporated into the design and protected 16 Case Studies Dundas Street Scoping Study

19 3. Context Dundas and Talbot looking east. Photo by Peter Harding Dundas Street Scoping Study Context 17

20 3.1. Study Area Initially the scope of the study was limited to a four block segment of Dundas Street stretching from Ridout Street on the west to Wellington Street on the east. Early in the scoping study process it was concluded that the connection between Dundas Street and the Thames River is an important opportunity to link London s open space/green network to the Downtown. As a result, the scope of the study was extended to include the block west of Ridout Street to the river Maintaining the Importance of Dundas Street Within Downtown London as an Economic and Social Hub London is a medium sized city in south-western Ontario, located in the Quebec City Windsor Corridor. The Downtown occupies only 0.2% the City s expansive land area but accounts for a substantial portion (about 10%) of the City s commercial office space, employment and tax base. The Downtown provides unique cultural facilities and is the focal point of government functions, London s transit system and entertainment in the City. Downtown London is currently rebounding from a downward spiral that began in the 1970s when suburban malls started to alter shopping habits and attract retailers and patrons away from the Downtown. This decline arguably accelerated when a Downtown mall (Galleria) was developed to rival these suburban malls, as it drew many of the remaining independent retailers off the main Downtown streets. This mall has far fewer retailers and has since been repurposed for offices and the Central Library but street level vacancies on Dundas Street continue to remain a major challenge for Downtown London. Dundas Street. Photo by wyliepoon CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 The City is now making major inroads through revitalization. A key part of this success can be attributed to its strong employment base. Downtown London contains 80% of the City s office space and over 30,000 jobs. This concentration of office space resulted from the City introducing policies into its Official Plan in the 1990s that direct all office spaces over 5,000 m 2 be located downtown. The effectiveness of this policy has been paramount to reversing the fortunes of Downtown London. Moreover the City of London has been bold and innovative in approaching revitalization and has strategically invested in many projects designed to attract new users and residents to the downtown. The Budweiser Gardens, Central Library, Convent Garden Market, and improved City parks have all played an important role in making the downtown more attractive and enjoyable. These important assets have greatly increased the importance and prominence of downtown London both citywide and regionally. Source: The Value of Investing in Canadian Downtowns, Canadian Urban Institute, May 2012 Downtown comprises 0.2% Of London s land area (99ha) 10% Downtown generates about 10% of the City s tax assessment 1% Of London s population lives downtown 81% Of London s office space is downtown 11% Of Trips made to and from downtown are by transit Downtown London has 303 jobs/ha Or 30,000+ jobs Downtown generates $504K/ha In tax revenue 18 Context Dundas Street Scoping Study

LONDON. Snap Shot of London. We find different solutions and say. Well maybe we should try that.

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