The Queen/Leslie closure May through June, offers an opportunity here in Leslieville to try a Pedestrian Mall on our neighbourhood's Main Street.
|Map showing area of possible "Leslieville Open Streets" Weekends during the Queen St closure|
Open Streets Leslieville
Ward 30 Bikes notes that Queen Street from Jones to Greenwood could be seen as a Pedestrian Mall for May and June. Like the "Open Streets" idea that the City is trying this year on Bloor Street from High Park to Sherbourne1 - this is an opportunity to create a vibrant pedestrian centred street for a couple of months.
We note that businesses are likely trying to get as much car traffic into the dead ends on both sides of the blockage - they need the access for deliveries, and for many, not just businesses, off-peak on-street parking.
The Leslieville BIA is planning a Festival in the closure area one weekend in June. Let's expand that good idea.
Every weekend in May and June we could completely block Queen Street - at Jones and at Greenwood - and allow only pedestrian traffic into the area. Businesses could push their business concepts out their front doors and onto the sidewalks in some fashion. People would use the street to walk on - just like the Taste of the Danforth weekend; except this would happen Every Weekend for the duration of the construction closure!
This Open Streets - Taste of Leslieville idea could actually increase business!
Shops all along Queen Street East - and especially from Broadview to Coxwell - are going to experience reduced traffic flows past their font doors during the closure. The Greenwood - Jones area has the advantage that the road is also actually closed. We can take advantage of that and do a Yonge Street style Pedestrian Mall thing for 6 weekends in a row starting this coming weekend!
This is not a half-baked idea out of nowhere from us here at Ward 30 bBikes. This idea is central to our thinking around an idea called "Liveable Cities". Liveable Cities include "Complete Streets" - streets that have narrower traffic lanes, wider sidewalks - and bike lanes. Room on our roadways for more kinds of activities - not just commuter car traffic passing through. An Open Street Weekend is a way to help people vision what a Complete Street could do for a neighbourhood. What a Liveable City might 'feel' like.
The massive highway-like traffic flows on Queen everyday, all through the day (almost) - make Queen the kind of street people like to stay away from if they can help it, during the peak hours. It's only at night when traffic volumes subside that everyone comes out for a casual walk after dinner - or whatever it is they like to do on our neighbourhood's Main Street.
Now we have an opportunity to experience this All Day - Saturday and Sunday - for 6 weekends on a row! If it works, we might even want to expand the idea to Friday's as well!
It is quite likely that this concept just might result in an increase in business on Queen! Locals will come out to support it at first; and then as the news spreads, folks from other neighbourhoods would grab the Bus or Walk or Bike over to Jones - or west to Greenwood - and arrive there just to experience the thing.
Leslieville Open Streets Weekends!
Let's turns this road closure thing on it's head. This is a great opportunity to try something that we couldn't try at any other time - ever.
This is a unique opportunity.
The noisy part of the hole they're making at Queen and Leslie is already almost over. Next comes the task of laying the concrete bed; and then the complex 3/4 Grand track placement - and then more concrete pouring. The street should be relatively quiet these next two months - Especially on weekends!
Come on - let's just do this thing. Leslieville Open Streets Weekends!
1 Toronto Star - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Open Streets: pedestrian Sunday on Bloor off to a plodding start | http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2014/04/16/open_streets_pedestrian_sunday_on_bloor_off_to_a_plodding_start.html
Open Streets TO (Original plan: High Park to Withrow Park - scaled back by Council's Economic Development Committee last month) | http://www.openstreetsto.org/
8-80 Cities (one of the sponsors of @OpenStreetsTO) | http://www.8-80cities.org/
Open Streets TO