Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Next Steps in Downtown Revitalization

Since I am a perpetual booster of all things Pelham, you will not be surprised that I am excited about the upcoming revitalization of Downtown Fonthill!

You see, just last week we took another step closer to a shovel in the ground on the $2.5 million revitalization of downtown Fonthill from College Street, across Regional Road #20 to Broad Street.


The company hired to finalize the detailed engineering design held a “public information centre” regarding the street reconstruction and streetscaping improvements.

Don’t worry in case you missed it; the information is posted on the front page of Town’s website at and they are inviting your comments until December 11.

Within the study area and based on significant average daily traffic counts (of approximately 8,000), Pelham Street functions as a local arterial road. In the development of the design options, the consultants considered the need to provide some level of safety for cyclists, to maximize the pedestrian realm, to provide on-street parking, and to ensure adequate fire vehicle maneuverability.

They suggested a standard 3.5 metre lane width “based on the volume and nature of traffic and the need to meet provincial and local engineering standards for a safe roadway.” After looking at three other options, they recommended “Option 2: On Street Parking (both sides)-No Bike Lanes (except from
College Street to Church Hill Street).”

Their reasons? The design (which is also available in detail on the Town’s website) provides for the same number of on-street parking spots, expands or improves the pedestrian realm, complies with recent planning studies (like the Community Improvement Plan and Urban Design Guidelines), links with the Regional Bikeway Network, and provides additional boulevards to enhance business frontage.

I was impressed that the picture boards also included a graphic representation of how the revitalization might look. It included an image of the current situation and an image of how that area could look with the preferred design. It not only included a new road and sidewalks, but the images also removed the overhead hydro and telephone poles, added decorative lights and trees, and delineated parking spaces.

The consultant suggested that following streetscaping design review meetings in January / February 2010, the detail design should be completed in “Winter 2010”. The construction could be tendered in the spring and should be completed next fall.

And so, it will be gratifying that the vision that so many have worked on for so many years will become a reality during the next year.