Dundas Street plans on hold for now
Dundas Street is unlikely to ever be described as 'pedestrian friendly.'
Now a multi-million dollar plan to transform it into a pedestrian flexible street that can be closed to traffic are on hold.
Financial constraints in the draft 2015 city budget have the project delayed until 2016 or beyond.
Thursday night Downtown London asked councillors to reconsider and begin the $1.3 million consultation and detailed design work now.
"It's not just the design of what the street is going to look like, there's a massive study to see what the street is going to be utilized for," says Janette MacDonald of Downtown London.
Downtown Ward 13 Councillor Tanya Park argues that with significant construction work planned for the Kingsmill's-Fanshawe College building, overlapping the timing of the two projects would condense disruptions in the core and avoid costly duplication.
"It's really not financially prudent for our municipality to pay for infrastructure work twice. So if we have the plan in place and we can do all the work in tandem with the work that's required for the Kingsmill's building - that's what we need to do," says Park.
The project is more than just updating the street-scape and putting in some car barriers.
Most of the expense will be to modernize the underground pipes and utilities and move the buses onto King St. and Queens Ave.
City staff have yet to release an official cost estimate for the entire project but very preliminary work from November 2011 set the price tag at $5 million.
Park will look for efficiencies in other parts of the city budget in order to see the project advanced.
"It's more than just prettying up the street. It's giving our street another purpose where it's in sense a gathering place," says Park.
Council will begin its budget deliberations on Jan. 29.
If the start date for the flexible street project isn't advanced to 2015 it will become part of the multi-year budgeting process mapping out spending between 2016 and 2019.