The City of Barrie has been digging its downtown core since last fall.
Dunlop Street, which runs east and west through downtown Barrie, is in the midst of a $13-million streetscape facelift stretching from Mulcaster to Toronto streets, with the project officially known as the . The downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) is contributing $300,000 to the project that when completed will feature a streetscape that maintains two-way traffic and includes reconfigurable parking areas that can be used for either pedestrian space or parking depending on time of year and demand, according to a .
“This project is necessary to replace aging infrastructure in Barrie’s downtown. Above ground, the project will improve the pedestrian experience with wider sidewalks, while providing downtown businesses with more attractive and accessible storefronts. New streetlights, planters and trees will make for a refreshed and greener downtown,” say city officials.
Plans put a focus on pedestrian safety and accessibility, better lighting, visibility, and service opportunities for businesses along the strip, such as on-road/boulevard patios.
“The design concept includes pedestrian friendly, aesthetically enhanced streetscape design elements within the boulevard and roadway,” reads the staff report.
The first part of the project, from Mulcaster Street to Owen Street, in the centre of the downtown, began last fall, and was recently completed. The next phases are:
March to July: Dunlop/Owen streets intersection closure and Dunlop Street closed between Owen and Clapperton streets
July to September: Five Points intersection (Dunlop and Clapperton streets) closure and Toronto Street intersection closure, with construction areas on Dunlop between Clapperton and Maple Avenue, and between Mary and Toronto
September to November: Mary and Maple intersections closure with construction on Dunlop between Maple and Mary Streets.
“The design concept includes pedestrian friendly, aesthetically enhanced streetscape design elements within the boulevard and roadway,” reads the report. They include:
- Retail zone features such as patios
- Amenity zone features such as trees, planters, lighting, trash/recycling receptacle
- Street furniture
- Pay and display parking
Flexible zone features allowing either parking or pedestrian zone, depending on how space is to be utilized.
Infrastructure improvements include water and sewer work. The original budget includes $300,000 from the downtown BIA, over six years, and $345,000 from the tourism reserve. A further $87,846 is to come from the water capital reserve, $382,882 from the wastewater capital reserve, $14,033 and $111,173 from the tax capital reserve and tax funded debt, respectively.
According to staff, the additional funds will come from these reserves through reductions from other Capital Projects in the 2019 Capital Plan.
“Staff will mitigate impacts on the local businesses and the patio season and have developed the schedule accordingly. However, it is subject to weather conditions and assumptions made, such as a shorter patio season in 2019,” reads the report.