I hope you are not sick of posts on Bronson Avenue, because Bronson is an important street in our community as well as being a significant barrier and blight creater; and because Bronson is a bit of a barometer — if we can fix Bronson, there is hope for similar four lane arterials throughout our city. Others may think nothing can be done, but true urbanists will fight on.
There was a meeting last week of “stakeholders” (those are the residents who are suckers for punishment and go to long meetings with the engineers) and the engineers.
With a pleasant smile, I can say there was progress. First, Rescue Bronson has emphasized that the Albert/Slater/Commissioner/Bronson intersection (pictured above) needs to be re-thought and improved, not just repaved. How can a major reconstruction be done that didn’t even consult the Official Plan (which shows several alternative configurations for the intersection) or the Escarpment Plan (a neighborhood plan focussed on the intersection)? This time, our city and consultants came forward with a plan to basically eliminate Commissioner Street. Commissioner is the one way northbound segment that has no lights at Albert, is about 100′ long, on a uphill incline, that the 85 bus goes up (its the segment on the far right of the picture). They came forward with options to eliminate the counter-flow lane on Albert between Empress and Commissioner, to eliminate Commissioner and replace much of it with parkland. While not fully thought out yet, it is a great first step forward to improving the north end of Bronson. Is it reasonable to “chalk one up for Rescue Bronson”??
Now for the road diet bit that we have been lobbying for from Laurier to Gladstone. The DRAFT engineering report is somewhat negative. In fact, its very very negative. EXCEPT, it doesn’t say it cannot work. It stops quite short of that. It even admits, if you read between the lines, that significant portions of it would work. I’ll take this as a first skirmish non-defeat in progress for Rescue Bronson. We will be working with the engineers over the next few weeks to iron out some details, make sure their assumptions are reasonable and not quite so unfriendly to the road diet … and we will see what may come out. After all, we don’t want a road diet if it won’t work. We want a Bronson that works for everyone.
And finally, if you go to this link you get a national radio program on urban planning that interviews a wishful thinker engaging in wishful thoughts for a Bronson road diet. The bit on Bronson starts at minute 11: http://spacingradio.ca/2010/11/16/026-saving-bixi-bronson-avenue-and-our-parks/