After numerous meetings of stakeholders, the City and its consultants (Delcan) have come up with a proposed streetscaping plan for Somerset Street. It is excellent.
Readers will recall that the West Wellie reconstruction got as far east as Spadina last year. Starting next month, more of Somerset will be dug up and new sewers and water installed, and then comes the fancy paving, protected parking bays that guarantee on-street parking (instead of rush hour traffic lanes), pedestrian lighting, benches, trees, etc.
The section from Spadina east to the start of the viaduct (bridge) at Breezehill will be landscaped like the parts of West Wellie done in previous years. The bridge itself, which runs over the Otrain cut and then slopes down to go over City Centre Avenue, will be given a distinct treatment of lights, planters, and trees, which will turn this well-used pedestrian and cyclist bridge from a bleak windswept eyesore to a pleasant urban street that should be a delight to all.
From City Centre Avenue (roughly #1010 Somerset on the south side, Musca Wine on the north side) along to Preston, there will be a new style of streetscaping. The benches and ped lights will be same as on Preston Street, as it is part of the Preston BIA. The brick pavers, parking bay pavers, and tree planting pattern will be unique to the neighborhood. These paver and sidewalk patterns will continue up Somerset hill to Booth Street when that section is reconstructed in 2011. The lighting and street furniture going up that hill will be a Chinatown style.
Suffice it to say it was a real … discussion … to get to this compromise position that generates a coherent landscape and furniture arrangment that covers 3 BIA’s (West Wellie, Preston, Chinatown), two community associations, and multiple neighborhoods, and one street. You can see for yourself if the resultant plan will knit together these diverse interests when the City has an open house on Wed March 24th from 6.30 to 8.30 at the Plant Rec Centre (corner of Preston and Somerset).
One of the features of the plan everyone working on it is proud of, is that we got bulb outs, parking bays, trees, bus stops, and shorter crossing distances … all without major disruption to on street parking. Last count I saw, we got all the benefits and only lost one legal parking space.