Parklets, Patios, Parking and Pooches
You may have noticed a few changes in the Downtown District over the last week, and there are more coming! In an effort to provide a bit more space for our restaurants to set up patios while abiding by the physical distancing rules we are installing parklets (parking spots made into pedestrian space) throughout the main streets. Parklets and vignettes (community space on the sidewalks) are also designed to offer community space for our visitors to be able to sit and enjoy a takeout meal, visit with friends at a safe distance or simply rest while strolling our kilometre long main street.
COVID-19 has left in its wake a huge financial and emotional challenge for the restaurant and retail businesses in our downtown. We lost a number of businesses. The ones that were able to hang on are slowly coming back to life and we wanted to create a safe, welcoming space for our visitors, business owners, property owners and residents to feel some joy. To brighten up many of the spaces, we have engaged 4 talented local artists to paint stunning abstracts on the platforms of 3 of the 4 spaces.
What about accessibility?
We have ensured all parklets are not only accessible to wheelchairs, but also the pedestrian walkways around each patio encroachment. We wanted to make sure that we were meeting AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) requirements for 5 feet of clearance for pedestrian pathways. This allows easy access for wheelchairs, scooters, walkers and guide dogs.
From June 29 until July 28th Front St. from Bridge street to Victoria avenue will be restricted to one-way going southbound to assist in calming traffic. When heading out keep this in mind while planning your route!
Bikes & Skateboards
To keep everyone safe please leave the sidewalks for pedestrians. Bikes and skateboards are not allowed on the sidewalks at any time, and especially now that it’s patio season.
What about parking?
Currently parking is FREE! Time limitations are still valid so there is a 1-hour time limit on Front St. and a 2-hour time limit on Bridge St. There are just under 1,000 parking spaces located within a three block radius of the downtown core. These spaces include approximately 60 on-street spaces on Front Street (with land restrictions in place), with the balance of the spaces spread between 11 parking lots and streets in the downtown area.
We are challenging our visitors that are able-bodied to support the downtown by giving yourselves a bit of extra time to park in the municipal lots and walk into the downtown so that people with mobility challenges can take advantage of the on street parking. There is always room for you. It’s lovely weather for a short walk from the municipal lots. Disability parking spaces are still available as well as the majority of parking spaces on the main streets. For more information about parking availability click here.
Can I bring my pooch?
Yes, you can bring your pooch to our patios! As of January 2020 the Ontario government has reduced restrictions related to dogs being allowed in outdoor and certain indoor areas of food premises, such as patios and craft breweries. Click here for more information.