Reimagining Gaukel Street

When:
29 March 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2019-03-29T18:00:00-04:00
2019-03-29T20:00:00-04:00
Where:
Community Room at Bread & Roses
307 Queen Street South, Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

We will be meeting at:

Date: Friday, March 29, 2019 6:00 PM
Location: 307 Queen St. S (Bread and Roses Co-op, community room)

The co-op consists of two buildings. The meeting room is in the brick heritage building, right on the corner of Queen and Courtland (and not in the adjoining six-story apartment building). People can buzz 80 for the Community Room to be let in. It would be preferable if people parked off site, but anyone who needs parking can e-mail Scott Piatkowski (scott.piatkowski@gmail.com) for instructions.

Big thanks again to Scott for hosting.

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= Gaukel Greenway Proposal =

As the City of Kitchener develops a pedestrian-friendly, walkable city, we propose that Gaukel St. be transformed into the Gaukel Greenway, a people-focused space.

We envision this space to include:

* A separated cycle path
* Allowing cross-traffic of motor vehicles along King, Halls Lane, Charles, Joseph
* Planter boxes or bollards to prevent cars from turning onto Gaukel
* Designated areas for busking, performances, and public art
* Plenty of seating areas

Its welcoming benches, lighting, and vegetation create a relaxed park-like atmosphere, while also playing host to active urban street life.

The Gaukel Greenway supports the City of Kitchener’s priorities:

* Walkable spaces as per the Pedestrian Charter
* Additional community gathering spaces for festivals, events, and area residents
* Highlighting Gaukel Street’s “ceremonial link” between Victoria Park and City Hall as per the PARTS plan

== Active transportation ==

The Gaukel Greenway is a continuation of the City’s trail network, from the Iron Horse Trail, through Victoria Park, toward the Spur Line Trail. It contributes to Kitchener’s goal for a minimum grid of safe cycling routes, and promotes active transportation to help reach our target of 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. The Gaukel Greenway also provides a walkable environment to and around the Victoria Park ION station, encouraging residents to combine walking and cycling with public transportation.

== Economic & cultural benefits ==

As a growing number of residents and workers make downtown Kitchener their own, the Gaukel Greenway is a magnet for active street life, culture, and event programming.

The area welcomes many festivals throughout the year that have city-wide appeal. Thousands of visitors come to enjoy Bluesfest, Oktoberfest, the Christkindl Market, the Multicultural Festival, and more. As these events continue to grow, the Gaukel Greenway provides a new, welcoming place for performances, street activities, and vendors. Currently, Gaukel Street is used for bicycle lock-up and maintenance vehicles during some events. Instead of Gaukel Street being a “dead zone” during festivals, a Gaukel Greenway could provide a continuous vibrant corridor from Victoria Park all the way to King Street.

The City of Kitchener transformed Goudie’s Lane into an amazing pedestrian area at minimal cost.

== Traffic considerations ==

Existing motor traffic along King Street, Halls Lane, Charles Street, and Joseph Street should continue as-is. The Gaukel Greenway would not alter those vital transportation routes. Instead of turning onto Gaukel Street, vehicles would continue straight through to the next cross-street. Apart from Charles Terminal, there are only two small driveways that rely on Gaukel Street For access. They are located behind the Pizza Pizza, and behind the Public Utilities Building. Both of these small parking lots could be reconfigured to use Halls Lane as the access point.

Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa allows cross-traffic of motorized vehicles, controlled by bollards and traffic lights.

== Implementation ==

A portion of Gaukel Street (between Halls Lane and Charles Street) is currently closed to motor traffic, and is being used as a construction staging area for the Charlie West condo project. That portion of the road is expected to stay closed until December 2019. Once Gaukel Street is no longer needed for construction staging, we could immediately turn it into a pedestrian greenway between Charles Street and King Street. We could place planters at the intersections to prevent vehicle traffic from turning onto Gaukel Street. We could add picnic tables to encourage public use of the space. We have already seen the City of Kitchener use this “lighter, quicker, cheaper” approach with the transformation of Goudie’s Lane into a pedestrian-only area. Using pavement paint, planters, and picnic tables, we created a truly valuable pedestrian space quickly and at minimal cost.

We believe the same approach should be used to create the first phase of the Gaukel Greenway. The rest of Gaukel Street, from Charles to Joseph, would likely need to remain as-is until Charles Terminal is no longer being used by intercity buses (GO, Megabus, Greyhound). With the potential redevelopment of Charles Terminal and 44 Gaukel in the near future, the Gaukel Greenway can set a high bar for a lively, diverse urban neighbourhood.

This proposal is supported by:

* Sam Nabi
* Bob Jonkman
* Kimiko Shibata
* Melissa Bowman
* Matt Rodrigues
* Christian Snyder
* Brian Doucet
* Sean Campbell
* Julia Gogoleva

Media contact:

Sam Nabi
226-988-4137
sam@samnabi.com

About Bob Jonkman

Bob Jonkman is the Green Party of Canada candidate for Brantford-Brant. Follow @BobJonkmanGPC on Twitter.
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