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Gaukel Street Pedestrian Promenade
#1
Kitchener resident proposes turning Gaukel Street into a pedestrian promenade
Quote:Sam Nabi was walking downtown on a recent Sunday, when he looked down Gaukel Street from city hall, and got an idea.

He could see the clock tower from the 1924 city hall three blocks away in Victoria Park. Gaukel was closed to traffic, as it will be for the rest of 2019, to allow construction of the Charlie West condo tower.

Why not permanently close the short street to traffic, and create a pedestrian- and bike-friendly connection between the downtown and the park, he thought.

He floated the idea in a tweet: "Closing Gaukel St. hasn't really affected downtown traffic as far as I can see," he wrote. "How great would it be to turn the entire street into a pedestrian promenade? It would link the park, the Victoria Park ION station, and City Hall."

"It seems to have stirred a lot of people's imagination," Nabi said of his idea. Conversations continued online, and soon a group of about a dozen supporters had put a more formal proposal they are circulating to city officials, the downtown business association and several other groups.

His "Gaukel Greenway" proposal soon attracted comments from about four dozen people, most in favour, including Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Coun. John Gazzola.

"I'm really loving this idea," Vrbanovic tweeted, adding that he would take the idea to city staff. Gazzola called it "a great idea."
https://www.therecord.com/news-story/919...promenade/
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#2
(02-28-2019, 09:30 AM)Spokes Wrote: Kitchener resident proposes turning Gaukel Street into a pedestrian promenade
Quote:Sam Nabi was walking downtown on a recent Sunday, when he looked down Gaukel Street from city hall, and got an idea.

He could see the clock tower from the 1924 city hall three blocks away in Victoria Park. Gaukel was closed to traffic, as it will be for the rest of 2019, to allow construction of the Charlie West condo tower.

Why not permanently close the short street to traffic, and create a pedestrian- and bike-friendly connection between the downtown and the park, he thought.

He floated the idea in a tweet: "Closing Gaukel St. hasn't really affected downtown traffic as far as I can see," he wrote. "How great would it be to turn the entire street into a pedestrian promenade? It would link the park, the Victoria Park ION station, and City Hall."

"It seems to have stirred a lot of people's imagination," Nabi said of his idea. Conversations continued online, and soon a group of about a dozen supporters had put a more formal proposal they are circulating to city officials, the downtown business association and several other groups.

His "Gaukel Greenway" proposal soon attracted comments from about four dozen people, most in favour, including Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Coun. John Gazzola.

"I'm really loving this idea," Vrbanovic tweeted, adding that he would take the idea to city staff. Gazzola called it "a great idea."
https://www.therecord.com/news-story/919...promenade/
It is a brilliant idea.  It is a road that isnt required now.  And when the Bus terminal shuts down, even less...

Lets hope it goes through....
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#3
Ya, you could phase it in. It's closed right now, so when construction doesn't need it closed, just don't open it. Then eventually, open it on the other side of Charles.
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#4
I seem to recall one or more users here musing about this in the past. It's a great idea; I hope it has legs. It would be a wonderful thing for downtown Kitchener.
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#5
(02-28-2019, 10:58 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I seem to recall one or more users here musing about this in the past. It's a great idea; I hope it has legs. It would be a wonderful thing for downtown Kitchener.

Its definitely gotten some discussion.  I think that it's crossed the Mayors desk and he's publicly stated he likes the idea automatically gives it some legs.  

The nice thing is that there isn't much as far as businesses that would complain
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#6
(02-28-2019, 10:16 AM)Spokes Wrote: Ya, you could phase it in.  It's closed right now, so when construction doesn't need it closed, just don't open it.  Then eventually, open it on the other side of Charles.

It should really be pedestrians only between Charles and Joseph, too. But for now we need bus access ...
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#7
This would be awesome! What a great alignment from City Hall/King Street to Victoria Park. As per the article, once the bus terminal moves you could have a complete pedestrian promenade to the park. One small road block that popped into my mind though is the new Charlie West development. Is the underground parking access for Charlies West not Hall's Lane (which is one way) and so in bound from Water and out bound from Gaukel? Maybe make Hall's Lane 2-way and have the access from Water only?
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#8
The article talks about keeping vehicular traffic on halls lane, but you're right, that would be an issue.
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#9
We talked about Hall's lane a bit in the conversation here about this idea (I can't find it though, I'm really bad at searching here). There's other parking that's only accessible from Hall's lane as well I think, between Gaukel and Ontario. But if cars have to enter Hall's from Water and exit from Ontario I don't think it would be terribly problematic. They would cross Guakel but there would be far less vehicle traffic than on Charles anyway.
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#10
(02-28-2019, 02:00 PM)robdrimmie Wrote: We talked about Hall's lane a bit in the conversation here about this idea (I can't find it though, I'm really bad at searching here). There's other parking that's only accessible from Hall's lane as well I think, between Gaukel and Ontario. But if cars have to enter Hall's from Water and exit from Ontario I don't think it would be terribly problematic. They would cross Guakel but there would be far less vehicle traffic than on Charles anyway.

Definitely having Hall’s Lane cross Gaukel is not a problem. Some might object to having no cross streets for Hall’s Lane between Water and Ontario, although I think it would be fine. If it’s considered a problem, however, Gaukel could always allow motor vehicle traffic between Charles and Hall’s Lane. There wouldn’t be much — really just access into the locations on Hall’s Lane. At any rate it’s not a reason to say no to the whole project.
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#11
(02-28-2019, 02:00 PM)robdrimmie Wrote: We talked about Hall's lane a bit in the conversation here about this idea (I can't find it though, I'm really bad at searching here). There's other parking that's only accessible from Hall's lane as well I think, between Gaukel and Ontario. But if cars have to enter Hall's from Water and exit from Ontario I don't think it would be terribly problematic. They would cross Guakel but there would be far less vehicle traffic than on Charles anyway.

Great point and agreed, based on the low volume of traffic on Hall's Lane it's reasonable to use Ontario as the exit street and just cross Gaukel.
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#12
I don't think crossing Gaukel is necessarily a terrible thing (though pedestrians ought to have the right of way), but it seems to me they could just as easily make Halls Lane two-way. Sure, you couldn't get two fire trucks through there at the same time but it's not unreasonably tight for a back lane.
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#13
I'm definitely not the first to propose a Gaukel Greenway, and I would hate for this to be branded as "my idea".

In fact there was a great discussion on this forum in the GRT thread: http://www.waterlooregionconnected.com/s...7#pid56067

Gaukel as a "ceremonial connection" between the Park and City Hall is enshrined in the PARTS planning documents. Also the new redesign of Zehr Square uses design elements that orient it toward the park. It seems we've been circling around the issue for years, but now I believe the timing is perfect to move quickly and get a light, quick, cheap implementation before the Charlie West construction finishes.

After the initial Twitter discussion, a group of about a dozen folks worked to put this proposal together: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zhg8UjW...sp=sharing

We're now planning our next in-person meeting to organize around the proposal. PM me if you're interested in helping out.

We are working on setting up meetings with City Staff, North Inc, Accelerator Centre / 44 Gaukel, Councillors, Downtown BIA, and the Mayor so far.
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#14
It may not be fully your idea, Sam, but your advocacy and drive on this is appreciated! You've been able to bring it fully into the public eye and show it's supported by Downtown residents and stakeholders beyond City Hall itself.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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#15
If anyone knows someone who lives at Heartwood Place (the small apartment beside North offices), I'd love to bring them into the discussion.
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