City set to unveil plans to transform Dundas Street

The final designs for Dundas Place, London’s first flex street, will be unveiled Wednesday at the Central Library.

London’s first flex street is designed to turn the downtown into a ‘real people place’

The final designs for Dundas Place — London's first flex street — will be unveiled Wednesday at the Central Library.

The city is set to spend $16 million to transform four blocks, from Ridout to Wellington streets, into a space to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Doug MacRae, manager of transportation and design for the city told CBC's London Morning Tuesday the plan is to turn Dundas Street into a "real people place."

MacRae said the flex street will allow Dundas to be open to traffic most of the time, but it will be designed so that it can be easily closed to host arts, culture and entertainment events.

A 'unique' street

He describes it as a unique environment. "It won't look like any other street in London."

Narrow lanes, no curbs, and a different type of paving will encourage drivers to slow down. "That'll make this space more comfortable for cyclists and the larger pedestrian areas will make for a much more comfortable walking environment." 

Key infrastructure along and underneath Dundas Street will be replaced as part of the project, including hydro, water mains, streetlights and traffic signals.

London Transit buses will no longer run along the flex portion of Dundas Street, but transit along Wellington, Richmond and Ridout streets will still allow people to easily access the area.

Coping with construction

MacRae said some 60 meetings have been held with business and property owners along Dundas Street to hear their aspirations for the project, as well as their concerns.

"Obviously, we recognize that the construction of the project will be impactful … we understand that concern." And to address it, the city plans to "limit construction to a block or two at a time, to shorten the closures."

Dundas Street will need to be closed to vehicle traffic while construction is underway, but MacRae said the sidewalks will always be open. "Access to all the businesses will always be available … throughout the construction phase."

The project is expected to take two years to complete.

The full set of designs for Dundas Place will be on display Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. on the main floor of the Central Library at 251 Dundas St..