Windsor

Urban planners will reinvent Riverside Drive for a day

Thousands of architects, planners and urban thinkers are meeting in Detroit this week to talk about the world's most pressing urban issues.
City of Windsor planner Thom Hunt will be participating in a conference on liveable cities in Detroit. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

Riverside Drive will become part of an urban planning experiment Saturday during an international conference held in Detroit and Windsor. 

The busy thoroughfare will undergo what's called a "road diet" as planners from around the globe shut down a portion of the busy thoroughfare to temporarily reconstruct traffic and pedestrian flow. 

Thom Hunt, executive director of planning and building services at the City of Windsor, is excited about the experiment. 

"We're demonstrating ways to better connect the downtown core with our beautiful riverfront," he said.

Stretches of Riverside Drive will be reduced from four lanes to two as part of an urban planning experiment. (Geoff Nixon/CBC)

A stretch of Riverside Drive will be reduced from four lanes down to two lanes between Ouellette Avenue and McDougall Street for the better portion of Saturday morning and early afternoon. 

"Narrowing the 4 lanes to two for a short stretch will make it nicer for pedestrians to move back and forth," Hunt said.

The city will shut down the road in that section for three hours starting at 5 a.m. Two lanes of traffic will continue until 2 p.m., at which time planners will shut it down again and restore it to four lanes.

New urbanism conference

Thousands of architects, planners and urban thinkers are meeting in Detroit this week to talk about the most pressing issues in cities around the world.

More than 1,500 delegates are in Detroit to attend the annual Congress for the New Urbanism.

While most of the events will take place on the American side of the river, a number of events are planned for Windsor, including a talk that compares the Walkerville and Ford City neighbourhoods.

Hunt will lead that discussion Thursday. He told CBC's Windsor Morning that even though the areas are separated by a single street, they experience two different sets of realities.

Walkerville is a thriving neighbourhood flush with vibrant commercial district, tree-lined streets and many restored character homes. Ford City, though going through its own revitalization, still struggles with blight, poverty and crime, he said.

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