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Downtown Orillia Streetscape Improvement Plan

 

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The purpose of the Downtown Orillia Streetscape Improvement Concept Plan is to: 

  • Create a streetscape improvement plan that will inform future detailed engineering design and reconstruction projects for the City's main historic streets and to create connectivity between Mississaga Street East and the waterfront which is located at the easterly limits of Mississaga Street. The enhanced connectivity will facilitate two-way multi-modal traffic to and from the waterfront which is currently hindered by the intervening Front Street North and the uninviting Mississaga Street / Front Street intersection.
  • Enhance the tourism attraction ability of the City’s core, and to stimulate new economic opportunities and employment. A well designed, accessible streetscape will further define the City’s core as a destination environment and will contribute to a vibrant business community.
  • Demonstrate the City’s commitment to the enhancement of the public realm. This substantial public investment will result in a revitalized streetscape that is anticipated to facilitate private sector investment within the downtown area.
  • Create an aesthetically pleasing, multi-functional and multi-modal vision for Mississaga Street and key cross streets that will be implemented through streetscape and public space improvements.
  • Incorporate ideas and priorities of the Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) and other identified stakeholders into not only the design elements of the Orillia Streetscape Improvement Concept Plan (DOSICP), but also into a phased implementation plan that can be used to strategically implement the vision of the plan while mitigating disruption to the businesses, residents and visitors of the downtown. 

 

 Background Information

 On June 3, 2013, City of Orillia Council adopted in principle, a Study entitled “Downtown Tomorrow, Linking Orillia’s Core to the Water”, now known as the Downtown Tomorrow Plan (DTP). Its primary objective is to revitalize the City’s downtown and its adjacent waterfront.

 

 Section 5 of the DTP identifies seven Goals which are to be achieved by pursuing 33 Strategic Initiatives over the next 20 years. Goal number five (5) is to “Improve Connectivity and Streetscapes”. The DTP notes that:

“…the streetscapes of the primary east-west streets through the historic core need improvement to beautify Downtown and encourage streetlife. The excellent waterfront trail system is a well-used part of the Downtown mobility network. More clearly defined and safer connections through the core, particularly for cyclists, will improve access to the waterfront trail as well as destinations throughout Downtown.” (DTP page 73)

 

Strategic Initiative #18 of the DTP includes the Upgrade and Enhancement of Mississaga Street East.

“Mississaga Street has a distinct and generally attractive main street character. The streetscape, however, is showing its age and there is the potential to narrow the roadway and widen the boulevards, at the same time refreshing the paving treatments, maintaining on-street parking and preserving healthy trees. There are also opportunities at corners and where there are gaps in the streetwall to add pedestrian amenities, such as benches, planters and signage, as well as improved signage to parking.”

 

Key improvements to Mississaga Street’s public realm should include:

  • Maintaining a distinctive paving treatment along the length of the street, creating a similar effect to that of the existing interlocking stones.
  • Delineating a ‘shared-use zone’, where on certain days parking spaces could transition into spill out spaces and terraces to support restaurants and cafes. The occasional transformation of Mississaga Street into a pedestrian-only zone should also be continued for major Downtown events.
  • Renewed landscaping, lighting and coordinated street furniture the length of the street. (DTP page 74)

The DTP provides an illustration of a potential new cross-section for Mississaga Street and should be reviewed as part of the Background Materials Review.

 

 Public Consultation

The Downtown Orillia Streetscape Improvement Plan (DOSIP) Project officially began on July 11, 2018, with an inaugural meeting between the Stantec consulting team and the internal project team.  An extensive media campaign was launched which included a project website, media releases, and a social media campaign which provided information on the project initiative and the upcoming information sessions.  On August 1, the consulting team held five (5) Key Stakeholder Meetings which consisted of small group sessions designed to encourage focused discussion. Participants included members of Council, Senior City Staff, members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee, Active Transportation Committee, and the Downtown Orillia Management Board.

 

On the evening of August 1, a Public Information Session and Workshop was held at the Orillia City Centre which provided an opportunity for members of the public to participate in a visioning and brainstorming exercise.  The Public Information Session and Workshop attracted approximately 75 participants representing a wide range of backgrounds and interests including business owners, property owners, developers, residents etc.  The consulting team also attended the Waterfront Festival held August 10-12, 2018, and the Annual Downtown Orillia Classic Car Show held August 18, 2018.

 

Currently concluding Phase “2” of the DOSIP work plan, the consulting team has undertaken an inventory and analysis of the project area, has conducted interviews and has held a public engagement and workshop session in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the existing Mississaga Street streetscape.  A preliminary vision statement has been developed further to the public visioning and preliminary design workshop/charrette held on August 1st.  These sessions provided valuable insight into the priorities and ideas of the public that will contribute to the final vision statement and the development of conceptual drawings that will illustrate how that vision may be implemented. 

 

Existing conditions data has been collected through field observation and inventory in order to establish a sense of the current state of the streetscape.  Data has been collected through photography and observing the streetscape from various vantage points and under different conditions.  The collection and analysis of this information has informed the first draft Existing Conditions Report (Schedule “A”).  Phase “2” will conclude with an evaluation of the physical elements and characteristics of Mississaga Street; the identification of significant features and assets, an analysis of all modes and movement of vehicles and people and the establishment of a critical path to achieve the vision.

 

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 Reports and Documents

Draft Existing Conditions Report-10.25 EC Report to Council (Stantec)

 Current Status

Moving forward, the consultant team, in collaboration with their team of technical advisors, will generate a concept(s) that incorporates the ideas of the community, and the priorities of the City, with strategic design and placemaking.  Phase 3 will include the formulation of a draft Streetscape Plan that will be presented to the public at a second community and stakeholder Public Information Session which is to be held in December 2018.  The participants will be encouraged to review and provide comment on the draft design.  The draft DOSIP and all supplementary information will also be available on the project’s web page and with opportunity to provide comment on line.  The consulting team will incorporate the feedback received into a revised draft for presentation to Council.  The draft DOSIP will focus on the following priorities:

The Character of the Main Streets;

  • Streetscape Users;

  • Linkages;

  • Social Spaces;

  • Coordination of Elements;

  • Quality Design;

  • Environmental Sustainability;

  • Engineering and Design Standards;

  • Maintenance; and,

  • Safety.

The Final Draft Plan will illustrate, report, detail and discuss the concept and rationale.  This will include conceptual plan drawings of the streetscape (Master Plan, cross sections, details, illustrative renderings, and place-making concepts) and a report detailing recommendations regarding parking, circulation, seasonal considerations, public spaces etc.  The Final Draft Plan will be presented to Council Committee for comment and consideration and comments will be incorporated into the Final DOSIP.

 News and Updates
The Stantec consulting team met with City staff on October 23, 2018 to discuss their conceptual vision for the DOSIP project area.  As a result of the existing conditions inventory and feedback received through the public consultation exercises, particular emphasis will be placed on the following themes moving forward: Laneways within the downtown area; Flex Streets; Special Paving Treatments; Greening and Vegetation which will complement the downtown’s existing trees; Lighting; Low (Environmental) Impact Design Techniques; and, Art, Culture and Entertainment.

 

 In the News
 Stay tuned for news and events related to this project! 

 

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© City of Orillia, 50 Andrew Street South, Suite 300, Orillia, Ontario, L3V 7T5, Tel: (705) 325-1311, Fax: (705) 325-5178, Email: help@orillia.ca

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