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Development News

John Street gets pedestrian-friendly summer facelift

John Street’s pedestrian zone opened for the summer this week.
Planters and seating areas will take up a lane of traffic on the east side of John between Queen and Adelaide streets until October 19, allowing passersby and the neighbourhood resto-bar patrons to hang out more comfortably along the strip. The one big difference from last year’s pilot project is that the zone now stops short of the corners of Richmond and Queen.
“One observation we had last year was to make it easier for cars to make the turn,” says Janice Solomon, executive director of the Entertainment District BIA, which is operating the zone at a cost of about $80,000.
Two students from OCAD University will work art magic on two Muskoka chairs, which will eventually be available for sitting on, while a third student will make art on the street’s surface. Although the main goal is to make for a pleasant pedestrian passage, the BIA is open to the idea of hosting events in the space. “We’d welcome conversations with cultural organizations that are interested in doing something, but we wouldn’t want people to feel squeezed,” says Solomon.
The temporary zone also warms people up for the long-term plan for John Street as a cultural corridor linking institutions like the Art Gallery of Ontario, north of Grange Park, TIFF Bell Lightbox on King and the Rogers Centre south of Wellington. The street would eventually get widened sidewalks and boulevards, a gentler curb from the sidewalk to the street, more greenery and more public art. One of the reasons the summer closure covers the two blocks it does, says Solomon, is that the sidewalk is particularly narrow there.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Janice Solomon
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