On May 8th, City of Victoria staff held an open meeting with Downtown residents and the DRA Land Use Committee (LUC). The meeting was held to review the project timeline, an overview of Council-approved design principles for public realm, a discussion about public realm elements requiring input, an overview of a City-hosted public workshop planned for early, and next steps for the design of the Bridge approaches.
The public realm elements and workshop ideas that were brought up for discussion were:
Pedestrian and cyclist travel paths
View corridor in relationship to grade
Plaza space and use
Public transit stops
S-Curve Lands Public Space
Change in current JSB layout due to development of Northern Junk property site
Workshop should focus on what the public sees as priorities and use tools like “dot-mocracy” for citizen engagement
Workshop should have drawings clearly labelled
Notes from City of Victoria Staff:
Budget for the public realm. Is the budget set? If other aspects of the project are over budget will funds be taken away from the public realm budget? Staff acknowledged that was a very good point and an important one to address. They confirmed that currently there is a set budget for the public realm and landscaping.
Identifying priorities: one suggestion for the workshop format was to have a tool such as “dot-mocracy” where citizens can place dots on topics / elements and identify which items are most important to them. It was further discussed that the format should also offer a more “roll-up-your-sleeves” type approach for those who wanted to spend more time on specific topics. Providing opportunities for both levels of engagement should be considered as part of the workshop design.
Connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians was identified as something the group would like a better understanding of. Given the high traffic of pedestrians and cyclists that use the area, a visual map that better illustrates how people will move in the area would be helpful to better understand the future plan.
Harbour Pathway connection. Where are you going when you are under the bridge on the east side? Developments on either sides of the bridge were discussed as being important pieces for the development of the harbour pathway. Challenges regarding the grades on both sides were discussed.
A question was raised about the ability to walk through the wheels under the bridge. Mike Lai clarified that you could still walk through the wheels, just not that the times when the bridge was raised.
Maps that better illustrate private and public lands and future developments were identified as something that would be helpful to better understand the area.
Clear labels for areas such as the hotel access road and potential bus stops would be helpful to identify on the maps.
Road alignments and plaza space. Questions were raised regarding the alignment on the east side and whether the centre green space was identified for plaza space. The need to maximize plaza space was identified and comments were made about whether the road alignments could be move in order to maximize the space available. Questions were raised regarding how useful or accessible a plaza space would be if it was in the middle of traffic lanes. Staff acknowledge the desire the maximize plaza space but noted that the road alignments could not be shifted. Improved maps that offer a better (wider) illustration of the area and connecting roads will be prepared for the workshop to provide better clarity.
Visit the official Johnson Street Bridge website for everything JSB.