Thanks for the update Sam.
Kudos to all the work being done on this - such a challenge to
reclaim street space for socializing at a time when people are being asked
to social distance!
Regarding the space itself (as well as the other sections of streets being
closed off as pedestrian zones), I have a suggestion that I am hoping
someone with more political sway/clout could take forward. :) I'll first
provide some background to my suggestion:
When the city closes roads for special events (to create pedestrian zones)
the signs used to promote the events to oncoming motorists, cyclists and
pedestrians are orange road-closed construction signs and barricades. These
construction signs and barricades are meant to instill a sense of CAUTION
and/or DANGER, i.e. you are about to enter a construction zone. This is the
exact OPPOSITE type of message and first impression people should have when
approaching/entering a downtown event. Additionally, these signs and
barricades are often dirty, weathered and held up by sand bags. (Often, but
not always, there is also a small sign accompanying the road closed
construction sign saying that there is a special event.) These
dirty dilapidated construction signs and barricades create a NEGATIVE first
impression (marketing 101: those first couple of seconds of first
(Incidentally, I recall a number of years ago approaching downtown, in a
car, on King St and there was an orange road-closed construction sign and
barricade across King St at the intersection of Water St. I thought to
myself, "Oh no, not another fire" and detoured around King on to Charles
St. I found out the next day that the road was closed for a special
event! It made me wonder how many other people detoured around downtown
that day with no idea that the road was closed for a special event, and not
for construction and/or a fire.)
So, my simple suggestion (that I am hoping someone could run with :)) is
that the City invest a few thousand dollars in aesthetically-pleasing (and
clean) as well as dedicated SPECIAL EVENT SIGNAGE that will a) foster
feelings of being welcomed (unlike the current dilapidated construction
signs and barricades), and b) foster a sense of intrigue to people
approaching, while at the same time being clear to motorists that it is a
pedestrian zone. As an example, I remember being in Quebec City a few years
ago and there happened to be a festival taking place. The
City had aesthetically-pleasing waist-high fencing across the streets with
flower-pots hanging off them and signage indicating that it was a
pedestrian zone. It was welcoming, inviting and pleasing to look at. I have
seen similar road closures for special events in other cities.
It might also be very helpful for the city to invest in places to put in
bollards to block off streets to vehicular traffic as well as roll-out
murals to place on the asphalt to make the road surface itself look more
inviting, welcoming and intriguing (asphalt is so uninspiring!).
Thanks in advance for your interest in this.
On Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 10:44 AM Sam Nabi <sam@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I'm sorry everyone, the event is actually TOMORROW at 11:30. Here is the
Downtown Kitchener streets will be transformed into pedestrian-friendly
KITCHENER - Join Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, members of Kitchener City
Council, and members of the Downtown Kitchener BIA to celebrate the
conversion of Gaukel and Ontario Streets into open-air patio. As well as
the closure of King Street between Water and Francis Streets beginning
Thursday, July 30 to allow for expanded restaurant patios and physical
Members of the City’s Economic Development and Transportation teams will
be on hand to answer questions about the new space on Gaukel Street,
followed by an opportunity for photos and interviews on Ontario Street,
highlighting the new picnic benches, string lighting and other elements
that have been added to the street to create a welcoming atmosphere. The
will also be able to speak to the planned closure of King Street between
Water and Francis Streets beginning Thursday, July 30.
*What:* Conversion of Gaukel, Ontario and King Streets
*When:* Friday, July 24
*Time:* 11:30 a.m.
*Where:* The tour begins at the corner of Charles and Gaukel. Photos
ops and video interviews will be offered on Ontario Street between Hall’s
Lane and King Street.
*Who: *Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, members of the Kitchener City
Council, the Downtown Kitchener BIA, and members of the City’s
Transportation and Economic Development teams.
On Jul 23, 2020, at 10:01, Sam Nabi <sam@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Hi everyone, I've just heard from City staff that the media availability
will be on Gaukel St. today at 11:30am, not this evening.
I'll still come over at 7:30 as well, if you're able to stroll by at
either of these times.
See you around!
On Jul 23, 2020, at 09:29, Sam Nabi <sam@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
There isn’t an event link because we are not organizing a formal event.
Due to COVID we don’t want to encourage large gatherings.
I invite you out to experience it tonight, there won’t be any official
programMing, just an opportunity to enjoy the street together :)
On Jul 22, 2020, at 10:07 PM, Dave Steffler <dgsteffler@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Is there a web link of any kind promoting tomorrow evening's event?
On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 12:44 PM Sam Nabi <sam@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I want to thank you all so much for your advocacy and enthusiasm over the
last year and a half. Seeing a pedestrian-first Gaukel Street go from idea
to reality has been such a thrilling experience for me.
Tomorrow evening (Thursday), there will be a grand opening at 7:30pm.
Let’s all come out, keep our distance, and make some noise for the evening
news cameras :)
Please bring sidewalk chalk if you have it — it will be great to draw
some art on the street to celebrate a walkable Gaukel!
My deepest thanks goes out to everyone who came out to the original
meeting at Bread and Roses, the pop-up park last September, and the council
meetings to make this a reality. All along, city staff and our city council
has been incredibly supportive.
Here’s a couple photos of Gaukel as the city was putting in furniture
See you tomorrow at 7:30pm!