That's a great point, Dave.
For Gaukel St., the City created a large custom poster that invites people into
the space and helps to hide the bright orange barriers a bit. It's been good to
see how the city has involved their marketing department to make things a
little more approachable.
Now that Gaukel, Ontario, and King will be closed to cars for the summer, I
think it makes sense to create better urban design elements that can be
repositioned and reused. (I would guess the cost is more in the tens of
For Gaukel, the plan is to install nicer, more permanent, colourful flex posts
at both ends of the block. This would happen next year.
On Jul 23, 2020, at 13:00, Dave Steffler <dgsteffler@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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
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 impressions
(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 the
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
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 distancing.
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
Who: Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, members of the Kitchener City Council, the
Downtown Kitchener BIA, and members of the City’s Transportation and Economic
On Jul 23, 2020, at 10:01, Sam Nabi <sam@xxxxxxxxxxx
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
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
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
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!