What should downtown Elmira look like? Woolwich Township staff have heard back about what residents are looking for, and the results are conflicting.
The Elmira urban design streetscape study revealed what survey respondents want when it comes to planning in the core.
“I think there’s a mixed message of different types of things people want,” said Deanne Friess, Woolwich’s director of development services. “Some people wanted more easy access and parking. Some people want easier walkability. Some people want easier bike access.”
The survey included the responses from almost 800 respondents.
- Advertisement -
“That’s a big, big number for a township of this size,” said Friess. “So people are interested. That’s what that tells us.”
According to the survey results, the top three priorities of the respondents are ease of driving through town, outdoor patios, and trees and other landscapes. Other issues in the survey included the possibility of a new town square, raising the height of some buildings, creating mixed use buildings with business and residential units, making the area more pedestrian friendly, adding more parks, dedicated cycling routes and horse and buggy parking.
Friess said there are some aspects of the revitalization that will be automatically integrated in the redesign including more accessibility, greenery and trees so the area is attractive through every season, as well as upgraded street furniture like garbage cans, benches and bike racks.
Truck traffic is an acknowledged issue.
“An absolute must is that we need to eventually get the truck traffic off of the road and onto the bypass route. That’s currently under review. We know it’s a long term process, but it’s one that that this plan will consider now so that we can plan for when those trucks will be gone,” she said.
The Planning Partnership, the firm that completed the study, is now working on drafting a final revitalization plan. This will include a short term streetscaping costing plan and a long term development plan which will guide the types of uses and allowable development of the area. Friess anticipates it will be sent to township staff in the next few weeks. Once it is reviewed, it will be released to the public.
Friess anticipates the town’s revitalization may be a bumpy ride because of the differences in opinion.
“Not everybody is going to be happy with every recommendation because there are those conflicts. Some people want to see it really geared towards pedestrians. Others want to see it really geared towards the ease of access and parking. So those are completely conflicting interests.”
The survey results are available via the ‘Ongoing Planning Items’ tab on the township’s website.