The City of Guelph is proceeding with plans to reconstruct a portion of a road in the middle of downtown.

A section of Wyndham Street between Carden Street to the south and Woolwich Street to the north will be closed to do work on water and sewer pipe replacement.

Environmental assessment for the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, with work expected to begin in 2026.

Once the work on the infrastructure is complete, the road will be repaved. But much of the discussion at Tuesday’s Council meeting was focused on how that road will be divvied up once it reopens.

Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Wyndham and Quebec streets (St. George’s Square) was originally considered. But staff rejected that idea and will instead keep the intersection as it is.

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Council agreed to a recommendation to make Wyndham Street a two-lane road, one in each direction, with parallel parking and separate unidirectional bike lanes along the sides of the road.

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“Active transportation, bicycle lanes, with some parking, and of course, transit and vehicular traffic, but also a lot of flexibility in the complete design,” said mayor Cam Guthrie. “You know when events are happening, maybe it’s easier to close off the streets for pedestrians only.”

Guthrie also suggested the work will result in more green space and public space along that stretch.

“The future discussions will be at the micro-level of determining what it will look and feel like as someone who is a pedestrian, someone who is a cyclist, someone who uses transit, and yes, someone that is going to be using their own vehicle to get through the core.”

Lost in the discussion of how many lanes to set aside is how the construction will affect area businesses and how will people be able to get around the downtown.

“You’re going to have residents that will be concerned,” said CAO Scott Stewart to council. “‘Will there be construction in the evenings?’ I think that is equally important to the discussion. Or from a merchants’ perspective, ‘The street will be closed, how will people get to me and how will my business survive?’”

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Guthrie said he along with council and staff will be asking merchants about marketing strategies, keeping one lane of traffic open during construction, and making other arrangements.

“Those are the type of questions that we are going to asking downtown businesses and we want to get feedback from them.”

Further discussion and public consultation about the reconstruction is expected in 2025.


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