The Woolwich Observer

Strong response to Elmira urban design survey

Some 800 respondent­s give Woolwich a lot to focus on in downtown Elmira

- Leah Gerber


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.

“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, www.

 ?? Leah Gerber ?? The township received a great deal of input in seeking ideas for the Elmira core.
Leah Gerber The township received a great deal of input in seeking ideas for the Elmira core.

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