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Should new-look Front Street be three or four lanes?

DOMB favours four-lane option; final decision expected Jan. 29
2018-01-22 DOMB logo.jpg

Will Front Street be a four-lane "highway" or a pedestrian-friendly three-lane gateway to the downtown?

At council committee Monday night, Ron Spencer, the chair of the Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) told council that at a recent meeting of downtown merchants, most were in favour of a four-lane Front Street that would better direct traffic downtown. 

City staff have recommended, as part of the Centennial Drive Area Improvements project – a $17-million project to rebuild the antiquated infrastructure at the waterfront and redevelop that area – a three-lane road with a shared, middle left-turn lane.

“While the BIA appreciates that the three-lane option allows for greater streetscaping, the traffic congestion created will far outweigh the benefits,” wrote Lisa Thomson-Roop, the manager of the DOMB in a letter to council. “Streetscaping and a sense of arrival could be achieved through smaller plantings surrounding light standards and aesthetically pleasing sidewalks. Flora and trees could be included in future private developments fronting Front Street, making both the streetscape (and) the developments more appealing.”

Council received the report from the DOMB, but only Coun. Ralph Cipolla spoke in favour of the four-lane option. Council will make its decision on this matter next Monday night. 

Check back here for more on this issue tomorrow morning.