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City of Guelph

City of Guelph

Urban designers presented this reimagined view of St. George’s Square, featuring a traffic circle around a centralized public space, to members of the public at an open house on Tuesday evening.

Plans for St. George’s Square called ‘bit of a head-scratcher’

Downtown Guelph Business Association executive director Marty Williams is skeptical about a plan that would see St. George’s Square turned into a central piazza-like space with a traffic circle running around the outside.
The lack of a clear plan for how this passive space would be used outside of a few annual or seasonal events is one of the primary concerns, said Williams.
“If you take all the unused or underused space and pull it all together into one central space, what is it?” he asked. “People are nervous or worried that the plan is going forward without that question answered.”
The funding is not there, nor is the demand, to have continuous events and programming in the space, and he questioned whether the beauty of the space alone would be enough to attract people and keep it animated. “It’s a bit of a head scratcher,” he said.
He also questioned an assertion that pushing the road outward toward the buildings in the square would push more pedestrian traffic toward businesses.
Currently, people who use the square occupy the spaces that are closest to the street, he said.
“I don’t know that any of that will change,” he said.
Williams agreed the central square design might be better for events, but argued that it wouldn’t necessarily be more attractive the rest of the time.
Unlike Market Square, where the water feature brings people to the area almost year-round, the St. George’s Square design doesn’t include an attraction, Williams said.
“You really need to have a reason to go there that’s ongoing,” he said.

2 Responses to “Plans for St. George’s Square called ‘bit of a head-scratcher’”

  1. bmcmulle says:

    I think restoring transit to the square would be the best way to spend our money,it would put the 25,000 riders a day back at the square and restore customers to the businesses that have been hurt by the loss of transit..There are essential services downtown and people need transit to get there,right now we only have 30 percent of transit serving the square.
    We have all kinds of places in this city for the events farbridge wants,why not use them and put downtown back to a being a place where people can conduct business as it should be.
    This plan was voted in by council in April 2012,make no mistake,the city does not want your input but they are required to ask so they do and then ignore it just as they did with transit.
    If we are going to save downtown we must act quickly as it is perfectly clear the mayor is going through with her plan despite all the complaints about it.
    Please write a letter to the paper as council and the mayor don’t use any public input from city meetings(for big plans)they simply do what they want and the only way they will listen to the public is if letter after letter is printed in the paper so they can’t deny or downplay the concerns of citizens.Time for the mayor and council to own up to all the mistakes with transit,apologize and get realistic about a functioning downtown.

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  2. bmcmulle says:

    This plan is a waste of money and will not restore the lost business or peoples willingness or ability to get to the square.
    We need 100 percent of transit serving the square
    The city used to show movies movies at Exhibition park and we have a bandshell at Riverside,we should make use of those places for these events and with transit back at the square we have the potential for 25,000 riders a day to use downtown.

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