Midtown neighbours walk to take part in PARTS!

Never doubt the effectiveness of good old fashioned neighbour-to-neighbour engagement! Just three weeks ago, a group of midtown neighbours offered to host a Sunday afternoon, Jane’s Walk style walk in an effort to:

  1. inform their neighbours about the PARTS planning process happening in our midtown neighbourhood
  2. help people understand the different scenarios presented at this stage in the planning process
  3. encourage neighbours to contribute their much needed input and feedback

PARTS (Planning Around Rapid Transit Stations) is a comprehensive (and complex) process and we wanted a chance for people to learn more from each other and share discussions with neighbours.

Neighbourhood walk to learn about Midtown PARTS planning process
A good email list, flyers in mailboxes and posters on hydro poles brought out 30 Midtown neighbours on Sunday October 23 to learn more about the Midtown PARTS planning process initiated by the City of Kitchener. The posters and flyers targeted homes on the streets directly within the planning boundaries. For many people on the walk, this was the first time they were hearing about PARTS.

The walk leaders – Trent Bauman, Dawn Parker, Bill Bulmer and Ted Parkinson – were not there to tell people which scenario they thought was best, but to help people understand the different options being proposed and put the whole PARTS thing in a bigger planning context. Since, our city is going to grow tremendously over the next 10 years, development and neighbourhoods are going to change as a result. This means intensification in areas where there is room to grow UP, rather then OUT. The PARTS planning processes will look at:

  • possible spaces and land in our neighbourhood that can be used in different and creative ways
  • how and where zoning could be changed to encourage intensification
  • the type of development (density & building types) that will help this area of the city grow, while also maintain a vibrant and dynamic urban neighbourhood that already exists
Midtown PARTS maps
Big maps on a windy day… not a good mix!

If you are learning about PARTS for the very first time… start here! Get yourself a big cup of coffee because there is a lot to digest!

Neighbourhood dogs are always up for a good walk!
Neighbourhood dogs are always up for a good walk!

With so many maps and legends in the workbook and the display panels, this feels a bit like a high school geography class. Make Bill Bulmer proud – he’s a geography teacher at KCI! And this is your assignment… which is due Friday October 28, 2016.

When you contribute your valuable feedback in any, or all of these ways, you will receive future updates and notices from City staff about about next steps and public meetings.

Not sure what kind of feedback to give?

Remember that you are not being asked to pick just one of the scenarios – this is not an either/or decision. Rather, think about what kind of neighbourhood you envision 10 years from now. What elements and components of the different scenarios do you feel will contribute to that neighbourhood vision. Are there elements that you think would hinder the neighbourhood? How do you see you and your family getting around the neighbourhood? What concerns or benefits do you see for someone 8 years old, or 88 years old?

Intersection of Park & Glasgow Street, Kitchener
Intersection of Park & Glasgow Street
We brought the one-dimensional maps to life by walking to some of the streets and intersections that could see changes as a result of the PARTS process.

 

AirBoss factory, Glasgow Street
AirBoss factory, Glasgow Street
The potential for redevelopment and intensification is significant – there are a lot os surface parking lots in the neighbourhood – almost like a blank slate!
Here the group discussed the uniqueness of the neighbourhood where industry and residential coincide – and people like that there are a variety of employment options directly in the neighbourhood.

 

AirBoss Factory, Glasgow Street
AirBoss Factory, Glasgow Street

 

Glasgow Parking lot behind Airboss plant
That’s a lot of parking lot! Have fun dreaming what it could become….

A few things to keep in mind….

  • the PARTS process began in May 2016 and the City uses multiple methods (newspaper, social media, neighbourhood associations, etc) to notify people about the initiative
  • the implementation of the PARTS process is a long term effort. These changes won’t happen overnight.
  • keep the conversation going – forward this article to your neighbours or talk to them about contributing their feedback
  • this is not the end – City staff will take in all the feedback, incorporate it into a preliminary preferred scenario & host another public feedback session. Eventually a final proposal will go to City Council for approval in mid-2017. Click here for a more detailed outline of next steps and timelines.

Thank you so much for going on a walk together today! I’m sure there were other things you could have done with your Sunday afternoon. This was not just a 75 minute exercise in planning education. This was a great chance to get acquainted with neighbours who have never met before and find ways for people to be more connected to neighbourhood communications channels.

Most importantly, like any good Jane’s Walk, we demonstrated that neighbourhood residents can learn together, get engaged in new ideas and spur each other to action. We are the best motivators for our neighbours – take a moment this week to share this information and encourage them to give their input.

 

EDITED: Monday October 24, 2016

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3 thoughts on “Midtown neighbours walk to take part in PARTS!

  1. It was great to see so many people and so many people passionate a out their neighborhood. I encourage everyone to give feedback. Even if you are daunted by the entire feedback form just fill out part of it.
    Your opinion does count but only if you share it with the City.

    Like

  2. Thanks to Trent, Ted, Dawn and Bill. I had looked at the info online, but it was taking too much effort to wade through it. The walk and talk made it much clearer and more real. Well done.

    Like

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