City nixes Bronson widening

Bronson Avenue will not be widened under the new reconstruction plan because moving hydro installations would be too expensive and challenging, city staff said Jan. 26.

For Coun. Diane Holmes and community organizations this decision is bigger than hydro – it’s a step closer to making the street safer.

“If you have some common sense you can see that narrow lanes mean vehicles go slower,” said Holmes.  

In an email sent to Holmes Jan. 25, deputy city manager Nancy Schepers wrote that staff didn’t know the full affect of widening the road until recently.

Bronson Avenue is set to undergo major construction this year to lay new underground water and sewer lines. The original plan for reconstructing Bronson Avenue would have widened the road by 14 metres. After reviewing the project, staff realized that with an already “constrained corridor” and nearby buildings the current road width is “acceptable.”  

Holmes said city plans to widen the road were outdated and unsafe.

“There are engineering books and they say how wide lanes should be and that’s very old 1960s thinking,” said Holmes. “We don’t want Bronson to feels like a provincial highway.”

Schepers added in the email that city council’s previous decision to approve street parking on Bronson Avenue persuaded city staff to change its plan.

Under normal circumstances, city guidelines dictate that vehicles can’t park on streets of Bronson’s width.

For the community, today marks a victory in battle, but not the war.

Holmes said the next step is making two major intersections on Bronson Avenue, one at Gladstone Avenue and one at Somerset Street, safer.

“We have seen collisions. People talk about near misses. If you live west of Bronson and you want to go to the wading pool at McNabb Park or take a course at the community centre it’s pretty difficult to cross,” said Holmes.

City staff is expected to present a new design for Bronson at an open house next month.