Bury wires to make Elgin St. work

Re: Elgin braces for road rebuild, Nov. 3

This article highlights the concerns of businesses on Elgin Street about its upcoming reconstruction, some resulting from its limited width, which cannot accommodate all the pedestrian, parking and cycling hopes that have been expressed. 

Fortunately, Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney is pursuing a potential resolution to this problem. She told those attending the Oct. 18 meeting of the Centretown Citizens Community Association that she is working on creating a public-private coalition that will propose a plan for burying the overhead wires and removing the poles along this main thoroughfare.

Doing so will necessitate that the street’s business leaders “put some skin in the game,” and it will require the city to make some budgetary adjustments (such as eliminating various “cosmetic” elements of the current Elgin Street provision, fancy light standards and “public” art come to mind) and perhaps to reallocate some money from unessential items and contingency funds elsewhere in the city’s present financial plan. But such initiatives will be well worthwhile.

Burying the wires and removing the poles along Elgin (as was done on the downtown portion of Bank Street) will provide several additional feet of width to the street, enabling the reconstruction to accommodate more of the needs that must be met if its redesign is to result in the advertised “complete street.”

Doing so will also produce a substantial and sustainable improvement in the street’s functionality and appearance, and we wish Coun. McKenney every success in achieving it.

Robin Farquhar