MORRISBURG – Around 30 people got a first look at proposed changes to Morrisburg’s downtown during a public meeting Thursday night (Feb. 25).
The township held a two-hour open house at the South Dundas Municipal Center to show a laundry list of improvements including more sidewalks, crosswalks and other improvements.
It appeared that many people liked what they saw with a handful of public concerns and proposals addressed through Post-It notes stuck to the presentation boards.
The study focuses on an area from Augusta Street east to the Morrisburg Shopping Plaza and County Road 31 at the town limits, south to the municipal center.
The key areas are intersections at County Road 2 and County Road 31, County Road 2 and the plaza entrance and County Road 31 at the intersection of Bank Street and Fifth Street.
Some of the major proposals include:
- Installing crosswalks at County Road 31 and County Road 2 and parked crossings at Fifth and Ottawa Streets and Second and St. Lawrence Streets.
- A legally lighted crosswalk on County Road 2 at Cassell Road
- A dedicated heavy truck/RV parking area at the east end of the Morrisburg Plaza (as alternative to having trucks park on the shoulder of County Road 2)
- A new road with parallel parking, connecting Cassell Road with Van Allen Road (to give shoppers a place to access business on the north side of County Road 2 without crossing the highway)
- Sidewalks on both sides of County Road 2 in front of the Morrisburg Plaza.
- Eliminating angled parking at the plaza and adding accessible parking in front of the mall
“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” Grace McDonough, coordinator with the Morrisburg Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA), said after reviewing the plans.
“The challenge is always to balance pedestrians and vehicle traffic and we at the DBIA see the value in certainly getting both to our plaza safely and linking the north and south sides of Highway 2. It’s very difficult. You can’t park in the plaza and safely walk over to Home Hardware or safely walk over to Tim Hortons,” McDonough said.
She believes the changes would define the main street as a “business shopping area”. McDonough also liked the changes to the plaza parking, including accessible parking along the front of the strip mall.
The DBIA coordinator did note some challenges and believes it would take a great deal of signage, education and enforcement to get people to use a connecting road between Cassell Road and Van Allen Road to access businesses north of County Road 2.
“I would like to see more pedestrian crossings, islands in the middle with maybe some planters and a nice light pole and a place where we can put banners so people know once they’ve got to the McIntosh Inn…they’re in downtown Morrisburg. And the same thing coming the other way when they hit the Upper Canada Playhouse.”
Marilyn Salmon and Percy Salmon of Morrisburg told Brockville Newswatch the plan looks good and they only had one concern.
“I think the display was excellent…I don’t agree with them all but that’s alright. The one plan that bothered me is they’re going to take that parking for the big transports and put it in the little grassy area where campers and motorcyclist and the farmer’s market use in the summertime,” Marilyn said.
“Overall, a lot of the things that they’re showing in terms of the sidewalks that should be there, should have been there years ago but that’s history now. It looks good. I think they’re doing an excellent job on that,” Percy added.
“We’ve been talking for years about getting the pedestrian traffic (across County Road 2), being able to get across the road back and forth…more traffic lights so that’s what they’re showing us.”
Like the Salmons, McDonough was also concerned about the proposed heavy truck/RV parking, west of Pilot Way. “There’s some concern about losing that green space. It is important. It is underutilized right now,” McDonough said.
Public Works Manager Chris Bazinet said the comments from the public, the consultant and council will be collected, with a final report to council by the end of March.
As of this week, there has been no money allocated in the 2016 budget for what’s being proposed in the pedestrian traffic study.
The township paid $13,000 for MMM Group of Ottawa to do the study.