Planning for urban renewal on Davis Drive

Planning for Urban Renewal on Davis Drive

If you’ve driven along Newmarket’s Davis Drive recently, you’ve probably noticed the signs of impending construction work, including building demolitions and soil testing. These preliminary tasks are taking place to prepare the roadway before rapidway construction begins. The actual construction stage is the final step in what will have been a long process of planning for urban renewal and redesign along Davis Drive – a process that will transform this important street in some exciting ways.

Much of the planning for the Davis Drive rapidway is as concerned with urban design as it is with public transit improvements. So what do we mean by urban design and what are the issues on Davis Drive?

In general, urban design is about deliberately shaping neighbourhoods and cities using architecture, landscaping and city planning. It’s about arranging things such as buildings, public spaces, services and amenities, in a way that will provide a certain feel or character.

When we started to design the Davis Drive rapidway, we had a number of urban design objectives. It goes without saying that the rapidway needed to be both functional and attractive. As with all of the rapidways, Davis Drive will use a design sensibility that reminds people of how innovative, exciting and fun Viva is.  Every element we will be using along Davis Drive, from station features to the pavement, retaining walls, handrails, and lighting, will reflect and repeat a consistent, appealing look that speaks to what Viva is all about.

But more than that, in keeping with the principles of transit-oriented-development, we wanted to create new destinations along Davis Drive, making it even more welcoming and friendly for people. The idea is to make Davis Drive feel like an urban space, encouraging people to walk around and visit local shops and restaurants. And with increased visitors, new development is more likely to take place, resulting in even more destinations and potential visitors.

Our plans for Davis Drive include wider boulevards, with pleasantly planted areas, trees, street furniture and landscaping. High-quality pedestrian and street lighting will provide an attractive, welcoming environment at all times of day. These elements will be designed to a human scale, which will make people feel more comfortable walking around and enjoying the sights and activities.

Another design objective has been to forge a strong connection between the heritage flavour of Main Street and Davis Drive itself. Main Street has a lot of character, and we want to extend some of that charm out onto Davis Drive; we want to provide a cue to people as they travel along Davis Drive that they are entering the old-time heart of Newmarket. So around the intersection of Main and Davis, our rapidway design will include some elements to visually connect the rapidways to the heritage area, including the street furniture, lighting design and the bridge over the East Holland River. We hope that people will be intrigued by the change in visual tone, and will want to explore more of the heritage shopping areas along Main Street.

Of course, with construction ahead of us, the final product is a ways off. Even so, we’re really excited about the urban renewal that we are a part of on Davis Drive, and we can’t wait to get underway!

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One Response to “Planning for urban renewal on Davis Drive”

  1. Rumours around town are that funds ran out and the Davis Drive development project was called off. You can imagine the chatter around town about how Davis Drive now looks like Brantford’s main street with boarded up buidings and desolate parking lots.
    Things were looking pretty grim but now when I hear anyone talking about this I can refer them to this blog where it looks like the project is still a go. Thanks for the update.

    DaleA: Hi Lesley,

    Thanks for referring people to my blog!

    It’s true that the Davis Drive rapidway project is moving forward as planned and on schedule, and we’re really excited about this opportunity to create a welcoming and friendly urban space. As construction increases along Davis Drive I’ll be blogging about our progress, and anyone can sign up for email updates, be a Facebook friend, and follow us on Twitter.

    You’ll see a lot more activity in the coming weeks, with more buildings being removed and utilities starting to be relocated.

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