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Coronavirus: Kingston, Ont. to close downtown streets to create more public space

The City of Kingston, Ont., has announced that it will be following the lead of a number of other cities in closing down streets to make room for social distancing as businesses reopen amid the coronavirus crisis.

According to a news release, over the next few weeks city staff will move forward with implementing a plan that will create more public space for pedestrians and businesses in the downtown core.

“Residents and businesses can expect to see a series of road and lane closures come into effect during the week of June 22. These closures will create opportunities for new, creative experiences aimed at rejuvenating the downtown over the next several months,” the release states.

READ MORE: ActiveTO turns several major Toronto streets to pedestrians and cyclists

“We’re living in unprecedented times where we must respond to existing challenges by being open to new ideas and innovative approaches,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson.

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“We are reimagining a few of our public spaces by opening up some downtown streets to pedestrians.”

“This will also allow businesses more room to operate with physical distancing and help residents to shop local in a safe way.”

Once implemented, the road and lane closures in the downtown area are expected to be in effect until the fall.

  • Brock Street will be fully closed from Ontario to Wellington. The King Street intersection will remain open for traffic traveling along King Street.
  • Clarence Street will see some existing on-street parking repurposed to accommodate a lane shift.
  • Market Street will be fully closed.
  • Princess Street will see the closure of all on-street parking spaces and a single travel lane from Ontario to Division streets. Cross-streets will remain fully open. Some on-street parking areas on these cross-streets will be changed to create short-term parking spaces for curbside pick-up and deliveries.
City of Kingston. City of Kingston

Parking spots located within the closed areas will be made available to businesses to expand their operations outdoors. This may include the placement of retail fixtures, patio furniture and space for customer lineups. Parking spots along cross-streets may also be used to accommodate outdoor space needs for businesses.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says reopening of economy will require ‘phasing out’ of certain government programs

City staff will also work with the downtown business association to identify weekends when sections of Princess Street could be fully closed while keeping cross-streets open. As well, city staff will be working with Downtown Kingston! and Tourism Kingston to explore opportunities to animate the re-imagined space by partnering with Kingston’s cultural community.

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