The City of Nanaimo is contemplating removing all of Commercial Street’s curbs and making the space more versatile with what they call ‘flex zones.’ (City of Nanaimo image)

The City of Nanaimo is contemplating removing all of Commercial Street’s curbs and making the space more versatile with what they call ‘flex zones.’ (City of Nanaimo image)

City of Nanaimo looking at eliminating all of Commercial Street’s curbs

Concepts show ideas for more flexible use of space in downtown core

The city envisions a Commercial Street without curbs.

The City of Nanaimo is in the midst of public engagement around concepts for the entire length of Commercial Street from Victoria Crescent to Front Street.

The plan includes a lot of elements, including intersection realignments, redevelopment of Diana Krall Plaza and even potential re-positioning of the Dallas Square cenotaph. Another noteworthy design element in the concepts is the removal of all Commercial Street’s curbs – the street, the sidewalks and the “flex zones” in between would all be at the same level.

“There’s no curbs as you’d normally have on a road…” said Bill Corsan, the city’s director of corporate and business development. “Normally we would define a sidewalk and we would define a road and we’d have painted in parking lines.”

But the proposed flex zones, two metres wide, would be intended to add versatility in a part of town that regularly includes outdoor restaurant seating and market stalls.

“It allows this flexibility of the space…” Corsan said. “One week you might say, this area’s going to be used for parking, and the next week there’s some larger events in town and restaurants will be able to expand their patios. It probably works much better from a seasonal perspective.”

The street surface is undetermined and still in the concept stage, but Corsan said there is a possibility of using stamped concrete for the streets and a smoother surface for the sidewalks.

He said the amount of parking would be unchanged, or if anything, would be increased.

Concepts for Diana Krall Plaza, as previously presented, would include more seating and a stage and re-located public washrooms. At Dallas Square, a concept drawing shows the cenotaph moved to a corner of the square to better accommodate Remembrance Day ceremonies, but Corsan said there will be consultation with the Royal Canadian Legion before any decision is made.

He said generally, city staff is “really interested” in what the consultant has brought to the table with Commercial Street re-design concepts.

“They did a really good job of reaching out to the business community in the downtown core and the people who use downtown,” Corsan said.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog, in a press release, thanked citizens for sharing ideas during the engagement process.

“Council and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and implementing some of these fantastic ideas soon,” he said.

The same team of city staff members has been working on the Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue ‘Hub’ projects, and Corsan said work on the Hub has been purposely delayed to wait for decisions around Commercial Street and ensure the projects fit together. The city also anticipates a development application coming forward soon for the old A&B Sound building, now being referred to as One Commercial.

“We made sure that this design for Commercial Street works for whatever elements they come up with [in the Hub]…” said Corsan. “We wanted to get all of Commercial Street figured out and then once Commercial Street was figured out, then we could confirm how the former Jean Burns site would fit into it and how transit may or may not fit into that.”

For more information, visit www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca/designcommercial.

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo hears redevelopment ideas for Diana Krall Plaza

READ ALSO: Nanaimo city councillors hear opposition to bus exchange plans at downtown ‘Hub’ properties



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A concept of potential re-design of Commercial Street in downtown Nanaimo. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept of potential re-design of Commercial Street in downtown Nanaimo. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept drawing of possible re-development of Diana Krall Plaza. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept drawing of possible re-development of Diana Krall Plaza. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept drawing of possible re-development of Dallas Square. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept drawing of possible re-development of Dallas Square. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept drawing of possible intersection realignment at Victoria Crescent, Albert Street, Wallace Street, Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue. (City of Nanaimo image)

A concept drawing of possible intersection realignment at Victoria Crescent, Albert Street, Wallace Street, Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue. (City of Nanaimo image)