As you may be aware our cities and municipalities will change significantly in the coming years to support all the new residents imigrating to Canada. Cities and municipalities have growth targets to achieve, the first being by 2031.
Many of our municipalities and cities are undergoing studies to determine how best to add these residences to there neighborhoods. The foundations for what our urban landscapes will look like the next 100 years is being decided right now!
What’s going on in Central Oshawa
The City of Oshawa has hired Parsons Corporation to determine the best land use plan for Central Oshawa. Once the study concludes, the land within the study area will be up zoned so that builders and developers can come in and build higher density without asking the city and the community to allow this increased density in the area.
This has implications on development timelines and ease of approvals, which allows things to be built much faster!
What are the changes we are going to see in our City
As discussed in our last newsletter, urban planners design spaces significantly differently than before. The idea of complete communities where residents have many forms of transportation to choose from with most of everything they need is within walking distance from their home reigns supreme.
In Central Oshawa, this is no different, the changes they want to enact are
- Increase the viability of more modes of transportation
- Increase business activity in the area with mixed-use buildings throughout
- Most areas have a minimum density of 150-300 ppl/HA (roughly 4-story buildings)
Increased viability of more modes of Transportation
Above is a rendering of a community Parsons designed, and this is the style that will be coming to our community here in Oshawa.
How are we going to achieve this?
The first area they will likely look at is reducing the width of streets. Lane widths are actually different depending on the type of street you are driving on. The intention is the narrower the street, slower people drive. As with most things, engineers designed roads in North America to be safe above the intended speed of use. Since most people drive at a speed they feel comfortable and not necessarily what the posted speed limit, engineers unintentionally designed streets for speeding. Considering you are five times more likely to die in an accident if you are going 50km/h vs 35km/h, this practice from the engineering community has resulted in thousands of peoples deaths.
As we want complete communities, people walking and using bikes need the feeling of safety. Gaining popularity is re painting streets with narrower lanes and using the excess space to create low cost biking lanes or on street parking. We are still seeing road widenings taken from developments, often 3-5 meters from the front of the property. However, likely the space won’t be developed for future vehicle lanes. Reduced speeds in higher density areas are encouraged for safety and designed into the system. Below are the three options that are in consideration for the traffic flow in Central Oshawa
The colours indicate level of service (LOS) which is the system traffic planners use to determine vehicle flow through transportation networks. The best practice now is to have reduced LOS where higher density is found and walkability is highest to reduce the risk of accidents and injury.
The space claimed from new developments will likely be used for bike lanes, landscaped medians and public transit systems.
Increase business activity with mixed use buildings
To have complete communities, you need to have all of your basic amenities close enough to your home that you do not require a vehicle to reach them. Bringing in mixed-use buildings within the community by rezoning allows this to occur.
We will likely also see the elimination of most one-way streets in Central Oshawa and a significant amount of on-street parking. One-way streets increase speed of traffic and decrease the visibility of businesses found on them. Some cities that introduced one-way streets saw their on-street business activity decrease by as much as two-thirds. The reversion of one-way streets to two-way streets was discussed in the most recent meeting for central oshawa.
On-street parking will likely be common as this allows drivers to stop and visit businesses. It also protects pedestrians from traffic, increasing safety on the sidewalk and encouraging its use.
Most areas having a minimum density of 150-300 ppl/Ha
Below are the three current land use maps in consideration for Central Oshawa. At the bottom left of the images you can see the density targets for each colour. These will be significant increases from what is currently in central Oshawa, adding an additional 45-51 thousand residents to the area. The opportunity we will bring in developers to take advantage.