Will mature trees be cut?
Option 1 does not propose removing any trees in advance of construction. City Forestry Staff reviewed all trees along the east side of Connaught Ave. and 8 mature trees were identified as ‘at risk’. It was the opinion of the Forester that all of these mature ‘at risk’ trees could be retained.
These trees are located on large front yards providing space for root growth. As well, steps would be taken to minimize the impact of construction of these trees; this includes pruning tree roots in advance of construction and using specialized construction techniques (e.g. hydrovac excavation). Lastly, where an ‘at risk’ tree has been identified, the sidewalk width would be narrowed to 1.5m in front of each mature tree to maximize the space between the tree and sidewalk (see below). Trees at risk will be confirmed with City Forestry prior to construction.
Will sidewalks devalue my home?
Realtors are reporting higher prices and preference for neighborhoods with high walkability – sidewalks, places to walk to, proximity to stores, schools and other services. In addition to Complete Streets advocates, powerful lobbying groups like AARP are advocating for neighborhoods with better pedestrian and transit opportunities. There’s no readily available evidence to show sidewalks lower property values, except when they’re in poor condition.
Which side of Connaught is more suitable for a sidewalk?
The City examined both the east and west side of the street as a potential location for the proposed sidewalk. Elements such as trees, landscaping, retaining walls, driveways, utility poles, slope of front yards as well as connections to existing pathways, parks and the future LRT were all examined and considered. Based on this initial work, it was determined that a sidewalk on the east side of the street would have less impact on these elements. As well, it provided better connectivity to existing pathways and parks located on the east side of Connaught.
Recognizing the importance of trees in this community, this was a key consideration and there are fewer trees impacted on the east side versus the west side. The pathway does change from the east side to the west side at Severn to provide a direct connection to the future west-side multi-use pathway leading to the future Queensview LRT Station.
At Severn Avenue and Connaught Ave., a pedestrian crossover (PXO) is proposed on the south side of the intersection to facilitate a safe crossing for pedestrians. The City is exploring a north side location to address community concern; however, one challenge is an existing driveway located where a north-side PXO would connect to on the east side of Connaught. The City will continue to examine this location to determine if a solution is feasible.
Does a sidewalk increase risk to pedestrians while cars are backing up from their driveways?
A driver backing up from their driveway should be watching for pedestrians whether the pedestrian is walking on the street or on a sidewalk.
Do property insurance rates increase due to pedestrians crossing your property?
The proposed 2m sidewalk would be built within the current Connaught Avenue right-of-way (i.e. built on City property), and owned and maintained by the City. Since the City would be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, the City would assume the liability for the sidewalk. Pedestrians using the sidewalk would be on City property; they would not be on a homeowner’s property.
How much frontage might homeowners lose?
Elmhurst St. to Severn Ave.
Worst case – loss of approx. 5 feet (* exact impacts will be known when topographic survey and detail design completed)
The City will be modifying the road width to be 7.0 m in order to include the new sidewalk and retain existing trees. In the section Elmhurst Street to Severn Ave., the proposed sidewalk will be located partly into the street and partly behind the existing curb within the City right-of-way, as illustrated below.
More precise dimensions will be available once a topographic survey is completed to undertake the detail design. At this time existing City mapping indicates that the sidewalk would extend about 1m (3 feet, 3 inches) into the road and 1m back of the curb into the adjacent lawn. As a worst case, if the existing road is only 7.5 m between curbs; then the sidewalk will extend 0.5m (20 inches) into the road and 1.5m (4 feet 11 inches) behind the face of the existing curb.
An exception is at 989 Connaught Avenue (slide 22 of 27) immediately north of Severn, where the sidewalk transitions to match the existing curb line at the multi-use pathway to be constructed.
Carling Ave. to Elmhurst St.
Worst case – loss of approx. 6 feet 6 inches. (* exact impacts will be known when topographic survey and detail design completed)
In this section, the sidewalk will be constructed just in front of the streetlight poles. Some residents have built rock gardens and have paving stone accents in their driveways. Most perennials appear to be beyond the back of the proposed sidewalk. At 839 Connaught Avenue (third photo), the property owner built a rock garden extending in front of the streetlight pole. Based on the consultant’s mapping and measurements, the proposed back of sidewalk here in this location is approx 1m from the streetlight pole (all streetlight poles are not in a straight line). More precise dimensions will be available once a topographic survey is completed to undertake the detail design.