Sydenham Street Revived

Sustainable Kingston, Sydenham Street Revived, pop-up park, KingstonWe’ve spent a lot of time talking about what it would be like if the city made Princess Street a pedestrian only zone in the downtown core.  Those against the idea argue that parking is already a big enough issue downtown, and that we can’t afford to remove any more spots.  Pro-pedestrian supporters believe that eliminating vehicle use on our main street will encourage more people to use alternate sources of transportation resulting in more Kingstonians taking the bus, traveling on foot and riding their bikes.  Whichever stance you take, the reality of the situation is that this particular idea does not appear to be high on the city’s priority list at the moment.

So, what if there was a compromise? In September 2013, Harvey posted a What if Kingston… pondering the effects of Kingston’s participation in Park(ing) Day:

“The primary goal for many communities who participate in Park(ing) Day is to explore alternative strategies for civic spaces that are currently devoted to car culture.”

Just over a month later, on Park(ing) Day, a green space emerged in a parking spot on Sydenham Street.  With the city’s permission, Sustainable Kingston took over one parking spot and filled it with grass, trees and other plants.  This demonstration opened up the conversation surrounding green spaces versus concrete and today, this conversation is continuing in a more formalized way.

Sydenham Street Revived is community-led initiative to see the entire block of Sydenham Street from Princess to Queen, turned into a pedestrian-only green space.  A pop-up park will fill the block on August 27th and will remain there until September 10th, allowing Kingstonians to experience a pedestrian friendly area in the downtown core before the beginning of the next Big Dig.  The Sydenham Street Revived website states that:

We believe that creating a quality public space in this location would be highly beneficial both socially and economically for the surrounding community. But belief isn’t enough – to inspire change, we need proof. This temporary park project will provide the opportunity to collect both qualitative and quantitative data about use and enjoyment of the park and the economic impact on the surrounding businesses, information that can help the downtown’s key decision makers re-imagine this section of street as a place for people rather than cars.

In addition to adding landscaping and seating to the block, organizers also envision small community gatherings and opportunities to showcase local art.  In other words, a place to bring the local community together that is safe, friendly and green.

Right now, Sydenham Street Revived is looking for your input.  They will be holding an interactive design session at Sustainable Kingston (184 Sydenham St.) on Wednesday, June 17th from 7pm-9pm and again on Saturday, June 20th from 1pm-3pm.  This is an opportunity for Kingstonians to share their ideas about how Sydenham Street could be restructured.  Participants will work together to put their plans on paper and the final results will be used to help create the pop-up park.  For more details on the design session and pop-up parks, be sure to visit the Sydenham Street Revived website.

What is your first thought regarding pop-up parks, Park(ing) Day and the restructuring of Sydenham Street?  Would you like to see more initiatives like this taking place throughout the city or do we have enough green space as it is?  Drop your comments off below.

Thanks to Greenbelt Alliance for today’s pic.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

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