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Roundabout among short-listed options for St. George’s Square

One of the options for Macdonell Street bridge is to create a trail connection underpass along the Speed River

A roundabout may be on the way to Downtown Guelph. 

That’s among the city’s short-listed options for a potential redesign of St. George’s Square, where Wyndham, Quebec and Douglas streets meet in front of Old Quebec Street Shoppes. 

The short-listed options are identified in an update report on downtown revitalization efforts slated to go to council’s committee of the whole on June 6. It was publicly released on Friday.

At this time a preferred option is not stated, nor are cost estimates or completion timelines.

“We have a unique opportunity as we replace critical underground infrastructure to also transform how downtown looks, feels and functions,” states the report. “The goal is for the reconstructed downtown streets to be beautiful, safe and accessible for people to live, work, play, visit and enjoy downtown.”

Other options for St. George’s Square to make the short list are to do nothing, “standard intersection improvements” and a realigned, four-leg intersection.

The short-list flows from an environmental assessment (EA) underway for Wyndham Street, which includes St. George’s Square. 

It’s one to two such assessments in the works – the other is investigating options for the Macdonell Street bridge and Allan’s Dam, near the intersection of Macdonell and Elizabeth streets.

“An extensive list of options for both EAs was considered through community engagement and by key internal subject matter experts in late 2022 and early 2023,” the report explains. “Based on the feedback received through those consultations as well as the technical information being developed through the ongoing work to support this project, some options on the extensive list have been eliminated.”

Efforts to reach city staff for comment on why these options were selected over others weren’t immediately successful.

The EAs are expected to be completed next year, including council approval of one of the design options for each, along with creation of a capital spending plan. Detailed design efforts are to begin in 2025, with re-construction slated to start in 2026.

“The final timing for the completion of the work will be estimated as part of the (capital spending strategy), however, depending on the approach taken, it is anticipated that construction will take multiple years to complete,” the report notes.

There are four options short-listed for the remainder of Wyndham Street through downtown. In addition to “do nothing,” they are:

  • Two lanes of traffic, with one headed in each direction and angled parking on one side of the street; traffic lanes are to be shared with bicycles
  • Two lanes of traffic, each with its own dedicated bicycle path, and parking on both sides of the street
  • Two lanes of traffic with a separate, bi-directional bike lane.

There are four shortlisted options for the Macdonell Street bridge and Allan’s Dam structures, as well as possible limits to how they’re used.

In addition to “do nothing,” they include rehabilitation, complete or partial replacement of the bridge and dam, prohibiting vehicular traffic, and retaining portions of the bridge only for viewing platforms and/or heritage purposes.

One of the options involves removal of the sluiceway and spillway in order to provide a trail underpass that connects the Trans Canada Rail Trail beneath the bridge – something active transportation advocates have been calling for.

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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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