During neighbourhood consultations for the renewal of the Chalmers 5-year Neighbourhood Plan in 2019, the community spoke loud and clear about the need to improve ways of getting around the neighbourhood, especially for those on foot, bike, cane, wheelchair and with a stroller!
So we asked ourselves if Henderson Hwy is a place we like to walk, bike or wait for the bus on? Walk our dogs on? Bring our kids to? Does it feel comfortable and safe? Does it feel inviting – like a special part of our neighbourhood where we want to linger?
Mostly, we asked if Henderson Hwy could be a happier place for our residents and local businesses.
To answer those questions, we did an initial 1-day trial in July 2020 to test out options for improving Henderson Hwy for the people who live, work and operate businesses here.
We’ve compiled all the data from that first trial, and have taken all that we’ve learned to iterate and continue to improve the safety, comfort and usability of Henderson Hwy for residents and businesses.
To that end, we’ve been installing a few temporary (and some permanent!) improvements starting this summer which should all be in place soon!
- Community marbles: Installed in pairs on the median between Johnson Ave and Hespeler Ave, the marbles come in two sizes, 3-ft diameter and 2-ft diameter, and each has been painted by one of Reimagine Elmwood’s community partner organizations.
The marbles serve several purposes. First, they are public art, beautifying our little corner of the world and building pride of place and a sense of community. Second, they serve as traffic calming, by providing what traffic engineers call psychological “edge friction”, or a sense of enclosure, in order to reduce vehicle speeds, thereby increasing safety, reducing noise levels, and making Henderson a more inviting place to linger.
- Johnson & Henderson corner: working with the property owner (Suncor), the neighbourhood is now able to temporarily use the lot at 243 Henderson as a community space. Reimagine Elmwood cleaned up the lot, applied a fresh layer of asphalt, and have added picnic tables, benches, a stage, planters and flowerboxes. We’ll be adding more over the coming months. In addition, we aim to have our community partner organizations hosting events here such as concerts, outdoor movies, farmer’s markets and more starting in spring 2024. Until then, Reimagine Elmwood will be hosting a series of Corner Fest events, the first being on October 27th, 2023. More details on that here.
What’s still coming
- Welcome to Elmwood gateway signage: to be installed on both sides of Henderson, approximately at Poplar Ave. Built out of steel and inlaid with reclaimed elm wood (sourced from Elmwood!), the archway signage is meant to help with neighbourhood beautification, pride of place, in addition to providing additional traffic calming, which increases safety and reduces noise levels, in order to create a more inviting and pleasant neighbourhood main street where people can feel safe and welcome shopping, dining, walking, waiting for the bus — just generally spending time in.
We’ll be adding more photos here once the installation is complete!
And with the valued support of Councillor Jason Schreyer