AGRICOLA STREET WORKSHOP WITH GARY TOTH
The Agricola Street Enhancement (ASE) project was organized by North End Business Association (NEBA) and Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC), to develop a plan to improve the existing streetscape in the area that runs along Agricola Street from Cunard Street to Young Street. To bring ideas and information together as a part of the on-going discussion and work on this initiative, NEBA and HCC, in cooperation with the Licensed Professional Planners Association of Nova Scotia, held a workshop featuring Gary Toth, Senior Director of Project for Public Spaces, specializing in planning, design and education to help individuals and governments create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Gary has hosted hundreds of workshops and community meetings all over North America. The Agricola Street workshop brought together a dedicated group of stakeholders including representatives of HRM, HCC, NEBA, Agricola Street businesses, and local residents. The intent of the workshop was to inspire everyone to think out of the box and beyond their own perspective or area of expertise.
The keynote speaker Gary Toth talked about complete streets that are safe and comfortable to use for all ages. He illustrated that place-making is the maximum use of space, but our current urban environment is designed by individual professions that creates silos resulting in few great public places. “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper”, Gary’s place-making approach, means using simple tools, features or methods to reach the goal. For example, implementing temporary street treatments to test new ideas as opposed to large, costly, and resource intensive projects. The temporary street treatments can provide high level of flexibility and can also be removed easily if the actual results are negative. The result of the workshop was a series of ideas developed by the participants about how the Agricola streetscape can be improved through things like better lighting, bump-outs, parklets, greenery, street art and way-finding, and temporary street markets. The next steps are to consult more with local stakeholders, implement some "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper" ideas, develop a more detailed plan, and continue to work with HCC and HRM in anticipation of upcoming street repaving. The full report is available on our website.