Image Arts construction pushes back Gould Street closure

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By Rene Moortgat

The closure of Gould Street, originally announced for this spring, is now set for August.

According to Ryerson president Sheldon Levy, the ongoing construction of the Image Arts building will stall a pedestrian-only Gould Street.

Trucks need to be able to travel on the street to complete construction, he said.

Yet Levy is confident the closed street, a year-long pilot project, will be a pedestrian success.

“I absolutely will make a promise, and you can count on it 1,000 per cent — we will inconvenience cars,” he said. Toronto community council passed a bylaw in September giving Ryerson the authority to close Gould Street.

The pedestrianizing project fulfills part of Ryerson’s Master Plan, which called for the closure of the street to traffic.

There have been three meetings between Ryerson and city council so far to discuss the project, said Ian Hamilton, director of campus planning at the university.

“As soon as that work is complete, which we anticipate being done in the early summer, then we will prepare to close the street to start our pilot project around August,” Hamilton said.

The first and second meetings were with city planning staff to discuss the concept of a pedestrian-friendly Gould Street and further details regarding the closure, according to Hamilton.

The third meeting specifically adressed emergency services needs.

The city is also preparing to do repair work on Victoria Street.

The initial pilot project will be in place for one academic year, until approximately May or June 2011.

Lessons learned will be incorporated in the second phase of the pilot, starting the following academic year.

“Then in year three we would work towards a final solution to the project,” said Hamilton.

Toby Whitfield, vice-president finance and services for the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), said the new closure date takes place at a busier time on campus.

“That’s when we do a lot of programming on the street anyway.”

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