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The Take Back The Riverbank project marks the first phase of implementation of the Town of Bridgewater's Downtown & Waterfront Master Plan. Heavy construction on project began in November of 2015 and is scheduled to be complete by the end of fall 2016.
Take Back The Riverbank is being overseen by the Town of Bridgewater's Engineering and Planning departments, with support and guidance from the Downtown Planning Advisory Committee, our downtown merchants, and, of course, Bridgewater Town Council.
Phase 1 consisted of three main components:
Phase 1A: The deconstruction (removal) of the South Parkade along King Street.
Phase 1B: Work on below-ground water, sewer, and storm water lines on King Street.
Phase 1C: The construction of a green, riverfront public space, named Pijinuiskaq Park, along the block of King Street where the South Parkade used to exist and the reconstruction of King Street to include better sidewalks and increased parking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the project all about?
The Take Back The Riverbank project is about two main things:
1) Fixing and/or replacing aging underground infrastructure, including drinking water and sewer lines that are decades old and in need of upgrading.
2) Renewing the surface appearance of this part of the downtown King Street area so that visitors and shoppers have a renewed reason to come, enjoy our waterfront, shop in our local businesses, and extend their visits in our downtown.
What does this project include?
The Take Back The Riverbank project includes three primary construction elements:
1) Taking down the South Parkade and using the land to build a new, waterfront park and public space.
2) Replacing water, storm water, and sewer lines beneath the street that are, in some cases, almost a century old and in need of replacement.
3) Once the undergrouned work is done, we're going to rebuild the street and sidewalks along this block to include reverse-angle parking, wider sidewalks and curb bump outs (making it safer for pedestrians), and street furniture (such as benches).
What's the project timeline?
The Take Back The Riverbank project is broken down into two sections:
1) The removal of the South Parkade began on November 2, 2015 and was completed within about one month.
2) The rest of the project began in late May of 2016 and the bulk of heavy construction is currently tracking to be complete on-street by late October, and in the riverfront parkspace by early November.
Will the Old Bridge be closed during or as a result of this project?
The Old Bridge was closed for less than five days during the project to facilitate the connection of new water lines with the existing lines that run beneath Old Bridge. The Town of Bridgewater worked with the contractor to time closures to coincide with "slower' days in our downtown core, earlier in the week, when there is traditionally less vehicular activity.
Will King Street be completely closed during below ground on water and sewer lines in 2016?
It's the Town of Bridgewater's goal to ensure that at least one lane of this section of King Street is kept open during the construction work. We recognize how critical this corridor is to residents, merchants, and customers and as part of the planning for the project, we're working with project contractors to ensure that all of King Street and its businesses are able remain OPEN FOR BUSINESS and accessible to pedestrians during every phase of Take Back The Riverbank.
For the people who used the South Parkade, where will they park now?
There are two answers, one specific to merchants and their staff, the other to visitors and shoppers on King Street.
Merchants and staff are encouraged to use parking in designated permit areas on the North Parkade or, alternatively, in the approximately 30 newly designated merchant parking spaces in the Town Hall Parking Lot, "behind" King Street. You can access the parking lot safely and securely in any weather through the stairs near the King Street RBC, which will be maintained by Town crews year-round.
For shoppers and visitors to King Street, there are three major parking lots available for use in our downtown -- the North Parkade, the Town Centre Parking Lot (near King Street Court) and the O'Neill Parking Lot (located near the Economic Centre, just past the bottom of Dufferin Street). On-street parking will continue to be available on most of King Street during the project -- except for disruptions when crews are working on underground water and sewer pipes -- and when the project is complete the new reverse-angle parking along the focus area of the project area will actually increase the number of on-street spaces available.
Okay, so what IS reverse-angle parking and why is it being implemented?
Reverse-angle parking is exactly what it sounds like: parking spaces on an angle to the street that are designed for vehicles to back into them.
The reason reverse-angle parking was chosen for this part of King Street is because it's more efficient than parallel parking (we get more on-street parking spaces) and because it's safer and easier than traditional parallel parking.
Traditional parallel parking invovles three movements -- pull forward, reverse in, straighten out -- while reverse-angle parking eliminates one of these steps entirely. With reverse-angle parking, you simply pull forward and then back into the space. When it's time to go, your car is already pointing forward, your car is already facing the street, so it's easy to see if there is traffic coming toward you on King Street from either direction -- you don't have to back out blindly into on-coming traffic.
How do I keep up-to-date on the Take Back The Riverbank project?
Where did the name Pijinuiskaq come from for the park?
Pijinuiskaq (pronounced BE-JN-OO-IS-GAH) is the traditional Mi'kmaq name for the LaHave River. The meaning translates roughly to "having long joints or branches." The name was one of more than 50 submitted for consideration during a public naming competition in 2016. Pijinuiskaq was recommended to Bridgewater Town Council for approval by the Downtown Planning Advisory Committee and the Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee. It is believed to be the only street, facility or public space in Bridgewater to bear a Mi'kmaq name. The Mi'kmaq have had an historic presence along the LaHave River, long pre-dating European arrival in the region, giving special meaning to the naming of this riverside public space in a time when truth and reconciliation between cultures is so important.
Want to learn more?
You can also stay in touch with us about the project by frequenting the Town of Bridgewater Facebook page here.