For several years the BIA and the Town have been considering renewing Southampton's High Street. The BIA has taken the lead on the project and in 2019 hired John MacDonald Architect to create a plan to show how High St could look and areas for improvement based on current and future plans for how towns around the world are evolving.
This plan is purely conceptual. Nothing is set in stone, this is simply design suggestions to be put out to our membership and community for feedback and support or non support and then hopefully to the town. Once the town receives the plan, they will be the ones to determine the final plan and structure with input from the BIA based on our consultations.
Southampton has one of the most beautiful main streets in Ontario from a layout perspective. However, we are in need of updated infrastructure. After the underground infrastructure updates have been made we have an opportunity to improve upon the footprint currently present.
Southampton is a walking community and the more we improve upon that walk and focus the walk on not only showcasing the beauty and history of Southampton, but also on the businesses, promote shopping, dining and living experiences, Southampton's downtown will become a year round destination ensuring a healthier economy and beautifying the town for both our local community and those who visit our beautiful town.
As our economy and population shift we need to update and evolve to ensure our main core continues to be a car stopping, people walking, tourism hub. Tourism keeps Southampton's economy alive, and to have a healthy town your downtown core needs to look and feel healthy. People are attracted to People.
(This photo is of Southampton, UK! Sidewalks could match our English Sister Town!)
It's important to remember the PDFs below are conceptional only. What does that mean? JMA has created some suggestions for each block of the main sections of High St and the High Street Committee made up of BIA members, Community members and Saugeen Shores Town members has reviewed, made suggestions and presented it to our BIA membership.
Our BIA membership feedback is at the bottom as well as responses from membership.
You are a SUPPORTER if: you believe that High Street could benefit from an updated and beautified downtown core at the same time as updating our infrastructure.
You are a NON SUPPORTER if: you do not believe that High Street could use updating and beautification.
The final drawing and plan will be created if the community supports the idea of High Street Renewal and the Town accepts our concepts and feedback.
We recommend maintaining parallel parking along the North side of High Street. The traffic calming elements at the High St intersection will assist with creating a safer walking area for pedestrians and residences on Victoria Street.
Flex seating is only to show potential for future opportunities. The mid street crossing is beneficial as we already are a very pedestrianized town and "jay-walking" is a common occurrence. This will give safe crossing areas making it even easier and more enjoyable for pedestrians to visit shops and services on both sides of the street regardless of where they park.
Flex seating in the block is also only to show potential for future opportunities. Much of this block has already been completed. Small upgrades may occur that could include additional shrubs/trees and additional signage for parking options and pedestrian crossing zones to make it safer.
The Southampton Legion is interested in recreating the Cenotaph at the Huron St Intersection. This project will be led but this is a suggestion of what could be.
We recommend maintaining the current parallel parking that occurs between Huron Street and the Flag but to have it properly marked so that the residents in the area have proper spacing at the end of their driveways while also highlighting spaces for beach goers to park or a designated area for dropping off and packing up with directions to a lot to park in for longer term beach visiting. (longer than the 3hr maximum parking.)
The ideal action here is to paint the lines along the road where people already park, but identify proper spaces to limit crowding and create more room at driveways.
This pdf shows the intersections and additional concepts for after design that is being suggested.
Southampton already has a pedestrian friendly mindset. With carvings around Fairy Lake, The Butterfly Gardens, Walking Trails and more this suggestion incudes elements for a culture walk among others!
Parking: Parking is a general concern. Improved signage for longer durations parking off of main street as well as shifting angle parking to add additional spaces will be included in our recommendations to Town Council. It's also worth noting that parking is a universal issue across many communities regardless of size. Which is why we would like to focus on improving the High Street walk year round instead to create a better environment as we can not change parking in too many ways given our towns layout.
Flex Street: As weather is a huge factor in Bruce County, we only have a few months of patio season and it also happens while our parking spots are in full demand. The Flex street concept is just a suggestion showing what restaurants could do - if they chose to and had Town approval.
Bump Outs: We have referred to them as street calming measures as that is their purpose. We also recommend that they are placed on the areas they currently are painted on the road. This will ensure no loss in parking and will be used for their intended purpose - to ensure at pedestrian areas they stay safe an vehicles do not cut corners and cause avoidable accidents. We recommend using these as areas to improve the walking journey of our community whether through horticulture, placemaking or areas to sit.
Mid-street Greenery: While these are often placed in the space currently used by couriers to unload and delivery packages we do recommend beautifying the core while maintaining opportunity for vehicles to move about safe and efficiently. We also recommend to the Town that they upgrade and repair Leeder Lane and Union Lane and use signage to direct couriers and delivery trucks to the backs of stores as much as possible to make parking and traffic as easy as possible on our main street.
Event and Road Closure Opportunities: JMA has proposed opportunities for road closures. The BIA is aware that this is not something everyone is interested in. That being said, many of the worlds most people friendly and economical towns feature street closures or walking streets. In order for Southampton's potential street closures to be successful from a BIA perspective the events must draw attention and include the businesses on it. A focus on the BIA membership will make these experiences positive, but in the end it all comes down to each individual business and their participation. People go to malls and walk for hours, we can create the same desire in Southampton only better!
Missing Information: We have heard that some members feel there is missing information. We have tried our best to reiterate that this plan we are presenting is purely conceptual and we do not have the ability or knowledge to comment on engineering or construction type issues. Our plan is to build upon the already ideal footprint of High Street and to make this a Municipal Priority. Concerns like - but not limited too - accessibility, infrastructure, timelines and intricate details of the plan will be determined at a later stage with the professionals in each area. The BIA is simply the driving force asking for this change and making a high level suggestion of what the finished product could look like.
1 in 3 people would avoid change if they could. In 1995 when 4 local Southampton men wanted to raise the flag we all know and love today many thought it a “hair-brained scheme’. Entirely funded by private and corporate donations for not only construction but also to date for maintenance.
This is a good reminder that while in the moment we can often think something is not needed, required or a hair brained scheme that does not mean that we should ignore the opportunity to do something great for future generations, business owners or community members full time or passing through.
Today, our flag is an icon. Let's do the same with our streetscape.
March and November of 2022 presentations by John MacDonald Architect.
Notices sent by email, social media and survey monkey. Responses requested and membership informed non response constitutes Support.
We surveyed High Street specific businesses after the final conception was delivered to our membership.
The idea of a High Street Renewal project is not new, we have been here before. The one thing we almost all agree on, is that Southampton has a unique charming vibe and one of the most beautiful downtown streets in Ontario with the Lake view at the end of it.
A renewal plan doesn't threaten or change that, it builds upon it. We have an opportunity to decide what Southampton will look like for the next 50 years and we should take it. Not just for our local community enjoying it now, but for the future business owners, residents and our tourism community.
While change can be scary due to the unknown aspects choosing to do nothing will all but certainly guarantee the decline in our basic structures and at a certain point affect our economy. Our community is already walking friendly, we place emphasize on where people park when we should be placing that emphasize on enhancing the stroll. Our slogan is "Walk Store to Shore" and yet there is a belief that if someone doesn't park in front of our store they won't come in.
Southampton has unique businesses, amazing services, beautiful places to stay and deliciously wonderful restaurant that people walk for. This truly is one of my favourite streets and I look forward to the day when I can walk across the street and not roll an ankle in the cracks. Let's embrace this plan and lets grow.
This conceptual design is a BIA Priority and needs to be a Community Priority and a Municipal Priority.
“We want to acknowledge the Territory of the
Anishinabek Nation: The People of the Three Fires
known as Ojibway, Odawa, and Pottawatomie
Nations. And further give thanks to the Chippewas
of Saugeen, and the Chippewas of Nawash, known
collectively as the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, as the
traditional keepers of this land.”
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