Hit Our Bricks!
Where is Dundas Place? What is a Flex Street? We have received a lot of questions about all the changes on our section of Dundas Street over the past couple years. Although the street continues to evolve we thought we would share a bit of our own experience so far:
As far back as 2011 presentations were made to the City of London about transforming a section of Dundas Street to become more pedestrian friendly. In 2015 a ‘flexible street scoping study’ was completed and in 2016 a series of public engagement sessions were held to gather feedback from residents & businesses downtown. Trapdoor opened in February 2017 and we also met with city planners and attended meetings to learn about the proposals. As a brand new escape room business at the time we were pretty nervous about the impact – but also excited to see what the street could become.
2018 & 2019
So much construction! The first section of street to be torn up was from Talbot to Richmond, followed by our section from Richmond to Wellington. Although much of what we now see as the flex street is above ground, the major work happened under the surface. Storm sewers, sanitary sewers and utility features were all re-done. It was fascinating to see all the many layers of pipes (some dating back as far as 1870!) all hidden underneath the roadway.
This was also a tough period. The construction was loud & messy. Some days it seemed like we would never see a completed street again. But then…
Dundas Place opened!
Near the end of December 2019 the last of 700,000+ bricks were laid. The street now has a number of cool features:
- The street is flat and does not have any curbs. There are 109 bollards that can be removed to create a wide, large zone when car-free.
- New, bright & stylized streetlights that also hold seasonal banners were added.
- The paving brick pattern is a wave design meant to reflect a Thames River motif.
- Hardy trees were planted all along the street with special, large underground cubes designed to support their growth.
- Special ‘pebble’ seating and new bike racks were installed.
But the most important part of Dundas Place is that it has the ability to transform to a car-free zone. Currently, the street is open to pedestrians (& bikes & skateboards & strollers etc!) only on Friday & Saturday evenings and during the day on Sunday. We are starting to see pop up markets, patios, musicians and small events embracing this new space.
It hasn’t been a perfect journey and there are definitely still issues that the City needs to continue to address. There are broad social needs in downtown London that cannot be ignored. However, the potential exists for a such a vibrant & lively urban district. There is a strong sense of community among many businesses along the street,the majority of which are also small, independent and unique. Come explore and shop/eat local! Visit the Dundas Place website and follow their social media including the #hitourbricks tag for more info.