Nearly 100,000 residents live within walking distance of REimagining Yonge and there are about 1,800 businesses on this stretch of Yonge in North York. In the past decade, over 159 people walking and cycling have been killed or seriously injured.
Last week, City Council, including the Mayor, voted 18-5 in favour of moving forward with the REimagining Yonge project. This will see Yonge Street in North York transformed when it is rebuilt as a “complete street.” You can watch the hour-long Council discussion to hear what members of Council had to say.
When Yonge Street was last built in this part of the city, it was designed as a six-lane highway to move drivers as quickly as possible. Today, it divides a community by making access to the area difficult for the people that live nearest; people walking, rolling, and riding bikes in North York.
Nearly 100,000 residents live within walking distance of REimagining Yonge and there are about 1,800 businesses on this stretch of Yonge in North York. In the past decade, over 159 people walking and cycling have been killed or seriously injured. Change is long overdue, and City Council has finally agreed.
While this vote is a major milestone, it will be at least half a decade until construction wraps up on this project. Cycle Toronto is committed to working toward interim solutions through programs like ActiveTO and CafeTO, so that North York Centre can experience a safer and more vibrant main street soon.
Cycle Toronto has been working for years with local and citywide organizations to make this a reality. It has taken collaboration with transit groups, residents’ and business associations, city-building groups, healthcare workers, road safety groups, environmental champions, and more to build the strong coalition of support needed for this project to move forward.
Members of Council, including Mayor Tory, pointed to the success of human-scaled projects like Destination Danforth as a reason to support a new vision for Yonge. Our work championing these projects in one part of the city is now paying off in other areas as well. This victory on Yonge gives us hope that the rest of Toronto’s inner suburbs can begin to reimagine their streets as public places built with everyone’s interests in mind.
Without the continued support of Cycle Toronto members we would not have been able to build the coalition of support necessary to get REimagining Yonge past Council. We will continue to need the support of members as we grow and change with the city, seeing this project and others through until the end.