Pictured: Mayor John Tory rides down Yonge Street as part of the annual Bike to Work Day ride in 2016. Photo by Marlena Rogowska.
Update (January 22, 2018)
On Friday, January 19, Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) discussed whether or not to recommend the Transform Yonge option to City Council. With over 15 residents representing a host of organizations, including Residents' Associations, road safety advocates, and environmental not-for-profits, signed up to depute, there is clearly widespread interest in this project. Unfortunately, PWIC opted to defer the item to the next meeting (February 27, 2018) or to a special meeting of the Committee if it is scheduled by the Chair.
Transform Yonge would bring a host of much-needed improvements for all road users: wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, trees, and outdoor seating to support a vibrant public realm. The alternative is to make minor improvements to Yonge Street in favour of focusing on a service road, Beecroft Ave - which would result in a price tag $20 million heftier.
With a Staff Report strongly recommending Transform Yonge as the best alternative, we think it is the clear path forward - but not everyone at City Hall supports it. That's why we need your help!
What can I do?
There are two actions you can take right now to urge Mayor Tory and PWIC to vote for the Transform Yonge option.
1. Write to the Mayor and PWIC. You can use our template; consider adding a personal story about living, working, or spending time on this section of Yonge as it will make your letter carry more weight.
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Include PW26.6 in the subject line to ensure your letter is filed with the agenda item at City Hall.
2. Arrange to speak or submit comments to PWIC (by Thursday January 18 at 4:30PM) by clicking here and selecting the "request to speak" tab or "submit comments" tab at the top of that page.
You may also arrange to speak or submit comments by contacting the City Clerk's Office using one of the following methods
Email : email@example.com
Public Works and Infrastructure Committee
Nancy Martins, City Clerk's Office
Toronto City Hall, Floor 10, West Tower
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
The latest news on Transform Yonge
On Friday, January 12, City Staff released a report recommending Transform Yonge as the preferred option. This report strongly recommends that the project be approved from livability, economic vitality, mobility, and safety perspectives. Leading city-builders, residents' associations, road safety advocates, and the local councillor have spoken out in support of Transform Yonge as this is the only one of the proposed options that includes the kind of improvements sorely needed in North York. Here's why Transform Yonge is the right choice:
- A safer street for all road users. There have been 83 reported collisions between drivers and vulnerable road users in the study area since January 2010 - a clear result of a roadway that is designed for motor vehicle traffic rather than people walking, riding bikes, and taking transit. We need wider sidewalks, shorter crossing distances, and protected bike lanes to prevent more traffic injuries and deaths.
- We'll get the most bang for our buck. This option would be eligible for both federal and provincial funding to cover a portion of the estimated $51 million cost. Alternatives would cost significantly more or not be eligible for federal and provincial infrastructure money. Putting off the necessary capital improvements indefinitely will only lead to higher costs down the road.
- It's good for business. Yonge St is identified as an employment centre in the City's Official Plan - yet the number of new businesses and jobs hasn't kept pace with an influx or residential units. The public realm improvements included in Transform Yonge would create a more attractive environment for local businesses to thrive.
- Impacts on motor vehicle traffic will be minimal. Detailed traffic modelling revealed an increase of just one minute in travel time on Yonge between Sheppard and Finch. Plus, travel behaviour is shifting from people driving to people taking transit (GO and TTC), ride-hailing, walking, and cycling. Transform Yonge would result in a street that accommodates this transportation mix.
What's Transform Yonge?
Transform Yonge is a visionary project for North York that would see a host of much-needed improvements: wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, trees, and outdoor seating to support a vibrant public realm and a safer roadway. According to the staff report released on January 12, these improvements would cost an estimated $51.1 million, with the potential to be funded partially using federal Public Transit Infrastructure Funds (PTIF). The alternative is to make only minor improvements to Yonge Street in favour of focusing on a service road, Beecroft Ave - which would cost $20 million more and represent a missed opportunity to revitalize North York’s central corridor, which is in dire need of reconstruction.
City of Toronto staff held their final Public Drop-in Event for the REimagining Yonge project for Yonge St, between Sheppard and Finch, on Monday December 11. Members of the public had the chance to view display panels, add comments to the two proposed configurations (Transform Yonge, and Enhance Yonge & Transform Beecroft), and share their feedback with planning staff. Staff will make their final recommendation to PWIC on January 19, 2018, and the vote will go to City Council on January 31, 2018.
We have a short timeframe to ask Mayor Tory, PWIC, and City staff to support Option 1: Transform Yonge - the only option that includes protected bike lanes in addition to a host of public realm improvements to accomodate a growing population and changing mobility patterns. In order to get Transform Yonge approved, we need to show the Mayor that we support this forward-thinking project that supports safety, liveability, and economic development, and falls in line with existing plans (like the 10-Year Cycling Network Plan and Official Plan which guides development city-wide).