Active TO Midtown Complete Street

Office of the Mayor
City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Dear Mayor John Tory, Councillor Saxe and Councillor Matlow;

Re: Active TO Midtown Complete Street

The ABC Residents Association is a not-for-profit federally regulated community organization representing the interests of residents in the geographic area bounded by Bloor Street to the south, the CPR tracks to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west. We are writing to express ABCRA’s support for a City Council decision to make the Yonge Midtown Complete Street permanent and to encourage your leadership to help make this happen.

We know that population growth and further densification is coming to midtown and this is a core reason to support a Complete Street along this corridor.

Collectively, the streets in the ABCRA area comprise the largest percentage of public space. We have five major arteries circling and traversing the area and how they are designed is an important factor affecting the safety and livability of our neighbourhood. ABCRA places a priority on transportation issues and planning and have monitored and examined the Yonge Midtown Complete Street initiative over the pilot period. While the project has its growing pains, we have found that City Transportation, Cycling & Pedestrian Projects staff has welcomed and been responsive to input and issues raised by all stakeholders and has made improvements to the original design.

ABCRA supports the goals of Complete Streets to provide a range of transportation options, create safe, more healthy and vibrant public spaces and improve the City’s environmental sustainability. A Complete Street on Yonge Midtown providing a north-south link for alternative active transportation options is important to the success of the program and to support  Vision Zero 2.0 and TransformTO goals.

We expect the final City Transportation staff report will suggest guidelines for the ongoing effective operation of the street, and in this regard, ABCRA has the following recommendations for City staff’s consideration:

  1. Traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps or diverters should be used on our local and collector roads. The City’s Traffic Calming Policy (2010) defines traffic calming measures and the criteria and process for applying them to streets. With the increase in traffic on local roads, calming devices need to be used to alter drivers’ behaviour and improve road safety. We ask the City to seek opportunities through street redesign projects to rightsize and repurpose street space to achieve Complete Street objectives. We agree and support that implementing traffic calming treatments intended to curtail motor vehicles should exempt cyclists and accommodate emergency vehicles and winter maintenance requirements. In doing so we request the city:
    • Continue to monitor and mitigate the impacts of traffic on side streets by collecting and sharing traffic counts three times a year ( May, August, and January) to align with current traffic counts.
    • Roxborough Avenue West is particularly impacted by an increase in traffic over the complete streets project pilot. ABCRA discussed two improvements with City staff that we expect the city to implement. The improvements  could be access restrictions during the afternoon rush hour period between Molson and Avenue Road and bump out in the intersection of Molson St. and Roxborough Street West.
    • I understand the City also recommended a bump-out for Marlborough Ave that ABCRA would like to see installed as soon as possible.
  2. Achieve greater Complete Street potential in the coming years. As the current configuration was developed quickly during Covid, it does not yet fully meet the following goals set out by the City for Complete Streets:
    • Create vibrant and attractive public spaces
      Streets should strive to be vibrant and attractive public spaces where people want to spend time engaging in social, civic, and recreational activities. Streets should be beautiful, attractive and inviting spaces that encourage investment, and promote a sense of civic pride.
    • Streets should improve the city’s environmental sustainability by enhancing the tree canopy and landscaping, reducing urban heat island effects, reducing stormwater runoff, reducing energy consumption, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

      We expect that the permanent installation will incorporate an integrated and high-quality public realm, tree planting and landscape design befitting a Complete Street, and that landscape plans for development applications along Yonge Street be reviewed to ensure they contribute to and complement the design.
  3. Maintain and enforce safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists at construction sites along the Yonge Midtown Complete Street. Without these safeguards, the goals of the Complete Street will be undermined and vulnerable road users placed at risk. The two developments presently under construction along the pilot area – One Delisle and The James – have both left the Yonge street sidewalks and bike lanes untouched and clear for safe passage for walkers and wheelers. This standard should be required for all new construction sites.

The Yonge Midtown corridor is a vibrant and integral part of the lives of our residents.  We look forward to continued involvement to help it succeed as a Complete Street for all users.

Yours truly,

Ian Carmichael, Co-Chair
The ABC Residents Association
CC: Chair and Members, Infrastructure and Environment Committee,
Karina Fortin, Senior Project Manager, Cycling & Pedestrian Projects Transportation Services

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