Ever since City Council absent-mindedly agreed to let Astral Media redesign their information pillars last summer, and then realized how obnoxious they were once they started to be installed in the fall, it has been trying to find a way to rectify or at least alleviate the problem.
The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, to its credit, last fall admitted it made a mistake and asked staff to find ways to at least manage their installation better. At PWIC’s meeting this week, staff presented their report and proposed guidelines (PDF). It was pretty clear that the City cannot get the pillars redesigned again (without taking a financial hit, that is), but the report did propose some guidelines to improve their placement. Deputants such as the Harbord Village Residents’ Association and People Plan Toronto, however, argued that the proposed guidelines had some weaknesses.
Again to its credit, the councillors on the PWIC directed staff to strengthen the rules governing the placement of these pillars, all in ways that are reasonable. They said the info pillar guidelines should ensure that:
• they are restricted to the furnishing/planting zone of the sidewalk and do not intrude at all into the pedestrian clearway (the space where people walk),
• they do not block sightlines for cyclists, pedestrians or drivers,
• any displaced bike parking ring-and-posts are replaced nearby immediately, and
• they are not overly concentrated in any particular ward of Toronto (maximum of 20% in any one ward).
While the pillars will still be useless and annoying, these guidelines would certainly make the best of a bad situation and mitigate their impact somewhat.