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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

DIPS and other fun at City Hall

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Toronto Streets

New local street standards for Toronto

A joint committee of Works and Planning today considered the “DIPS” report from staff which sets standards for future new local streets in Toronto.

Although there was an extensive consultation process, which clearly sent the message that citizens want streets to be pedestrian-friendly, few of the citizen or pedestrian recommendations made it into the final report. Some of the key problems are:

  • — The road widths proposed are very wide — a minimum of 8.0 meters, up to 8.5 meters. This is much wider than existing streets in the older parts of Toronto, and it is well-established that wide streets encourage traffic to speed. It also takes away space from sidewalks and trees. Staff have informally made it clear that these wide streets are being forced by the fire department — no-one else, either developers, planners, residents or pedestrians, wants wide streets in residential areas.
  • — The “minor” street option with a narrow right-of-way — which will be the most commonly used by developers — does not allow enough space for trees to grow to their full maturity — despite the fact that the public’s strongest demand in consultations was for mature trees.
  • — There is a street option that allows for no sidewalk on one side of the road, contrary to the strong recommendation of pedestrian groups.

Encouragingly, the councillors on the committee made several motions and amendments to try to alleviate some of these issues.

Gould Street Pedestrianization

Ryerson University is trying to get the City to pedestrianize Gould Street due to the heavy student pedestrian traffic and its central location at the heart of the campus. NOW magazine reports that the city is resisting (scroll down).

Park Politics

Royson James has a depressing column today about how funds to revitalize parks in Rexdale have ended up in the hands of those parks least in need.