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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Wednesday’s headlines

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• Councillor seeks to restore program cuts with new-found surplus [Globe & Mail]
• Clash expected at council Wednesday [The Sun]
• Ford loses vote on outside planners [Globe & Mail]
• Ford, council are all right, Crombie says [The Sun]

• Mayor Rob Ford loses vote on OMB appeal funding [The Star]
• Ford won’t attend gay outreach event at City Hall [Globe & Mail]
• Mayor cuts out after not cutting weight [The Sun]
• Rob Ford’s gay outreach snub reminds us of a different Toronto [OpenFile]

• Falling concrete on Gardiner causes infrastructure headaches [The Star]
• Vaughan proposes tolls to keep Gardiner in good repair [The Sun]
• Yonge, Bay to go one-way? [The Sun]
• Wider sidewalks, one-way traffic floated as ways to improve Yonge Street [Globe & Mail]
• Downtown Yonge BIA wants pedestrian fairs, Public Works chair wants cars [OpenFile]
• City councillor proposes turning Yonge and Bay into one-way streets to fight traffic congestion [National Post]
• OpenRoad: Slower speeds could speed up travel times. Really [OpenFile]
• Pearson International is Canada’s worst airport, again [National Post]

• New Public housing boss readies himself to clean up after turbulent year [Globe & Mail]
• TCHC reaches across border to pick a new CEO [The Star]

• Q&A: From toy car to Toronto condo? Charles Moffat tries to make the trade [National Post]
• TOjam at the heart of Toronto’s indie-game scene [National Post]
• A beautiful day in Rob Ford’s neighbourhood  [The Grid]

One comment

  1. I expect my comment won’t be liked by most spacing folks, but here is my take on the Yonge-Bay proposals:

    Wong-Tam’s proposal makes sense. It is definitely an improvement over current situation. Yonge is unused by car traffic anyway, and it is practically one lane each way today anyway due to illegal parking/stopping. Give that space back to peds just make sense.

    But Minnan Wong’s proposal sounds like a good idea to me too. I heard all the cries about turning Yonge and Bay into highway, but I think it is overacting. Look at it this way, the proposal will take 2-3 car traffic lanes away and give them to peds/cyclists, that is a definite improvement. The fear of speeding cars are overblown. Even with one-way street there are many calming mechanism that can slow cars down. The frequency of lights along Yonge is already a big deterrent. Other calming methods (such as raised crosswalk which serves as speed bumps)can also be implemented to make sure car traffice does not go over speed limit. The lanes can be narrower (unlike the wide lanes on Adelaide/Richmond) which also tends to slow the drivers down.

    Some implementation details. I’d like to see Yonge becoming two-lane south-bound, which receive most traffic in the morning rush when there is less foot traffic. Bay can be a three-lane north bound to handle afternoon rush. A one-way separated bikelane on both streets, wider sidewalk, a few dedicated delivery parking spots with 15 minutes limits and strict enforcement. And traffic calming measures as mentioned about (admitted the chances that Ford’s team will be open to more traffic calming measures are slim). That should bring improvements for all users of the streets. 

    There seems to be a general fear that one-way streets will kill downtown and make the streets hostile to peds. I disagree. NYC and Montreal both have a lot of one-way streets downtown, but that does not seem to affect the vitality of the two cities. If anything, I’d prefer jaywalking across one-way streets much better than a two-way streets, even if the traffic speed tends to be higher. With the downtown density, turning streets into one-way are the most likely ways to take some spaces from cars to other modes (peds/bikes/separate transit lanes), and we should not shy away from exploring such possibilities.