[URBAN NOTE] “Yonge Loves Pedestrians”
Torontoist’s Stephanie DePetrillo describes a recent meeting about making Yonge Street more pedestrian-friendly.
It’s finally time for a “big, bold, and beautiful” plan for Yonge Street that would allocate large parts strictly for pedestrians.
At the Yonge Love meet-up Wednesday night, some big ideas were presented to a packed atrium at the Ryerson City Building Institute. The goal is to attract people back to the area with space for foot traffic, street-level shops, and a focus on making side streets and laneways more vibrant.
“Evolving cities need to go through this kind of a process,” said Jennifer Keesmaat, the chief planner for the City of Toronto. “Yonge Street is going to function in a very different way in the future than how it has functioned in the past and, as a result, the alignment of the street needs to shift and change.”
During the discussion, panellists weighed in on some tricky issues like safety and transportation, a potential pilot project along King Street, and failed attempts in the past to make Yonge Street pedestrian friendly. Even autonomous vehicles were brought up by a member of the crowd to add to the list of things to consider for a project this bold.
“It really feels like déjà vu all over again,” said urban designer Ken Greenberg, referring to the previous Yonge Street project that was kiboshed by City Council.