Following up on the post about this last week, you can now get involved and help save the Re-Imagining Yonge Project from an arbitrary and baseless budget cut proposal that will only endanger lives, in direct odds with Toronto’s adoption of Vision Zero.
Cycle Toronto has sent out the following Action Alert (and I’ve included email and more information below, again courtesy of Cycle Toronto, as it doesn’t seem to be on their website yet):
Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, Residents Associations and local residents were expecting discussion of Re-Imagining Yonge (Sheppard to Finch) at the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee this quarter. If approved, Re-Imagining Yonge would widen sidewalks, build separated bike lanes, and beautify the public realm on this bustling section of Yonge Street north of Highway 401.
We were shocked to learn this week that Toronto’s Executive Committee supported a motion by Councillor David Shiner to slash $4 million from proposed funding that would make Re-imagining Yonge Street possible. The vote defers consideration of the Re-imagining Yonge Street Sheppard to Finch capital project to 2018.
We are deeply concerned that this delay could kill the project altogether.
Action Alert: Write Mayor Tory Now to Reinstate Re-Imagining Yonge
Instructions: Email the above contacts. Be sure to include EX22.2 in the subject line. Creativity matters. Include your personal story. Consider including your mailing address; it carries more weight.
Deadline: Please write Mayor Tory and your councillor by Wednesday February 15 at 9:00am.
Background: Top 5 reasons to reinstate the project now!
1) Re-Imagining Yonge is essential to Toronto’s Vision Zero goal for a safer city.
Last year, Toronto committed to Vision Zero. However, the current configuration of Yonge St does not support an appropriate balance of safety and traffic throughput for its current and future context as a bustling downtown environment. One study noted a total of 66 pedestrian/cyclist injuries from 2012 to 2014 on this section of Yonge St., and this figure only includes injuries that were formally reported and documented. Three of these injuries were classified as KSI (killed or seriously injured) including one fatal pedestrian injury. The study also found a total of 1,070 vehicle collisions. The Re-Imagining Yonge proposal is focused on improving safety for all users.
2) Massive population growth requires rebalancing the public space
There has been massive population growth in this area of Toronto as many large condo and mixed-use towers are continually being built along the subway line. The population density here is comparable to downtown, and has resulted in very high pedestrian volumes including families with children accessing downtown North York’s civic centre, library, schools, restaurants, and many other amenities. Unfortunately, Yonge St is currently an unwelcoming place to walk or ride a bike and also has documented safety deficiencies.
The Re-Imagining Yonge proposal includes many improvements to the public space along Yonge St. The old, narrow, and crumbling sidewalks would be replaced with new, wider sidewalks. Improved street furniture and landscaping would be added while maintaining some existing mature trees. Enhancements would also be made to three existing public squares adjacent to the street. All of these changes will greatly enhance the public experience of the many people who travel, work, and live in this community each day. This beautified and enhanced active transportation realm would also greatly benefit the high number of small businesses along and adjacent to Yonge Street.
3) Deferring Re-Imagining Yonge could cost the City $2 million
Thanks to funding through the Federal Government’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), 50% of the $4 million earmarked for Re-Imagining Yonge is paid for by the Feds. Deferring this project to the future means that we won’t have that money to help pay for this much needed piece of the City’s infrastructure.
4) Unlocking cycling’s potential in North York
Yonge north of the 401 is a key part of Toronto’s 10 year bike plan approved in June and moves towards the Minimum Grid of cycling infrastructure that we need to be a world-class cycling city. The north end of the proposed cycle tracks are at Bishop Avenue, which would include a direct connection to the existing Finch Hydro Corridor trail. This trail runs east-west from beyond the Don River all the way to Jane St, forming safe connections to many destinations including York University. With Re-Imagining Yonge’s implementation, a student living at Yonge & Sheppard could safely ride their bike to York University on safe, entirely separated bike infrastructure. Beyond the areas that the cycling network in North York currently supports, Re-Imagining Yonge’s connection to Finch station also provides connections to the subway, TTC bus routes, York Regional Transit bus routes and regional GO transit.
5) Public support
Over 2,000 people have signed the Yonge Loves Bikes pledge already! Earlier this summer we held a brief tabling session at Mel Lastman Square, where over 120 people signed the pledge in less than 2 hours and signers were overwhelmingly positive about making Yonge a more inviting and safer place for everyone!