Yonge street

What about reducing car lanes on downtown Yonge?

Toronto has a long love affair with the idea of making downtown Yonge St. more of a public space than merely a thoroughfare, and once in a while we actually try it out. Last Sunday the first Open Streets TO revived a plan first hatched in the 1970s to turn the street into a pedestrian mall. The latest proposal to reimagine the street comes courtesy of Richard Valenzona, who would reduce two lanes of traffic and eliminate the curb to create a promenade featuring additional pedestrian and patio space.

Naturally, a reduction of two lanes of traffic would be controversial, but what's interesting about this proposal is that it's not completely pie in the sky. As winner of the inaugural NXT City Prize, Valenzona has the backing of Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmat to explore the idea. He's just won $5,000 with the top design in the competition, which also provides access to a group of working professionals and an additional $10,000 to get his plan actualized. That's still probably not enough to make something so radical happen in Toronto, but one suspects it'll be good enough to keep the conversation going.

Have a look at his full proposal here.


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