Yonge Street

Yonge St. likely to become more pedestrian friendly

A new report on the future of downtown Yonge St. calls for a host of changes to Toronto's central thoroughfare in an effort to make it more pedestrian friendly. It's not the first time such steps have been recommended, but the picture painted by the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area's Yonge Love study (PFF) seems to indicate support for such initiatives from a variety of stakeholders.

The result of extensive public consultations, the recently published study finds that the top priorities for the Yonge corridor all involve a reduction in vehicular traffic: 17 per cent of respondents called for pedestrian-only weekends, 16 per cent cited a need for bike lanes, while 15 per cent requested wider sidewalks.

The plan is to revitalize Yonge over the next five years, starting when the road is ripped up to install new water mains south of Davenport in 2016. The idea of reducing traffic lanes is one that's being taken very seriously, particularly as previous experiments have proven successful.

The call to better pedestrianize the street dates back to 2011 when Ken Greenberg and Marianne McKenna helped to author the Yonge Street Planning Framework, to which Yonge Love is related as part of the public consultation process. In other words, this has been in the works for a long time, and has lots of support.

The city still has to conduct an environmental assessment before any recommendations could be implemented and city council would have to vote on any significant changes, but the future of Yonge St. as a more pedestrian friendly zone is more and more likely.

Photo by Dominic Bugatto in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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