Major changes are coming to the Danforth but not everyone is on board
Some large-scale plans proposed for the Danforth area were presented last night at a packed community meeting that was open to the public, resulting in a lot of commotion about what the neighbourhood's future should look like.
The City of Toronto has been studying Danforth Avenue and taking local input into account, considering factors like walkability and street safety, economic viability, future development and more along the thoroughfare.
Residents have indicated that things like adding affordable housing, bike lanes, crosswalks, traffic control measures, better urban design, accessibility and sustainability measures in the face of climate change are of key importance to them.
Great turnout for the #DanforthStudy open house last night. We're building a complete street, addressing the retail challenges, and identifying future city-building opportunities. The Danforth belongs to the community - your feedback is crucial to get this right. pic.twitter.com/rzMdtkmCDF— Brad Bradford✌️ (@BradMBradford) January 28, 2020
Unfortunately, as can be expected with these types of things, there has been a lot of disagreement about what the City should prioritize as far as changes to the east-side neighbourhood.
Bike lanes and future building projects seem to be among the most contentious topics.
A bike lane was built on a portion of the road as a pilot in 2016, and according to the study, yielded positive results for Danforth businesses while also lending itself to the City's Vision Zero campaign to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Cyclist activist groups are very much behind the idea of making bike lanes a permanent fixture across all of the Danforth, but some neighbours disagree and many local businesses are worried about the lanes' potential impact on street parking, which is "essential to their business model."
Hey #Danforth business / restaurant owners upset at proposed new bike lanes in your hood. Just sayin', cyclists also have wallets with money in it. Money they'd love to give you if they weren't afraid to get run over on your street. Money to buy new pearls to clutch.— Marcel St. Pierre (@shortweird) January 28, 2020
Residents have also suggested slower paced, restricted development in the area — something that others point out simply may not be realistic in a rapidly growing metropolis that is currently facing a housing crisis.
All of these people are now going to feel that a six story building, surrounded by houses, on top of a subway, is an appropriate level of density. In a city region of 7 million with a housing crisis. https://t.co/vHjXCzpygD— Alex Bozikovic (@alexbozikovic) January 28, 2020
The street and planning study, which examines the stretch between Broadview and Victoria Park, will be completed at the end of 2021. Its findings will be integrated into the City's future guidelines and plans for the neighbourhood.
A number of other public meetings will be held throughout this year and next, so Danforth dwellers will still have plenty chance to make their suggestions (and air their grievances).
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