lawrence avenue east

Student is taking it upon himself to improve a major Toronto street

One student in Toronto is embarking on a new campaign to create a safer and better Lawrence Avenue East. 

The project, developed by University of Waterloo student Hafeez A., is called "The Lawrence East Prospect" and seeks to re-imagine some of the issues currently faced by pedestrians, motorists and cyclists along the busy corridor. 

The advocacy campaign outlines a series of safety concerns with the major road, including lack of bike lanes, narrow sidewalks, unreliable bus service, and a high amount of driveways. 

In a video uploaded to Twitter, Hafeez summarizes the major findings of the project and outlines several solutions that can transform Lawrence into a street that serves everyone. 

"Lawrence Avenue is being resurfaced sometime late next year, from Victoria Park Avenue to Warden Avenue, and it's great that it's being smoothed out," Hafeez said. "It is a wasted opportunity by the city to make things even slightly better." 

The student then takes viewers through some of the major obstacles experienced by commuters along the busy strip on a daily basis, including the unsuitable speed limit, and lack of bike lanes. 

"Your only options for biking on Lawrence Avenue is to ride on the road with the drivers or take the super narrow sidewalk, which is inconvenient and illegal," Hafeez explained. "Lawrence Avenue ranks some of the highest suburban cycling demand in the city, yet there's no cycling infrastructure whatsoever." 

Lawrence Avenue East also runs through Wexford Heights, an area Hafeez says is culturally diverse and full of unique businesses, but it's stuck in an uninviting and dull streetscape. 

"When you have such a wide road, you have so much opportunity, but the city isn't interested, but I am interested," he said. "Business owners are interested, residents are interested, let's start that conversation now." 

Some of the potential design features included in the project's renderings include reduced road lane widths, consolidation of driveways, protected bike lanes, transit priority, widened sidewalks, and street furniture. 

For now, the campaign is focusing on distributing flyers and getting the word out to local residents and business owners. 

Once traction picks up, the campaign plans on pushing to get further community involvement and ultimately discussing solutions with city staff. 

You can read more about The Lawrence Prospect here

Lead photo by

Hafeez A. 


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