villiers island toronto

New Toronto neighbourhood will have a street where cars are banned

Even if a few people feel the designs for Toronto's Villiers Island neighbourhood are still too car-centric, it looks like the city's future precinct in the Port Lands will be home to swaths of pedestrian priority areas, including at least one street designated as fully car-free.

Blueprints for the new community show that the district's main roads will be sidewalk heavy, with 15 per to 35 per cent of total street space dedicated to pedestrians, compared to 15-17 per cent for cars (with the exception of Foundry Street, which will be 35 per cent sidewalk and 33 per cent combined car and bike lanes).

Excerpts from one document shared by Walk Toronto on X this week depict Centre Street — the main thoroughfare running the new island's length from east to west — officially identified as "pedestrian priority," with sidewalks of up to 4 m in width and only a single lane of one-way car traffic.

Meanwhile, half of Cherry Street between Centre and Villiers streets will be completely "non-vehicular."

This segment, called Old Cherry Street, will only provide access to emergency motor vehicles, with 45 per cent of the roadway serving as a sidewalk, and 31 per cent as a space for walking and biking (and fire route when necessary).

Adding to the public realm, between 20 and 34 per cent of all of the aforementioned arteries will be taken up by local flora, in line with the vision for Villiers as a sustainable, green and climate positive space on the water.

While some residents are encouraged by stakeholders' continued efforts to include public feedback in their developing drafts, others still believe that the area could do with more pedestrianization — after all, we have the opportunity to build it in an entirely new way from the rest of the city from the ground up.

The artificial island community, a pioneering project in eco-engineering and urban planning, will bring dozens of hectares of residential, office and commercial space to the underused Port Lands, all while renaturalizing the mouth of the Don River and better protecting our lands against flooding.

Lead photo by

Waterfront Toronto

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