A two-year study and extensive consultation have shaped the plan to "REimagine" Yonge Street in North York Centre, and the public is being given one last chance to voice feedback and concerns next week. In the latest City report on the plan to reshape North York's central thoroughfare, staff have again recommended the ambitious “Transform Yonge” option. If approved, this plan would remove a lane of traffic from each side of the street, turning the stretch of Yonge between Sheppard and Finch avenues into a wide boulevard with protected bike lanes, trees, a widened pedestrian realm, and better opportunities for outdoor cafes and patios.
In addition to being repeatedly pushed forward by City planning staff, the Transform option has been endorsed by some big names in the world of urban planning, including city building experts Ken Greenberg and Richard Peddie and Director of Cities at U of T, Richard Florida, and received the support of former Toronto City Chief Planners Jennifer Keesmaat and Paul Bedford.
The staff recommendation for the Transform option went before the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) in January, though the meeting had to finish before all members of the public were able to deliver there feedback. That meeting will continue on Tuesday, February 27th, beginning at 9:30 AM in Committee Room 1 at City Hall, giving people one final chance to have their say.
Following the PWIC meeting next Tuesday, the plan will next face City Council at its March 26-27 meeting. Despite the overwhelming support from planning staff, local Ward 23 Councillor John Filion, industry experts, and various organizations, the Council vote is expected to be quite close. Some of the firmly entrenched suburban councillors will likely treat this as another battle in the supposed "war on the car" rather than seeing it for the rare opportunity it is, while Mayor John Tory also seems to be bowing before the perceived suburban voting block.
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