New patios, bike lanes and more are already in the works on Yonge Street for this summer.
One of the busiest streets in Toronto is getting a new look, and there are plans to make Yonge Street more pedestrian this summer, and within the next few years.
On March 23rd 2021, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee adopted ActiveTO’s Complete Street Pilot project with amendments. On April 7th, the project was also considered and then adopted by the City Council. And on February 3rd, the City Council also approved the next steps for the YongeTOmorrow project.
ActiveTO is an initiative created during the pandemic that gained great popularity when it launched in 2020. When the pandemic struck last year, many encouraged people to exercise outdoors for their physical and mental health. ActiveTO wanted to make sure that people could do that while physical distancing and reducing the spread of Covid-19. Some changes included creating more space for bicycles and closing off roads to car circulation, along Yonge Street.
The City Council voted to bring it back this year through Downtown and Midtown, from Bloor Street to Davisville Avenue.
YongeTOmorrow is “10 years in the making”, according to City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, one of the project’s fiercest advocates. The ultimate goal is to make Yonge Street a reimagined urban hub between Queen Street and College Street. This project has gained public support as well. The suggested changes include wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, benches and patios.
Construction on Yonge was inevitable since the water main under it needs to be replaced. It was a great opportunity for the city to explore public realm improvements. The changes along Yonge Street, like the ones that made NYC’s Broadway St completely pedestrian, aim to make it better and safer for pedestrians, cyclists and visitors alike.
ActiveTO will be implemented this summer. YongeTOmorrow is in the Detailed Design phase which will span until 2023 when construction is scheduled to begin.
[Featured Image Source: Kristyn Wong-Tam via Twitter]