2023 has been a momentous and exciting year for the City. After thirteen years, the City has elected a progressive mayor, who recognizes the needs of Torontonians and, in less than six months, has been able to secure funds from the federal government for refugees in shelter systems and negotiate a new deal with the provincial government to ease some of the budgetary pressures and bring the City closer to long-term fiscal stability.
This year, I had the privilege of being asked to Chair the Planning and Housing Committee. Through the P&H committee, we introduced a transformative housing report which identifies the City as a public builder of affordable housing while finding ways to support Indigenous, not-for-profit and co-op housing sectors. I look forward to our federal and provincial governments joining us as we reimagine the road map to achieving housing justice.
As we celebrate the holiday season, I hope to continue working with you in 2024 towards a more compassionate and just Toronto.
Bloor Bike Lanes
The last few months have seen the expansion of the Bloor Bike Lanes and Complete Streets project, expanding the installation from Runnymede Rd into the neighbourhoods across the river to our west. The new bike lanes mark a dramatic step up in safety for cyclists and pedestrians while linking the Bloor West neighbourhood into the city's larger bike network to enable swifter and safer travel. Further work on refining the setup, including quashing problems that have arisen, implementing slight reorganizations, and fine-tuning traffic signalization, continues.
Improvements to Parkside Drive continued this year with the new traffic signal that was installed at the High Park Trail intersection, the improved lighting in the City-owned underpass (The Queensway), and the activation of the paid parking (Green P) in the southbound curb lane between Spring Road and High Park Trail. The Phase II Public Consultation event and survey on the future of Parkside Drive will be launching early in the new year.
Traffic Calming Policy
There has been an update on the Vision Zero Road Safety Initiatives and Traffic Calming Policy. This report dealt with a number of traffic-related items and included a revised Traffic Calming Policy. For instance, the warrants for Traffic Calming on a residential street are now based on the posted speed limit instead of the standard 40 km/h. This should help local streets in need of additional calming measures. The Traffic Operations division is currently in the process of training staff and updating their warrants/procedures to reflect the updated policy.
Speed Limit on Arterial Roads
A motion to reduce the speed limit on arterialroads to 40KM in Ward 4 (with the exception of Lake Shore Boulevard) was approved. This is an important step in the City's on-going work to implement Vision Zero and improve road Although there are sections of arterial roads in our ward that are already posted as 40 km/h due to the proximity of schools, there were still arterial roads posted as 50 km/h. The intent of this motion is to provide consistency, improve safety and protect the most vulnerable road users. Installation of the new 40KM signs are currently taking place and will continue in to the new year.
High Park Movement Strategy
In May, City Council approved the High Park Movement Strategy (HPMS) final report and implementation plan, which aims to make the park safer and accessible for all users without reliance on private vehicles. The Council-approved strategy maintains car-free days on Saturday, Sunday and holiday weekdays, while directing staff to work towards achieving a car-free High Park as the long-term strategy in alignment with the City's commitments to Vision Zero, improved urban design, and encouraging more sustainable modes of transportation. The HPMS is being implemented in phases. Beginning in August, a number of changes to the travel network in High Park were implemented as the first phase of implementation. These initial changes focused on improving road user safety through implementing permanent car-free routes, dedicated bike lanes on shared routes, changes to how motor vehicles can enter, exit, and travel through the park and changes to parking configurations and parking capacities.
As the City work towards achieving a car-free High Park, we recognize that accessibility concerns need to be addressed. There are measures the City can introduce to ensure that the park remains accessible. The City is exploring solutions such as expanding the TTC bus route that serves the park and introducing a year-round accessible shuttle service to key destinations within the park. I appreciate all of the community interest and feedback that has been shared to help shape the HPMS, and will continue to keep you updated as this work moves forward.
11 Brock Ave
As part of the Federal Rapid Housing Initiative, $21.6 million in capital funding will be invested in 40 new rent-geared-to-income and supportive homes at 11 Brock Avenue. The site will have a four-storey building, providing approximately 40 homes for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The site was purchased by the City from the Province in 2019 and will be operated by an experienced not-for-profit housing provider. We will keep you in the loop as the Request for Proposals for non-profits are issued and further information becomes available.
The Parkdale Hub site was approved as part of the Housing Now Initiative to advance the affordable rental housing component of the project. The Official Plan and Zoning by-law amendments as well as the rental housing demolition application approvals were granted by the Council. The proposal is to build at least 231 new rental housing units of which 30 – 50% will be affordable units. The project team also continues to work to advance the goal of coordinating City owned sites to create new safe, inclusive and accessible community spaces.
I'm happy to share that both Lambton Park and Florence Gell Park saw the completion of playground improvement projects this year. These projects implemented new designs and modern equipment at the playgrounds to ensure they provide safe and accessible fun for many years to come. The final playground design and layout at both of these parks were determined using feedback from the community. The redesigned playground at Lambton Park includes separate junior and senior play structures, a stand-alone junior climber, and a swing set. The new Florence Gell Park playground opened in November and includes separate junior and senior play structures, a swing set, a rope climbing structure, a spinning bowl, accessible play panels, accessible sand desk, rock boulders and wood logs.
The newly improved Lambton Park Playground
The newly improved Florence Gell Park Playground
In 2024, I look forward to having another community driven vision for playground improvements take shape at Magwood Park.
- Baby Point Heritage Conservation District Study Update
- Roncesvalles Avenue Accessibility Update
Baby Point Heritage Conservation District Study Update
The Baby Point Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Plan study area includes the Baby Point neighbourhood and it is located on a promontory overlooking the Humber River and its ravine and valley lands used for parks, north of Bloor Street West.
The City is keen to get input from Baby Point community members through a series of virtual sessions happening in February 2024. More information on the meeting and the project is available on the City's website:Baby Point Heritage Conservation District Plan – City of Toronto
Roncesvalles Ave will be fully accessible to all low-floor streetcar
Starting Monday, December 18, 2023, Roncesvalles Ave will be fully accessible to all low-floor streetcars. 504 King replacement bus service between Dundas West Station and Roncesvalles and King Street will no longer operate as of Tuesday, December 19, 2023. While we update our systems, customers may hear announcements that stops are not accessible. All streetcars will be updated throughout the week.