KEESMAAT ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR PLAN TO TRANSFORM YONGE STREET INTO A VIBRANT AND BUSTLING MAIN STREET, SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES AND A CLEANER, GREENER COMMUNITY
TORONTO — OCT. 9, 2018: Today, Jennifer Keesmaat announced that as Mayor she would support a plan to transform Yonge St. from Sheppard to Finch into a vibrant and unique urban destination in the heart of North York.
“North York Centre was always envisioned as a vibrant urban destination that attracts people from all over the city, but we need to make the right city-building choices to make that dream a reality. We can create a street that is an attractive place to walk, drive, and bike, as well as to work, live, and shop, but we have to have the vision to deliver on that potential. As Mayor, I will support the Transform Yonge proposal because it accomplishes these goals,” said Keesmaat.
Yonge Street is at the end of its lifespan and requires reconstruction to address deficiencies. It has also been the site of an alarming number of collisions, many of which were a result of the street’s poor design; there have been almost 2,000 collisions along this stretch over the period studied by experts, including 110 pedestrians and 22 cyclists who were struck by vehicles. There have also been 1,884 collisions involving drivers alone.
Transform Yonge was developed after a two-year consultation process with residents and businesses. Mayor Tory has publicly supported an alternative plan for this stretch of Yonge that experts have concluded is less preferred to the Transform Yonge proposal in terms of safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers; provides less support for mainstreet retail businesses; and includes a longer and more disruptive construction timeline. Tory’s plan also costs $20 million more, despite offering worse outcomes, and results in no significant difference for traffic flow in the future.
“As with his decision to prop up a failing elevated section of the Gardiner East, Mayor Tory has again demonstrated a clear lack of vision for how to build 21st-century neighbourhoods that prioritize vibrant main streets and safety for all road users, instead choosing to spend more taxpayer dollars on approaches with less desirable outcomes for people and businesses,” Keesmaat said.
“We can choose a better future for North York Centre that accommodates for growth; today, there are 56,000 people living within walking distance, and that number is projected to grow to 100,000 people in the coming years. By building an attractive and green pedestrian promenade, wider sidewalks and safer crossings, beautiful landscaped medians, and new public spaces in front of shops and restaurants, we can make this place a destination, rather than a thoroughfare.”