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Monday, May 25, 2020

Toronto proposing pilot project to support businesses and make space on the Danforth

As Toronto continues the process of gradually reopening in the midst of the global pandemic, a host of new projects are being proposed in order to make the city more livable while we adapt to the temporary new normal. 

Just this morning the City announced a proposal to create 40 km of new bike lanes and cycle tracks across the city as a part of ActiveTO, some of which would be installed on the Danforth. 

But according to a news release from City Councillor Brad Bradford, that's not even close to all that's being proposed for the area. 

Bradford announced today that the City is proposing to spend approximately $4 million this summer to create more public spaces and patios, beautify streets and pilot active transportation infrastructure on the Danforth from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road. 

The report on this matter is set to go before City Council on Thursday, and it includes a recommendation from Toronto's Economic Development & Culture and Transportation Services departments, with the support of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, to implement a plan to support the COVID-19 recovery on Danforth and provide a "safety valve" for the TTC customers on the Bloor-Danforth TTC line. 

According to Bradford, the City will encourage residents to use the Danforth as a destination by introducing street beautification initiatives, creating patio spaces and adding infrastructure so people can safely walk, bike and drive through.

"This proposal is city building at its best. We are taking the Danforth Study — something council initiated in 2018 — and adapting it quickly and effectively to our current needs," wrote Bradford on his website.

"Investing in this active transportation infrastructure is also about creating a healthy recovery, not just from the virus but for our long term physical and mental health, and the health and sustainability of our environment." 

On-street parking on both sides of Danforth would be maintained under this pilot proposal, and turning lanes would be introduced at intersections to help the flow of traffic, allow for additional space for patios to support local restaurants and give businesses the space needed to reopen as quickly and safely as possible. 

According to Bradford, there were as many as 13,000 pedestrians and 27,000 subway boardings on Danforth every day before the pandemic began, and this new pilot project is an attempt to bring people back to the area safely and quickly. 

"DECA has long supported a Complete Street vision for the Danforth; one that prioritizes safety for pedestrians of all ages, cyclists, public transit users and drivers," said Audrey Kvedaras, vice-chair of the Danforth East Community Association, in a statement.

"The entire community benefits when our main street is vibrant, inclusive and a safe destination. By making a more spacious, attractive and accessible Danforth at this time, businesses and east enders can follow the new community health guidelines as we transition to a vibrant and healthy new normal."

by Mira Miller via blogTO

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