As the city of Toronto continues to review its COVID-19 pilot projects, one community group is advocating for its own to become a permanent fixture.
Yonge4All is generating support to convince the city of Toronto to make the Midtown Complete Street Pilot Project permanent, citing its success and strong reception from residents.
“The goal of Yonge4All was to represent the many residents. both in the immediate neighbourhood and those further away in Toronto who would often visit the shops and services along Yonge,” said Robin Richardson, a volunteer with the community group.
The group was formed in summer 2022 to rally support from its community, advocate groups and organizations to keep the areas from Yonge St. and Davisville Ave. more accessible and pedestrian-friendly.
without completely ignoring the needs of drivers.
“We started a petition, and started talking to individuals,” said Richardson. “We spoke to thousands of people up and down the Yonge St. corridor.”
Through city initiatives like ActiveTO and CafeTO, Yonge St. was transformed to promote local support for businesses and support, as well as reconnect midtown with the wider city cycling network.
According to a staff report from the city, up to 132 per cent of people were walking more, 180 per cent up tick in cycling and vehicle volumes declined by about 11 per cent.
When the project went to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Richardson said the petition garnered more than 8,000 signatures in January. Several of the signatures included a mix of residents in the pilot area, as well as individuals that came to the area for shopping and services.
In addition to the resident support, Yonge4All is supported by 12 city-wide environmental and advocacy groups and 43 businesses and city builders.
While Toronto continues its transition period amid the pandemic, Richardson said the emphasis remains advocating for the continued support of local businesses and pedestrian accessibility, which she hopes will be a new normal for both midtown and other communities around the city.
“Having the approval of the Infrastructure and Environmental Committee was the first and very important step,” she said. “They did vote unanimously to recommend to the city that the full city council also approve it and make it permanent.”
The final decision on whether the Midtown Complete Street Pilot Project becomes permanent is expected to finalized in the coming days.
Listen to CJRU’s interview with Robin Richardson of Yonge4All: