The Anne Johnston Courtyard in the MintoMidtown condo complex is an example of Toronto’s Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Space. Finished in 2008, it gives mid-town residents access to a lovely outdoor space with seating, trees and a water features.
On February 16th Metro Morning interviewed Fiona Chapman, the Toronto’s manager of pedestrian projects about city’s plans to add more sidewalks to the streets that currently lack them. For full interview click here.
Looking at the city’s sidewalk inventory it’s easy to see how some parts of the city (older, pre-car parts) have a more comprehensive sidewalk system. Installing sidewalks in areas that are lacking them might seem like an easy, uncontroversial idea. However, there are surprisingly many residents who are against this as several Toronto cases demonstrate: Midland Avenue, Chillery Avenue and Celine Drive.
If you ever walked along Yonge Street between College Street and Bloor Street, you probably thought “this street could be so much better”. Improving pedestrian space by removing car lanes, adding more public infrastructure like benches and giving some TLC to historic buildings along this stretch of the street would go a long way.
In the summer of 2012 the local BIA ran a pilot project of closing sections of car lanes and converting them for pedestrian use. In my opinion, this was a very good initiative. Sadly, it seems, so far, to be a one-off thing.
Emphasizing the historic nature of the street would also be an improvement. A very interesting “Historic Yonge Street” report was just released by the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Services. I hope at least some of the suggestions in the report will be implemented in the near future.