Imagine taking a stroll down Yonge Street, walking past Dundas-Square and not seeing a car in sight. Weird right? Well, that's what one Toronto Yonge Street project, yongeTOmorrow, aims to do after an increase in pedestrian demand in the area.
The project considers redesigning Yonge Street, between Queen Street and Carlton/College Street, to make it more pedestrian-friendly by eliminating vehicle traffic. With the subway being readily available in the area, as well as a lot of retail stores along the street, the necessity for cars is not a high demand as it once was. With this recent update, this could soon become a reality.
According to the recent update issued by the city, "the number of pedestrians on the street is expected to grow due to a projected doubling in population and employment in the surrounding area by 2041 along with a continued mode shift towards walking."
Yonge Street itself also seems to have insufficient space for "seating, plantings, and sidewalk cafes," as mentioned in the report, which supports the growing amount of pedestrians in the area.
Matt Elliot, a city columnist for Toronto, shared a tweet on the project, highlighting that it'll cost "$47.1 million with construction finished by 2027," in order to make this project a reality.
"Here’s an update report on the yongeTOmorrow project, which will redesign Yonge Street to better accommodate the huge number of pedestrians. Preferred solution TBD, but estimated to cost $47.1 million with construction finished by 2027," reads Elliot's tweet.
The report notes that the design and operation of Yonge Street have actually remained the same since the early 1900s.
There are currently over 8500 proposed condo units within the Study Area, according to the report. "City Planning expects 400 residents and jobs per hectare by 2031 and projections anticipate the current population and employment numbers to further double by 2041," highlights the report as well.
"The number of pedestrians on the street is expected to grow due to a projected doubling of population and employment by 2041! That’s a lot of people moving through the Downtown Yonge neighborhood!" reads a tweet by Downtown Yonge BIA.
Jennifer Keesmaat, CEO at The Keesmaat Group and Former Chief Planner for Toronto, also sent out a short thread on twitter about the urgent need to accommodate pedestrians on Yonge Street.
"We've been driving growth to our transit corridors, with the dream that as the city grows, driving does not. Yonge Street is our big success story - 17% decrease in driving, and 1 in 4 walk to work. Now an urgent need to transform the street for pedestrians. #TOcore" reads the tweet.
"Upwards of 75% of people using Yonge St are pedestrians, and it has a subway. But people are falling off the sidewalks b/c less than 25% of the space is for pedestrians. It's old school to give so much space to cars - they are no longer the backbone of the street. #WastedSpace" says Keesmaat in her recent tweets.
Keesmaat emphasizes how Yonge Street should become Toronto's first car-free street in the city. "Redesigning streets is a critical part of 'right-sizing' city infrastructure to fit with who uses what. Streets must evolve to deliver on the dream of a walkable city. Yonge St should become our first truly car-free street in the city. It has density, growth, mix, subway. #Golden"
This project will be considered by Infrastructure and Environment Committee on October 17, and by City Council on October 29, based on the results of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and their actions.
To view more information, you can view the agenda here.
Times Square did it, so Yonge-Dundas Square might not be such a weird idea.