The world's longest street is getting a makeover. Toronto's Yonge Street is being reimagined to prioritize pedestrians, much like New York City's Times Square. The City shared ideas for the project, called "yongeTOmorrow," along with renderings of what it'll look like.
The changes will affect the busiest stretch of Yonge Street, between Queen and College. It will be a mix of pedestrian priority zones, one-way streets for local traffic only, and two-way traffic zones with cycle tracks.
This plan will make Yonge Street the very first car-free street in Toronto.
Yonge and Dundas, in particular, will transform to become more pedestrian-friendly. Between Ryerson University students and Eaton Centre shoppers, this intersection services the greatest number of people.
Renderings show the potential of reduced traffic in these areas, giving pedestrians more room to walk about freely.
The images even show chairs set up along the road for people to relax in.
However, the City notes that the new plans would impact transit routes in the area.
Daytime bus service on the 97B route would be discontinued or rerouted. There may also be an increase in travel time of 40 seconds on the streetcar in the area, on both the 501 Queen car and the 505 Dundas car going westbound.
With this proposal, Yonge Street and the surrounding blocks will reopen to all traffic overnight, between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
A public event for yongeTOmorrow will be held virtually on September 16, and you can sign up.
You'll also have an opportunity to provide your feedback about the plans until September 30.
Toronto has already been implementing this pedestrian-first concept in various parts of the city during the pandemic, to allow for social distancing.
The Woodbine Beach area transformed into a giant sidewalk in the spring, allowing people to walk, jog and cycle freely in the streets.
As for yongeTOmorrow, it hopes to "illustrate recommendations for Yonge Street in a post-pandemic future."
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