Community groups develop set of proposals to improve walking, cycling, and transit—and they want council candidates on board.
No one denies Torontonians face serious challenges getting around. Hassles, difficulties, and downright dangers can make the city a trial to navigate for transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians. Hoping that a clear plan presented during a municipal election campaign will get some political attention and goodwill, a variety of community groups—Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, and Canada Walks—have gotten together and come up with a list of 12 “priority actions,” which are contained in a new report, “Building a Toronto That Moves.”
The groups behind the report are calling on all council candidates to endorse these priority actions and to work on their implementation during the next council term. The 12 actions are geared toward improving walking, cycling, and public transit (four for each). Here are the basics:
- Create “slow zones” (with a maximum speed of 30 km/hr) on residential roads.
- Widen sidewalks in downtown Toronto.
- Harmonize residential sidewalk snow clearing across the city, at an estimated cost of $10M per year.
- Work with the Toronto area school boards to develop and implement School Travel Plans that will improve the safety and integrity of school walking routes.
- Create a Minimum Grid of 100 km of protected bike lanes on main streets and 100 km of bicycle boulevards on residential streets across Toronto by 2018.
- Create 100 new on-street parking corrals across Toronto.
- Connect major transit hubs in North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke with protected bike lanes and bicycle boulevards enabling Torontonians to bike as a part of their commute.
- Implement a Complete Streets policy in the Official Plan. (“A Complete Streets policy ensures that the entire network is consistently designed and operated for all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”)
- Freeze transit fares for four years.
- Provide a fare reduction for those in financial need.
- Improve service levels beyond any increase in ridership.
- Keep the TTC public.
“Everyone knows moving around Toronto is tough,” commented Toronto Environmental Alliance’s Franz Hartmann in a press release. “But crowded transit, bike lanes, sidewalks, and roads don’t have to be our future.” Meanwhile, Torontonians will have to wait and see what kind of political will there’ll be after October 27, 2014, to build a Toronto that moves.