In yet another show of contempt for the residents of Toronto, Transportation Services and “Clean and Beautiful City” staff have opted to put the models of the City’s proposed street furniture on display to the public for one day only; they will be visible in the City Hall rotunda from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 4. This is a project that will determine the look and feel of all of Toronto streets from this September through August 31, 2027 — and you’re being given an eleven-and-a-half-hour window to glimpse the possible outcomes.
We only found out about this yesterday because we happened to be speaking to a councillor’s assistant about street furniture, and he tipped us off.
A phone call to a higher-up at Transportation Services this morning confirmed this, but he emphasized that they’re also hoping to be able to put the models on display again for at least two or three more days in the near future. (This seemed to have been something they had just decided, as neither their message to councillors nor their release to the City Hall press corps mentioned anything about additional dates.) We asked if this near future would be prior to the April 30 Executive Committee meeting to which staff’s report recommending a winner will be presented, and he said that he hopes so but can’t guarantee anything.
As with many matters at City Hall, this seems to be a case of democracy-when-they-can-fit-it-into-their-schedule.
The official reason for the single day is that it’s apparently very difficult to book space in the City Hall rotunda (which can only have one exhibit at a time), and some groups booked it up to a year ago. We reminded the staffer that they’ve been working on street furniture for a couple of years now and that they’ve had plenty of time, but he said that only recently were they sure of the schedule. We also asked about Metro Hall and the other civic centres, and he said that the models are delicate and quite large — one of the displays is 4′ x 8′ and another is 4′ x 6′ — and thus difficult to transport. What, Transportation Services’ fleet is comprised solely of Minis?
We were also told that the number of additional days for which the models might be on display will be determined by demand. How will they determine demand? Public feedback. What mechanisms are there for public feedback? There’s an email address on the website. Well then.
Here’s the only relevant information that appears on the page in question:
For more information on this study, please contact:
Public Consultation Coordinator
Policy, Planning, Finance & Administration
Metro Hall, 19th Floor
55 John Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C6
If anyone has a problem with any of this, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as the Mayor, the Director of Transportation Services, and the Clean and Beautiful City Secretariat (addresses for the latter two can be found here) to demand that the models go back on display for a consistent, well-promoted period and that public input be meaningfully received.
Members of the Toronto Public Space Committee (myself included) will be hanging around the rotunda throughout the day tomorrow, handing out brochures about the “Coordinated Street Furniture Program,” and will happily give little guided “tours” of the models. Torontoist’s Marc Lostracco will also be snapping photos tomorrow morning and will have a report up a bit later.
Image of CBS Outdoor’s “Basic Shelter (Open with Ad Box)” from their brochure. Image of Astral Media Outdoor’s “Automated Public Toilet – No. 206” from their brochure.