Urban Toronto: Revitalizing John Street
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Urban Toronto: Revitalizing John Street

The history, design, and development of Toronto’s building projects, brought to you by UrbanToronto.

Top: a rendering of what John Street might look like after revitalization. Bottom: John Street in its current configuration; photo by Bryson Gilbert from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Last week, the City hosted its second open house to discuss plans for the revitalization of John Street. The goal was to get resident feedback on four street design options that are being considered, before the project team settles on the final recommendations it will make to city council.
All four design options up for discussion reduce the street to two lanes, down from its current three or four lane configuration (it varies at points along the length of the street). The boulevard concept preferred by planners removes all on-street parking and dedicated turn lanes, and adds a ‘flexible boulevard’ strip along the east side of the roadway. This might have a number of possible uses: as a simple extension of the pedestrian area, or for temporary functions like housing patios, public art installations, on-street winter parking, and truck delivery parking.
At the meeting, planners highlighted a number of goals they were aiming to accomplish with this project, as well some of the physical design features with which they hoped would achieve them. One of these major goals is to discourage drivers from using John Street as a thoroughfare to get from one area of downtown to another, and to encourage only those drivers who intend to have John Street and the immediate area as their destination. The overall shift is to a much more pedestrian-oriented street. So, for instance, street curbs will no longer be barrier curbs like we are used to seeing, but rolling mountable concrete curbs, and will be given the same paving treatment as the street itself, giving motorists a visual cue that this area is no ordinary street, and that extra caution should be taken when driving on it.
Additional details about the revitalization plans, including renderings of the design options, are available on UrbanToronto.