Despite Roncesvalles Avenue’s fresh new look, businesses and residents have mixed feelings about the street’s makeover.
With wider sidewalks, new bike lanes, benches and green islands some are heralding the design as being more bike and pedestrian friendly, but some see major problems with the new Roncy.
“It killed business,” said Jen Zheng who has been working at Roncesvalles Convenience Plus Lucky Choice Mart for the past two years. “Cars can’t even stop because they made wider sidewalks.”
She said that before there was plenty of room for parking, but now the extended sidewalks and small gardens have replaced the parking spaces.
The scarce parking on the street was a concern voiced by many of the street’s business owners.
Although happy with the design overall, Chris Murie, who owns The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub, said that parking is a problem.
“Residents and business owners take up most of the parking spaces,” he said. “Loading and unloading for our suppliers is difficult.”
But Murie understands that he has to adapt to the changes. The pub needs to target pedestrians now that parking spots are down, he said.
Murie said he is planning on expanding his patio, but the planter boxes might pose a problem.
The city understood that parking spaces would decline after the renovations. But Gord MacMillan, the director of design and construction with the City of Toronto said the revitalization will also dramatically increase pedestrian and streetcar traffic.
“Parking was sacrificed to have an enhanced streetscape for pedestrians and transit users,” he said.
Residents, on the other hand, had a more positive response to the street’s makeover.
“I like it,” said resident Martti Minkkinen. “It’s more pedestrian friendly.”
Kendall Chandler, who also lives in the area and often relies on her bike to get to places, said she likes some of the new features, but is concerned about the bike lanes.
She says they’re confusing and drivers often use them.
“It would have been nice had they planned actual bike lanes,” she said. “Instead of a strip of bike lane every two blocks.”
MacMillan said that cars aren’t allowed to stop within three metres of the bike ramps.
He added that parking enforcement will hand out tickets to those who violate the law.
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