The first community meeting on the Danforth Study showed one thing at least.
East-enders love Danforth Avenue.
About 400 of them, many more than city officials expected, filled the cafeteria at Monarch Park Collegiate to overflowing on Nov. 7. They came to learn about the project, discuss the options for changes to the street, and take part in displays soliciting their opinions.
“Who loves the Danforth?” Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher asked at the beginning of the meeting, causing the crowd to erupt in cheers.
“We all love the Danforth and that’s why we’re here,” Fletcher continued. “And we want to see a better Danforth, a more vibrant Danforth and a safer Danforth. All of your dreams for the Danforth are going to be captured during these meetings.”
Beaches-East York councillor Brad Bradford said he was thrilled at the turnout and the enthusiasm. “Big crowd, big feelings,” he said.
“We’re going to have lots of different views and perspectives,” he said. “We’re going to listen to all of them and we’re going to work together as a community to make the east end even better.”
One of those difference of views seems likely to arise over a particularly controversial issue related to the Danforth.
Several people in the crowd challenged city staff and consultant presenters over whether bike lanes were already “baked in” the plans for the street.
Others questioned why the city wasn’t going ahead with installing bike lines immediately.
Staff answered that bike lanes are among the options to be discussed by the community in the study process and they were confident consensus could be found.
The Danforth Avenue Complete Street and Planning Study is looking at the six kilometres of Danforth between Broadview and Victoria Park avenues. This breaks down into three types of studies:
• A study of the Danforth from Broadview to Victoria Park, examining road width, and considering options for a complete street design and the potential for protected bike lanes.
• An economic and retail study of the street, including consideration of issues faced by retailers.
• A planning study of the three-kilometre stretch from Broadview to Coxwell Avenue to identify city-building opportunities, guide new developments, and enhance the public quality.
“The Danforth is an important and bustling corridor that maintains the feeling and character of Toronto’s much smaller neighbourhoods, while being recognized as one of our city’s biggest and most diverse communities,” Toronto mayor John Tory said in a city press release. “I’m confident the Danforth Study will proceed in a way that resonates with the community and preserves and enhances the best parts of the study area.”
More information about the study from the city is available online at toronto.ca/danforthstudy.