Pedestrian experience key to livable city

A Town Crier Community Column

Recently, a new organization, Walk Toronto, has been formed with the hopes of improving the pedestrian experience in the public realm (much like Cycle Toronto has done for cycling). This is something ARECA has been promoting for some years now.

Opportunities to enhance our open spaces and overall improvement of the public realm are greatest when redevelopment is occurring. ARECA believes that time is upon us now. As it is, the existing public realm is already in need of attention. The expected significant increase in population in midtown Toronto will put even greater demands on public space.

Currently, the North York community planning department is undertaking a block study of the Orchard View Boulevard/Helendale Avenue area. Recently the North York transportation department rejected ARECA’s suggested improvements for the Orchard View’s intersection with Duplex Avenue intersection which is at the south end of the block study. At this corner a portion of the public realm was ceded to the currently under construction NEON building. ARECA believes that the opposite should be occurring. ARECA, as a contributor in the project, has suggested a portion of the public realm at this corner be reserved for improved safety and accessibility for pedestrians and the physically-challenged en route to Eglinton Park.

Numerous suggestions that are endorsed by ARECA were made during the first meeting of the block study. Called the “high point”, this once-in-a-lifetime reinvigorations of a scarce open-space at Yonge Street and Montgomery Avenue at the old post office, Postal Station K, is being considered by all stakeholders.

Unfortunately, local retail operators have been absent from the discussion so far. The second of the proposed three meetings is scheduled for the end of February.

We hope the local business community will soon be at the meeting table.

The project has made suggestions for improvements to the public realm on Henning Avenue, which is a cul-de-sac off Eglinton, one street west of Duplex Avenue.

Councillor Karen Stintz has suggested a building at the corner of Henning and Eglinton will be in the order of 18–20 storeys. ARECA believes that such a building will have a significant impact on the quality of life for Henning residents. This makes the case for significant public realm improvements too. ARECA will consider the suggestions put forward by Terry Mills, a town planning strategist, at its next meeting.

ARECA is a volunteer community association representing the views of residents in matters that affect our community in North Toronto. ARECA represents the area bounded by Eglinton Avenue West, Yonge Street, Roselawn Avenue, Avenue Road, St Clements Avenue and Chaplin Road. If you live in the ARECA area please join your community association. To join send a cheque for $20 ($10 seniors) for your 2013 membership, along with your name, address and phone number and email address to Avenue Road Eglinton Community Association, c/o Membership Secretary 23 Elwood Boulevard, Toronto M4R 1B8. Note if you wish to receive fax or email updates from ARECA please include these with your membership details or email us at [][/email].

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Posted: Mar 14 2013 5:23 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto