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Yonge Street redesign will focus on pedestrians

Erin Criger | posted Thursday, Nov 19th, 2015

The world’s longest street could become a lot more friendlier to pedestrians.

The Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area is proposing closing a stretch of Yonge Street from Queen to Gerrard streets because, overwhelmingly, Toronto residents say they want walkable neighbourhoods that make them feel connected.

“Forty two million people walk this street every year,” DYBIA executive director Mark Garner said Wednesday, and that number is only going to rise.

To accommodate that, Garner said, Yonge will go from four lanes to two. In place of car traffic will be green space, open patios, and wider sidewalks.

The Yonge Love report found that not only do Toronto residents want more space for pedestrians, a small percentage want cars gone completely. About 17 per cent of those surveyed think cars should stay off Yonge on the weekend.

Cameron Stannard, who manages the Silver Snail comic book shop on Yonge, has mixed feelings on the proposal.

“To have way more people walking up and down Yonge Street, they’re more likely to come into our store,” Stannard said.

However, if people are driving downtown, “they might take alternate routes. Parking is hard enough,” he said.

The city has already allocated $31 million for the project, and says Bay, Jarvis and Church could handle the extra load from the displaced cars.

The next step is to hire a design team. Click here to find out more on the project.


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