IE1.4 – Cycling Network Plan: 2021 ActiveTO Cycling Network Expansion Project Updates
The Infrastructure and Environment Committee has recommended that City Council make the ActiveTO Yonge Street Cycling Network Expansion and the ActiveTO Bayview Cycling Network Expansion permanent installations. This recommendation is based on the General Manager of Transportation Services’ report which summarizes the data and assessments provided by the staff. The report highlights that after 18 months, there has been an increase in cycling trips (ranging from 57% to 250%) and pedestrian trips (ranging from 59% to 145%) along the corridors, as well as support for local businesses. Additionally, the report shows that motor vehicle travel times have increased by less than 70 seconds during most times of the day. The recommendations are based on data collected and feedback from local businesses, residents, and neighborhood associations..
(January 16, 2023) Report from the General Manager, Transportation Services on Cycling Network Plan: 2021 ActiveTO Cycling Network Expansion Project Updates
(January 20, 2023) Attachment 1: ActiveTO Yonge Street Third Data Dashboard
(January 16, 2023) Attachment 2: Technical Amendments
IE1.6 – Park People 2023 National Urban Parks Conference – Host City Partner
The Infrastructure and Environment Committee has recommended that the City Council authorize the General Manager of Parks, Forestry, and Recreation to work with Park People, a Toronto-based registered charity, to host the National Urban Parks Conference in June 2023. The City of Toronto will provide up to $25,000 in support services in exchange for a benefits package and other benefits. The agreement will be negotiated and signed by the General Manager of Parks, Forestry, and Recreation on behalf of the City, with the terms and conditions being acceptable to the City Manager and General Manager of Parks, Forestry, and Recreation, and in a form acceptable to the City Solicitor. I was happy to play a small role by moving the motion to adopt the recommendation.
IE1.11 – Net Zero Actions Update
The City Council of Toronto has taken action towards a more sustainable future by adopting the “TransformTO Critical Steps for Net Zero by 2040” plan, which outlines 40 essential action items for addressing the climate crisis. I have requested updates on the progress made in implementing these action items, including a ban on two-stroke engine equipment, agreements made under recommendations 5 and 8, and the status of every other action item. These updates will be presented at the March 20, 2023 meeting of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
IE1.12 – Options for Permitting Private Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure on Public Streets
Toronto must improve air quality and reduce climate pollution by encouraging the replacement of fossil-fueled vehicles with electric vehicles. However, many residents who wish to own electric vehicles face challenges charging them due to the lack of private charging infrastructure. To address this issue, my motion directed that the Director of Environment and Energy work with various organizations to report back to the April meeting of the Infrastructure and Environment committee with options (if any) for permitting private installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on public streets. This could provide more residents who don’t have driveways with a practical alternative for transitioning from gas-fuelled to electric vehicles.
The city of Toronto Resources portal offers information on legislation, health and safety, administration and services here.
Urgent resource needs include:
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To keep up with what’s happening or have your say on city government, visit the city’s local government information section.
The City of Toronto offers many services for seniors. There are also many community-based services for seniors which can be accessed:
- Toronto Seniors Helpline 416-217-2077
- 211 Toronto, just dial/call “211”
For a full list of services visit the city link.
This month has been primarily consumed by the city budget, the first under the “strong mayor” powers imposed by Doug Ford.
What did we learn? That the city is in deep financial trouble. This is mainly because the provincial government has downloaded unmanageably expensive responsibilities onto the city, while hamstringing our ability to raise funds and harming the most vulnerable by further limiting access to housing, and reducing support for mental health and addiction.
Parks, roads, and the TTC all have huge and growing maintenance backlogs. In January, an ice-skating arena closed because the roof is unsafe, and there are portable toilets instead of bathrooms in one third of our parks. People are hurting, and we are witnessing firsthand the repercussions of poor leadership at the provincial level.
Bottom line: the city must loudly and consistently demand significant revenue-generation tools, such as road tolls and a share of income taxes, or for the province to take back some of the expensive responsibilities it downloaded. Meanwhile, we need to raise more money using the revenue tools we already have.
I have therefore been working with my colleagues to insist that the City consider parking levies. The Toronto Environmental Alliance estimates that modest commercial parking levies could bring in $500 million a year, enough to reverse TTC cuts, to start repairing our infrastructure, and to buy electric buses for better transit and cleaner air. Our campaign has gained so much momentum that the Mayor is asking staff for an updated report on revenue options. A parking levy could not be introduced until next year, but at least a serious investigation will now begin.
There were two other key achievements this month:
1. I am pleased to report that, on Jan. 30, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee unanimously supported my request to make permanent the Yonge Street bike lanes from Bloor to Davisville. This is an essential part of Toronto’s climate action. These lanes have made cycling on Yonge Street comparatively safe for the first time in a century and I was one of the first signatories to Yonge4All‘s petition to make the Midtown Complete Street pilot permanent. After extensive consultation and numerous design tweaks, community opinions about the bike lanes remain mixed, with some neighbours enthusiastic and others blaming them for congestion and traffic on side streets.
The first meeting of the committee was therefore contentious, with nearly 90 deputants. Two third’s of them supported the bike lanes, as did extensive expert evidence. The medical officer of health, for example, spoke about the substantial health benefits of complete streets. Data showed there has been no disproportionate increase in traffic in the area compared to the city as a whole.
Paramedic and fire services confirmed that the bike lanes do not interfere with their ability to provide emergency services and the TTC confirmed that the bike lanes do not interfere with their shuttle buses. Other evidence shows that the bike lanes are good for local businesses while decreasing the risk of crashes and the cost of getting around, especially for those with lower incomes.
I successfully made a motion for Transportation Services to study how to increase safety for nearby residents, and particularly to stop illegal activities such as driving on the sidewalk, where one neighbouring child was hit. The five councillors present agreed unanimously with my motion, and then supported my request to make the bike lanes permanent.
2. Another key achievement was doubling the number of downtown warming centre spaces available to the most vulnerable during cold weather alerts. In mere weeks, we pulled off Toronto’s fourth warming centre at the Cecil Street Community Centre, where I sit on the board. It opened for the first night on January 30. Congratulations and deepest thanks to the staff and board members of the Cecil Street, and to city staff at SSHA.
Finally, we’re continuing our monthly doorknocking in different parts of the ward, usually the 2nd Sunday of each month. If you’d like to help out, please let us know.