Toronto city council will vote on Transform Yonge project

Mayor Tory favours new proposal that keeps all six lanes of traffic flowing


Published:

Councillor John Filion said he wasn’t surprised by the alternate Yonge Street proposal

A streetscaping plan for a North York section of Yonge headed to City Council for a final vote after two years of environmental assessments and community consultation, but not without a last-ditch political effort to derail the plans. 

During a Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting to discuss the city planning-preferred Transform Yonge design option to decrease the number of lanes on a stretch of Yonge between Sheppard and Finch in favour of bike lanes and wider sidewalks, a new motion was introduced by councillor David Shiner. His motion involved keeping six lanes of traffic on Yonge but moving the cycling lanes to nearby Beecroft Avenue, which would increase the cost of the project by around $9 million. 

“I believe this is a safer, more viable option that provides for both of the things that we want: a great pedestrian way and a great and safe cycle way,” said Shiner when he presented his motion. 

Councillor John Filion, who has led the project from the beginning, said he had little idea a new motion was being introduced. After the meeting, Filion told Post City he “kind of expected something like that” would happen. “It’s behind-the-scenes-politics,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the merits of the plans. The merits of the plans speak for themselves.” 

Opponents of the Transform Yonge option include Mayor John Tory and Coun. Shiner. 

“I’ve spoken to councillors who don’t support Transform Yonge because they just don’t,” said Filion. “And I’ve spoken to other councillors who do support it and just won’t vote for it because the mayor’s not in favour of it.

This project comes at a time when Mayor Tory has been involved in a number of road safety measures and is an advocate of the city’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan. A City of Toronto staff report identified the section of Yonge between Sheppard and Steeles as a “priority safety concern.” Between January 2010 and December 2017, there were 78 collisions involving pedestrians and five involving cyclists. Of these, eight resulted in serious injuries or fatalities. 

One of the objectives of the project is to improve road safety by reducing car traffic and making a safe space for cyclists. Shiner’s last-minute motion to keep the six lanes on Yonge got the majority vote in PWIC by three to one. The motion was deferred to city council for a vote on March 27, and Filion believed the vote would be close. 

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

What's open and closed around Yonge and Finch following horrific act of violence

What's open and closed around Yonge and Finch following horrific act of violence

Following the van incident in Toronto yesterday, we bring you up-to-date news on closures and travel information.
Posted 3 days ago
Multiple fatalities after man drives van into pedestrians near Yonge and Finch

Multiple fatalities after man drives van into pedestrians near Yonge and Finch

A van, which mounted the pavement and struck pedestrians, has claimed the lives and injured many.
Posted 3 days ago
Home of the Week: Never be thirsty again with this $2.99 million North York home's huge wine cellar

Home of the Week: Never be thirsty again with this $2.99 million North York home's huge wine cellar

A luxurious custom home located at the heart of Avenue Road and Lawrence just came on the market — and if you’re always running out of room for places to store your vino, this could be a dream home made for you.
Posted 1 week ago
Forget hipster, think hippie: Millennials are taking notes from the free spirits of the ’70s

Forget hipster, think hippie: Millennials are taking notes from the free spirits of the ’70s

In the age of smartphones, massive corporations and processed foods, people are breaking away from the norm to dress, eat and live in more organic ways.
Posted 1 week ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module