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City seeks input for Complete Streets guidelines

Transportation options, places to sit and walk all part of complete streets.

If streets aren’t just for motorists, then who are they for? Pedestrians? Cyclists? Dog walkers? People in wheelchairs? Kids? Seniors? People hanging out on summer nights?
This month the city is currently seeking public input as it draws up its new Complete Streets guidelines, which would provide a more thoughtful process about how Toronto’s streets should look and feel. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, “complete streets” consider the many ways each street is used before making decisions on things like bike lanes, sidewalk cafés, street furniture, street trees, utilities, and stormwater management. More than 700 jurisdictions in Canada and the United States are adopting a complete streets approach.
“We’re trying to get feedback on the draft guiding principles and we’re trying to get an understanding from the public and stakeholders about what different types of streets Toronto has,” says Adam Popper, Complete Streets project manager. “The goal is to make streets safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities, and to give people a range of transportation choices.”
Street types could range from arterial roads, where the main goal may be to move traffic efficiently, to neighbourhood streets where a variety of uses, including children playing, might need to be accommodated. “You’ll treat a street differently if it’s in an employment area versus a park versus a residential area versus downtown versus centres in other parts of the city,” says Popper.
The city has 10 drafted guiding principles divided under the categories streets for people, streets as places, streets for prosperity. “We want to check in with the broader public to see if we’re on the right track with those because they’ll be used to guide street decision-making.”
A June 18 open house will be followed by June 20 events in North York and Etobicoke and then an online survey. The guidelines are expected to be ready by the end of 2015.
Toronto has about 5,600 kilometres of streets, covering almost one quarter of Toronto’s total land area.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Adam Popper
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