Public RealmTransportation/Transit

The streets they are a-changin’

By June 15, 2017 No Comments

The Toronto Star recently posted “The Streets of Toronto,” a 30-minute video hosted by urban issues and architecture reporter Christopher Hume. The video examines how streets are being transformed to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists and transit, and features interviews with Ryerson City Building Institute executive director Cherise Burda, and local city builders Jared Kolb (Cycle TO), Yvonne Bambrick (Author), and Mike Layton (City Councillor).

It’s a timely video, especially since The City of Toronto is currently exploring ways to redesign Yonge Street to accommodate more pedestrians and improve mobility. And Torontonians are certainly passionate about their city. When CBI held a Meet-Up exploring the future of Yonge Street, the sold-out event generated discussion for weeks afterward.

Ryerson CBI's Yonge Love Meet-Up

Ryerson CBI’s Yonge Love Meet-Up

And recently, the City of Toronto unveiled its plans for a pilot to prioritize transit on King Street. The project will enable right-of-way for the city’s busiest surface route, the 504 streetcar which carries about 65,000 riders a day–more that the Sheppard subway carries.

“Streets have also become the forgotten element in our efforts to create a livable city,” writes Hume on the Toronto Star’s website. “In Toronto, the focus is on parks, housing, towers and transit; streets are left to fend for themselves. At the same time, however, streets are under more pressure than ever as the historic dominance of the car is challenged by other groups, namely cyclists and pedestrians.”

This insightful video explores various ways streets and communities are evolving in downtown Toronto and in the suburbs. In one memorable segment, Hume compares older human-scaled pedestrian-friendly College Street with a generic suburban Whitby street designed around a car, and shows the importance of making streets more accessible for all.

At one point, Cherise Burda and Christopher Hume are shown on Ryerson University’s Gould Street, one of Toronto’s rare pedestrian-only streets. “You can’t build more roads in the downtown core,” says Burda. “What you can do is create opportunities for other types of mobility, and that is the way we have to go in the future, or we’re just going to be jammed.”