Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover of a Busy Toronto Street Stops Short of the Car-Free Ideal

The yongeTOmorrrow project is heading toward the finish line with widespread support from advocates, but a few want the plan to go one step further.

January 19, 2021, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Yonge Street Toronto

Kiril Strax / Flickr

Albert Koehl and Michael Black write an opinion piece to support a car-free Yonge Street in Downtown Toronto.

The occasion for the opinion piece is the yongeTOmorrrow project, which recently took form as a final environmental assessment, and would transform 1 km stretch of the street into a more pedestrian-friendly environment. But it doesn't go so far as to go car free—hence the complaint by Koehl and Black.

According to a separate news article on the plan by David Nickle, yongeTOmorrrow would reduce the street to two vehicle lanes, wide sidewalks significantly, and block some sections of the street to car traffic at certain times during the day.

Koehl and Black focus on how much more the project could be by going entirely car free.

A car-free Yonge would open space for benches, trees, and patios — benefitting both local residents and visitors to attractions, such as Massey Hall, Yonge-Dundas Square and the Eaton Centre. It would also connect to Ryerson University's small car-free area, which is enjoyed by thousands of students.

The environmental assessment was presented at the Toronto City Council's Infrastructure and Environment Committee Meeting on Monday, January 11th.

Friday, January 15, 2021 in Toronto Star

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