By NINA RAFEEK
The City of Toronto recently unveiled the policy directions that will guide growth and development in the East Danforth Avenue neighbourhood at the third Main Street Planning Study community meeting held on Oct. 7 at Hope United Church.
The area of the study spans from Main Street and Danforth Avenue, south to Gerrard Street East, with borders at Dawes Road and Ted Reeve Drive on the east side.
The policy directions were driven from the provincial guidelines that mandate intensification in transit-rich areas of the city, such as this one, along with community feedback gathered at the first and second community meetings held in June 2018 and March 2019.
Community feedback from those community meetings were as follows:
- Provide a diverse mix of land uses, particularly employment uses (small businesses).
- More medical offices.
- New development should be sensitive to surrounding low-rise neighbourhoods.
- Focus on providing additional community services and facilities.
- More parks and open spaces.
- Provide a mix of housing, including family-sized units, affordable units, and affordable rental units.
- Improve integration and access between TTC and GO stations.
- Improve pedestrian safety, particularly at the Main Street and Stephenson Avenue intersection.
- Mitigate impacts to traffic and parking.
- Heritage should be identified and conserved.
The city said it has responded by integrating feedback into the following development policies for the area:
- A ratio of residential and non-residential buildings to support community need for housing and services such as medical, government, arts, retail, office, childcare.
- Allow tall buildings, where appropriate, on larger lots east of Main Street, south of Danforth Avenue, west of Trent Avenue, and north of the rail corridor.
- New development along Danforth Avenue and Gerrard Street East will be midrise with appropriate transitions.
- Tall buildings will transition down in height from Main Street to lower-scaled buildings.
- New buildings will also be massed to respect existing buildings with heritage characteristics or potential.
- New parks and green spaces will be introduced in accessible locations of the study area.
- Area libraries, community recreation centres, human services offices, and child care spaces have all been slated as a priority for funding.
In response to transit accessibility, the city plans to introduce the following new streets and midblock connections:
- A 20-metre wide street will connect Danforth Avenue to Dawes Road.
- A private 12-metre wide mid-block connection will connect the new street to Dawes Road.
- A private-owned publicly accessible lane will provide access to the building at 6 Dawes Rd.; or may be located below grade in the event of an integrated development that includes GO station and Main Square.
In response to pedestrian safety, particularly at the Main Street and Stephenson Avenue intersection, the city’s consultants, SvN, proposed to make the intersection for inbound traffic only, by narrowing Stephenson Avenue at this portion of the street and introducing a round-about. Doing so, they say, “will increase the amount of public sidewalk which can be enhanced with street trees, street furniture, and active uses.”
At Main and Gerrard, and at Main and Danforth, a proposal has been made by the same consultant group to narrow these intersections by creating “bump outs” (enlargement of the sidewalks). This, they say, “can help with safety and functionality of the intersections as well as enhance the sidewalks at these intersections.”
The meeting held a brief question period, followed by and open-house, where city representatives were available to speak to residents and answer their questions.
This was the final community meeting for the Main Street Planning Study. After feedback is gathered, the proposal will be presented to the Toronto and East York Community Council.
Residents still have a chance to have their say by contacting the City of Toronto’s city planner, George Pantazis at firstname.lastname@example.org.