An image of what’s in store for the future of development fronting the Danforth is becoming clearer.
City planning staff are slated to present the latest on the Danforth Avenue Planning Study, which will help guide future growth along the Danforth from Coxwell to Victoria Park Avenues, at a community consultation in Hope United Church on Dec. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The forthcoming consultation, the fourth so far, follows an earlier public meeting on Sept. 14, also held at the church. During the previous meeting the community learned the city was considering recommending a height limit of seven to eight storeys at specific sites along the study area.
At the time, the community was given the chance to comment on the city’s vision, with some saying that was too much intensification for the strip mostly fronted today by low-rise development. Comments from the community have shaped what staff will present in December.
“It’s further analysis based on what we heard last time,” said Daniel Woolfson, a senior planner for the Toronto and East York District.
Woolfson also said there would be a discussion about “complete streets” policies. “From our perspective, it’s about utilizing the space that’s available to create a scenario that works for as many users as possible,” said Woolfson when asked to define complete streets.
An activity is planned for the event. Attendees will be able to place tiles denoting bike lanes and car lanes and other infrastructure on maps provided by the city. The complete streets conversation will include addressing the possibility of bike lanes on the Danforth.
“We’re doing this as kind of an exercise to get people to play around with how the street might look like in the future [and] to hear back from what people would want using a vision of complete streets,” noted Woolfson.
Planning staff are working closely with the city’s Transportation Services. The department’s cycling infrastructure staff will be on hand at the Dec. 11 consultation to engage with the community, said Woolfson.
“But,” he added, “it’s not a bike-lane specific discussion, moreso like a visioning of what the street could be, bike lanes being one part of it.”
A bike-lane specific study for the Danforth is pending and expected sometime in the new year, he said.
Ward 32 Mary-Margaret McMahon expects staff to report back either at the end of next year’s first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter. Whether possible bike lanes on Danforth would be launched as a pilot project like the Bloor bike lanes or something more permanent is not yet clear.
“We’re not sure what’s it’s gonna be,” she said.
The upcoming meeting is part of the Danforth Avenue Planning Study’s fourth and final phase. “I really look at it as we’re entering the final consultation on some major topics that we haven’t discussed yet,” Woolfson explained.
Phase four is scheduled to wrap up in March 2018, when design guidelines will have been developed and plans for an official plan amendment will be finalized. Toronto and East York Community Council will review a report with recommendations from planning staff before it can move on to city council for consideration. City staff aim to have materials ready for the April 4 Toronto and East York Community Council meeting.
There will be a final publication consultation in the new year.