Sidewalks for Lawrence Park
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The City of Toronto will be approving the road reconstruction plan for Lawrence Park Tuesday May 9th. The final recommendation includes a sidewalk on two sides of Mildenhall and sidewalks here and there across the neighbourhood, but no coherent and safe pedestrian network, and nothing to slow down traffic. One main reason for this is that a group of residents have convinced the City that trees need more protection than pedestrians. Ironically, the final 47-page recommendation document contains 16 pages devoted to tree protection and 1 page devoted to protection of children and other road-users.
Three criteria emerged in an exhaustive multi-year Environmental Assessment: 1. improve pedestrian safety, 2. reduce basement flooding, and 3. limit impact on the natural environment. We put our faith in the City's engineers that basements will no longer flood. On trees, 1095/1201 trees (91 percent) will be preserved, possibly even 100 percent as Councillor Robinson has stated. But on pedestrian safety, the City did not meet the stated criteria. Only 5/26 streets (a mere 19 percent) will have sidewalks. No other major pedestrian safety measures have been proposed. We believe that there is a solution in the middle: we can protect our trees and keep pedestrians safe.
When roads are reconstructed, City policy states that sidewalks must be included in any new road reconstruction. It is unacceptable that the City ignores its own walkability policies. If the current plan is approved, many thousands of pedestrians living in Lawrence Park over the next 80 years will be placed in danger daily due to speeding, distracted drivers and increased traffic volume. This plan continues to force our most vulnerable residents - children, the elderly and people with disabilities - to continue walking on icy, slippery roads, in darkness, and on rainy, muddy days. This might have been okay in 1965, when Mayor Tory lived in Lawrence Park, but it isn't okay in 2017. Let's not wait for an accident to happen.
Please see the link to the final recommendations (it may be tweaked a bit further before being final).
Sign our petition in support of making pedestrian safety a priority and sending the message to Jaye Robinson and John Tory that we would like a complete network of sidewalks in Lawrence Park.
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