As I promised you last week, here's my latest update for your review. I hope you find it interesting and informative. Please know that you are always welcome to contact me if I can ever be of support to you or your family.
Protecting our Neighbourhoods: Lowering Speed Limits on Local Streets
The Chief Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto recommended reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h on most residential streets. His report noted that pedestrians have an over 20% chance of dying when hit by a car travelling at 40 km/h but fatality rates decrease to less than 5% when hit by a car that travels at 30 km/h. After 30 km/h zones were introduced in London, England, these zones experienced a 42% reduction in fatalities.
Given that we know that reducing the speed limit from 40 km/h to 30 can be the difference between life and death, and have lost too many pedestrians on our city's streets already, I moved a motion at Community Council for city staff to report on lowering the speed limit in Ward 22 on local, neighbourhood streets to 30 km/h. I did this as both your councillor and a father. I also hope this will further incent drivers to remain on main streets rather than cut through our neighbourhoods.This initiative was welcomed by my colleagues and an amendment was moved to extend the report to the entirety of the Toronto & East York Community Council area and was unanimously approved. Moreover, I believe that police enforcement must be improved to successfully support this proposed change.
Unfortunately, Staff have not yet responded to this report request. Instead, they presented an onerous, street-by-street process that would create an ad-hoc mechanism for implementing 30 km/h speed limits on local roads. This piecemeal approach would not contribute to making any significant impact on changing how we behave when driving through neighbourhoods. That’s why my colleagues and I have moved to have a special evening meeting of Toronto & East York Community Council to discuss a more holistic approach to lowering local neighbourhood speed limits on June 22, from 6-8pm, in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Please feel very welcome to attend.
Future of the Gardiner Expressway East
As many of you are undoubtedly aware, the City is being faced with a choice about the future of the eastern portion of the Gardiner in the next couple of months. Recently, City consultants released their assessments of the two main options for the expressway.
The hybrid option would remove part of the road but maintain the direct link with the Don Valley Parkway (DVP). It would cost $919 million. The remove option would take down the Gardiner east of Jarvis Street and be replaced with an 8 lane avenue that would have a connection to the DVP. City staff suggest this option would add 2-3 minutes to travel times for 5,700 drivers during the peak hour of morning rush. Removing the Gardiner in this location would also generate $100-$150 million in revenue from public land sales and development opportunities west of the Don River in the North Keating precinct.
This is an important decision for the future of our City. I am in the process of reviewing all relevant studies and am speaking with experts both inside and outside City Hall. To read more about this issue, please click here. I encourage your feedback.
New Affordable, High-Quality Rental Units to be Built at 200 Madison Avenue
I was pleased to welcome Mayor John Tory, Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee, Councillor Ana Bailao, and other City officials to Ward 22 for the announcement of a new affordable housing initiative: the Open Door Program.
As you may be aware, the surplus land at 200 Madison was set aside by the City for new affordable housing almost a decade ago.
It has been a goal of mine to re-start the process to secure affordable homes and transform this vacant lot into a vibrant new residential complex in our community. Today’s announcement starts that process.
Later in May, the City’s Affordable Housing Office will issue a Request for Proposals for the development of the site. In keeping with previous planning approvals, the new development will provide approximately 80 units. Rent levels based on today’s rates are expected to be 70% of the city’s average rent, with a one-bedroom renting at $735.
By September, City officials will report to Council on the recommended group to develop and manage the new housing. Given the environmental remediation required, construction is not expected until late 2016 with completion later in 2018 or early 2019.
I will keep you informed of progress and welcome your involvement in the process of building new affordable, high quality homes in our community.
First Meeting of Tenant Issues Committee Scheduled for June
I am pleased to report that the City Clerk’s office has scheduled the first meeting of the new Tenant Issues Committee for June 18, 7-9pm, at City Hall in Committee Room 2. Tenants make up over 50% of Toronto's residents and have specific rights and responsibilities that are governed by City of Toronto by-laws and provincial legislation. Tenants have the right to live in a clean, well-maintained home and deserve fair representation when being faced with unfair rent increases or eviction.
As Chair, I will work with my colleagues to ensure that this committee provides a place for tenants to voice their concerns, and serves as a catalyst for bringing together disparate City Divisions, including Licensing & Standards, City Planning and Solid Waste, to work together to support Toronto’s tenants and advocate for needed reforms.
Avenue Road and St. Clair Bollards
I am happy to report that City staff have installed bollards at the southwest corner of Avenue Road and St. Clair. This is a result of some ongoing safety concerns at this intersection, with cars driving up over the curb when turning from St. Clair on to Avenue Road. We are working on a longer term solution to reconfigure the curb so that it does not jut out into the intersection. This will require some negotiation with the owners of the building at the corner, as there is not enough City road allowance to create a sidewalk wide enough to meet City standards.
In addition, staff have re-installed splash guards on the sidewalk in the immediate vicinity of Brown Public School. This is part of ongoing work to address pedestrian safety concerns on Avenue Road south of St. Clair, where many parents walk their children to Brown Public School. Earlier this year, a school speed safety zone was also approved for Avenue Road in front of Brown Public School that will lower the speed limit on this portion of Avenue Road during school hours.
PS- I'm aware that a car has already knocked down on of our new bollards- yet another example of how tight that curb is. I'll make sure it's back up soon and am looking into ways to reconfigure that tight corner for a long-term and safe solution.
Annual General Meeting of the Deer Park Residents Group
On Tuesday, June 2 at 7 pm, I will be attending the Annual General Meeting of the DPRG to give a presentation on developments in Ward 22 and in the City of Toronto which have an impact on local residents. This year, the meeting will be held at a new location, Calvin Presbyterian Church at 26 Delisle Ave.
The annual meeting of the DPRG is an opportunity for local residents to learn about activities during the past year. The agenda will include a summary of actions taken by the DPRG, events in our district and an election of members of the Board for the coming year. The DPRG encourages anyone in attendance, who is not already a member, to become a lifetime member for a one-time fee of $25.00.
Membership Call for the Sherwood Park Advisory Committee
The Sherwood Park Advisory Committee (SPAC) has been an advisory body to the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division of the City of Toronto since 1993. SPAC meets three times a year to discuss a variety of issues related to Sherwood Park. The Committee makes a concerted effort to influence projects/activities in Sherwood Park.
SPAC’s overall objectives:
- To maintain, protect, restore, and enhance the natural features of the Park as an ecosystem
- To enhance the recreational potential of the Park in a manner consistent with its natural heritage
- To promote public understanding of, responsibility for, enjoyment of, and participation in the management of this park’s natural heritage
Charlotte Maher Park - New Playground Opening Celebration
Please join me on Saturday, May 9 at 11 am in Charlotte Maher Park for a celebration of our new playground! It was a great pleasure to work with local parents and residents to build a beautiful new playground for our community. I look forward to celebrating together!
SAVE THE DATE: Councillor Josh Matlow's Community Environment Day
On Thursday, June 4 from 4 pm to 8pm, I will be hosting my annual Community Environment Day. The event will take place in the parking lot of North Toronto Memorial Arena (174 Orchard View Blvd). Please drop off any unwanted art supplies, books, toys, and used sports equipment. Facilities will be available to dispose of computers and other hazardous household waste, or even replace your damaged green bin.
1 Eglinton Avenue East Public Meeting
An application has been submitted to City Planning to permit the redevelopment of 1 Eglinton Avenue East with a 68-storey mixed use condominium and office development. Please join me at 7 pm on Monday, May 11 at Northern District Library (40 Orchardview Blvd), for a meeting to discuss the proposed development. City Planning staff will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have.
To ensure that you are informed and engaged about development proposals that are being proposed for sites near your neighbourhood, I've created an interactive webpage with locations, staff reports and public meeting notices. Please click here to learn more about what you can do to help free Toronto from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).