Last winter, City Council called for improved standards for sidewalk snow maintenance due to valid concerns raised by residents that Toronto's current standards are completely insufficient in the downtown and centre of the city.
It is inequitable that residents in the former cities of North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and some of York receive sidewalk snow clearing while the majority of neighbourhoods in Old Toronto, areas of York and East York do not. This is especially concerning given that the levels of pedestrian traffic are much higher in these areas. Residents of our City's inner suburban areas also frequently walk through downtown and midtown, and rightfully expect safe and accessible sidewalks too.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, walking will be more important than ever to our physical and mental health, especially for seniors and people living with mobility challenges.
That is why, at September's City Council meeting, Councillor Layton and I moved a motion requesting the General Manager of Transportation Services to provide an update on the Winter Maintenance Program Review that includes, but is not limited to, a plan on harmonizing sidewalk clearing standards across all City of Toronto neighbourhoods, investigate the appropriate equipment required to clear bike lanes and cycle tracks and develop a comprehensive snow clearing plan for all paved pedestrian and cycling pathways in Toronto's parks.
While my motion was supported by a few of my colleagues, including Mayor John Tory, it unfortunately did not receive a two-thirds vote for it to pass on the floor of Council. Please click here to see the voting record.
As a result of this, my motion was deferred to Infrastructure and Environment Committee. During this month's meeting, the Committee Members voted against my motion and moved the following amendments, which can be reviewed at the bottom of this link.
At next week's City Council meeting, I'll be moving the following amendments for item IE17.7:
1. City Council direct the General manager, Transportation Services, to seek and implement measures to increase the snow clearing sidewalk pilot for this winter including the possibility of obtaining more equipment and stretching hours of service.
2. City Council direct the General manager, Transportation services, to provide an update to the next meeting of TEYCC detailing which streets will be receiving sidewalk snow clearing during the 2020-2021 winter season and the rationale for not providing full sidewalk clearing harmonization, if applicable and provide a path forward to full harmonization for the 2021-2022 winter season for Councils consideration.
This is when your help is needed most! Please fill out the form below to sign this petition and click on the resulting link to send an email to Members of Council encouraging them to support the delivery of harmonized sidewalk snow clearing standards.
If you've already signed our petition, please click here to go immediately to sending an email to Members of Council.
I want thank the board of the Deer Park Residents Group for working with my office on this initiative and continuing to advocate for safe and accessible sidewalk clearing!