The Cressy Courier: Bikes lanes on Bloor, compost days, and more!

Dear friend -- 

After more than 40 years of discussion and debate, yesterday an overwhelming majority of City Councillors - from East to West and North to South - voted for a bike lane pilot project on Bloor Street.  Bikes lanes on Bloor may be a decades long idea, but it is long overdue.

For too long, discussion of bike lanes have been divisive in our City. They shouldn't be. When we do it right, cycling infrastructure can be a win-win for everyone.

Protected bike lanes on Bloor will make it safer for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians; they will improve local business by bringing more customers into the neighbourhood; and ultimately, they will help to reduce congestion by moving people out of cars and into more active modes of transportation.

The pilot project will involve the instillation of a 2.4km bike lane from Shaw Street to Avenue Road that will begin this August. As part of the pilot the City of Toronto has committed to measuring everything: the impact on cyclists and pedestrians, the impact on vehicular movement, including on adjacent streets, and the impact on local business.  The pilot will give us the data to help make better decisions in our City. To quote Michael Bloomberg, "In God we trust, to all others bring data".

Yesterday's City Council vote may have been overwhelming in support (the final vote was 38-3), but it is the result of years of hard work in our community. The project was supported by all 6 local residents associations along the corridor, the University of Toronto, cultural Institutions like HotDocs and the Bloor Street Cultural Corridor, and the local BIA. I want to thank all of you for your hard work and support - this result wouldn't have been possible without it!

After years of old-style divisive political debates framed as cars vs bikes, we're moving forward as a City. It is very good news and I can't wait to ride Bloor together, safely, later this summer.

Take care,

Joe

Community Compost days


Compost Days have begun! Over the last few weekends, I've enjoyed biking around to different parks in the ward, soaking up the sun and meeting up with residents to deliver free compost.

And the fun's not over yet! We still have more Compost Days coming up -- here's a look at what's still to come:

Ogden Junior Public School (Phoebe St and Spadina Ave)

Date: May 29th
Time: 10am-12pm 

250 Davenport (Bedford Rd and Davenport Rd)
Date: May 29th
Time: 10am-12pm 

Note: Please remember to bring your own shovels and containers to collect your free compost. 

Stay tuned for date confirmations for: St. Andrew's Playground, Little Norway Park, Heydon Park Secondary School, and Taddle Creek Park.


Watermain Replacement: Queen Street West

Beginning on Monday, May 9, the City of Toronto will replace the dual watermains that run along Queen Street West, from Bathurst Street to Spadina Avenue. This project will help to improve our water distribution system and reduce the risk of watermain breaks. It is also an important opportunity to replace any lead pipes that may run between the watermain and individual private properties, dating from before the mid-1950s.

Work will start in the north curb lane of Queen Street West to replace the watermain that runs under the roadbed north of the streetcar tracks. Two crews will be working between Bathurst and Spadina, starting in the middle of the work zone and moving in opposite directions. They will install a temporary watermain by-pass (which may affect water pressure to adjacent properties) and then dig a trench for the new watermain. When all the connections are completed, the roadway will be reconstructed and resurfaced. Finally, work will shift to the south curb lane of Queen Street and the process will be repeated for the remaining watermain on that side of the streetcar tracks.

Extended work hours will be permitted in order to expedite completion of the work. This means 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

Sidewalk access will be maintained at most times. A fence will be installed parallel to the sidewalk to protect pedestrians from the trench. When it is occasionally necessary to temporarily restrict access, the contractor will coordinate with affected properties and businesses.

One lane of general traffic will be maintained in each direction at all times.

TTC services will be affected by this work. Starting at midnight on the morning of May 9, the 501/301 Queen streetcars will divert in both directions via Queen Street, Shaw Street, King Street, Spadina Avenue, and Queen Street. 501-301 Queen shuttle buses will provide service on Queen Street West between Shaw Street and Spadina Avenue. Board buses at curbside stops. PRESTO will not be available on the shuttle buses. Please check www.ttc.ca for up-to-date information about diversions or replacement services.

Cyclists will be able to use the centre lanes of Queen Street, which will be open to all traffic, but the alternative routes of Richmond Street and Adelaide Street are also available in order to avoid riding between the streetcar tracks.

This project is expected to be complete in October 2016. Sidewalk work and new streetscape improvements in partnership with the Queen Street West BIA will be completed in 2017.

For additional information, you can view the construction notice here.


Jane's Walks - May 6-8th

The Jane's Walk festival is this weekend -- May 6th, 7th, and 8th.



Jane Jacobs called Toronto home. In fact, she lived on Albany Avenue right here in Ward 20! This year, 2016, would be her 100th birthday.

We keep her legacy alive by walking together and making space for every person to observe, reflect, share, question, and collectively re-imagine the places around us. Jane's Walks are citizen-led because everyone knows something about where they live, and every perspective is important to building vibrant and healthy cities.

If you would like to learn more about Jane Jacobs, you could start with this quick primer on her key ideas.

Visit http://janeswalk.org/canada/toronto to see the hundreds of Jane's Walks that have been organized by our neighbours. 

I hope to see you out on the street!


Project: Under Gardiner Naming Contest



Voting is officially open for the top 4 names shortlisted for Project: Under Gardiner!

A group of citizen judges looked at all the ideas submitted and narrowed it down to four options: The Artery, The Bentway, The Canopy, and Gathering Place.

Go to www.undergardiner.com to learn more about the four finalists and cast your vote. You can vote once a day until May 8th, 2016.

I look forward to continuing to work on this exciting new public space.


New playground equipment and an off-leash area for dogs coming to Canoe Landing Park

It was great to speak with many of you at the open house I co-hosted with the CityPlace Residents' Association in December about the exciting initiatives underway in CityPlace including Project: Under Gardiner, Mouth of the Creek Park north of the Fort York Library, and the new community centre and schools that will be built east of Canoe Landing Park including a school playground that will be open to the public after school hours.

We also talked about ways that our existing parks could be improved, with a special focus on Canoe Landing Park. And we created an online survey and kept it open over the winter. The results were very interesting and they give some clear directions for making our parks work better for everyone in CityPlace.

The top three suggestions for improving Canoe Landing Park (respondents were not limited to one answer) were:

1. Create a fenced space for off-leash dogs,

2. Better control of off-leash dogs, and

3. Add more and better play structures for children.

It is clear that people with and without dogs share an opinion that the status quo is not working for anyone.

I have spoken to City of Toronto Parks staff about these findings, and I am happy to announce that they have started working on plans to add a small fenced off-leash area to Canoe Landing Park! We are moving quickly to install the off-leash area as soon as possible to help reduce the conflicts between dogs and others in Canoe Landing Park. Staff are still working on a location for the Canoe Landing Park off-leash area, but early work suggests it is possible to add the off-leash area in way that does not conflict with other uses, such as the new school, the artificial turf sports field, and the natural ice rink.

However, Canoe Landing Park is crowded and heavily programmed with multiple activities, so there is only enough space for a small fenced off-leash area. Given the size of the neighbourhood and the prevalence of dog ownership, we feel that is important to continue working on the long-term goal of creating a large, attractive, "destination" dog park at Dan Leckie Way and Lake Shore Boulevard, adjacent to the south-west corner of Canoe Landing Park and under the shelter of the Gardiner Expressway. This will be an important component of Project: Under Gardiner and it will meet the high standards of quality and innovation for this 1.75 km transformation.

Parents will be pleased to hear that that there is also space in the park, even with the new off-leash area, to add new play equipment for children somewhere near the existing splash pad.

Once Park staff have put together a more detailed design for both the short-term off-leash area and the new play equipment, I will be back in touch with expected timelines for construction and a plan for how these two new pieces can fit into Canoe Landing Park.

This is a very exciting time to live in CityPlace. Even as construction is still underway on the final few buildings and we are making investments in parks and community facilities, the area is already maturing into a vibrant established neighbourhood. I look forward to continuing this work together.

Please email my office at councillor_cressy@toronto.ca if you would like to be added to the contact list for future updates and meetings about parks in CityPlace.


Signy Eaton Fountain coming to Clarence Square

This week, construction started in Clarence Square to prepare a foundation for the Signy Eaton Fountain. Safety fencing has been put up to protect park users the construction area but the park and off-leash area are still open. Work will take about 10 weeks.

Installing the Signy Eaton Fountain is the second phase of Clarence Square's revitalization. It is consistent with the heritage design of the park, which included a central fountain until the 1920s. 


Grange Park update



The revitalization in Grange Park is well underway!

This week marks the arrival of the first new trees to be planted in the park; these Scarlet Oaks will be planted in the south promenade area. Other work that is scheduled to happen this week include: pouring of the foundation for the new washrooms and maintenance building, re-grading to prepare for the installation of the new paving stones.

To see the full revitalization plans, and to sign up for weekly construction updates, visit the Grange Park website at www.grangeparktoronto.ca.


New benches in St. Alban's Square

Now that spring is finally here, more and more neighbours are spending their mornings, lunches, evenings and weekends enjoying the City’s beautiful parks and green spaces. If you haven’t yet visited St. Alban’s Square, you will be pleased to hear about the arrival of new benches in the park!

I know that the benches in this park have been an issue for some time, so I requested that through their Minor Capital Budget for 2016, Parks, Forestry and Recreation install brand new benches in St. Alban’s Square for local residents and visitors to enjoy. I live close by on Albany, so I hope to see neighbours hanging out, reading a book or just simply enjoying the weather on a brand new bench!


Bill Bolton Arena Board reinstates Saturday Family Skate

I have spoken with many Seaton Village residents regarding the family skate at Bill Bolton Arena and would like to share some good news - Saturday Family Skate has been reinstated!

The original decision to cancel the family skate was made by the Board as they considered ice-utilization and to answer the community’s wish to see increased programming for women in the day-to-day arena programming.

However, after hearing from many neighbours about the importance of the Saturday family skate and the disappointment in the decision, the Board decided to consult with the community and revisit the issue at their April 21st Board meeting.

At its April 21st meeting, the Bill Bolton Arena Board of Management approved the reinstatement of a Saturday Public Skate from 6:30 to 7:30pm and to extend arena hours on Saturdays for one hour – from 10:30pm to 11:30pm for the 2016-17 programming season. The minutes recording this decision will be posted on the Bill Bolton website immediately following the May 17th Board of Management meeting.

I would like to thank the community members who shared their comments and concerns, who came out to speak with Board members and who wrote to me and called my office on this issue. Also, thank you to my fellow Board members for consulting with the community and coming forward with a resolution that answered community concerns. 


TTC Construction - Queens Quay

All streetcar service will be replaced by buses on Queens Quay for the next two weekends – May 7/8 and May 14/15. The buses will run from Exhibition Place to Union Station via Queens Quay and Bay Street.

The 510 Spadina streetcar will turn back north at Queens Quay and Spadina.

Overnight transit service will be provided by buses operating from Spadina Avenue and Queens Quay to Union Station via Bay Street.

During these times, the TTC will be modifying the top of existing poles within the streetcar right-of-way and running additional fibre optic cables through the underground cable chambers. Work will take place during the day and overnight.

Click here to view a copy of the TTC notice.


Doors Open Toronto 2016

The 17th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29, 2016, offering free and rare access to more than 130 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city, including many in Ward 20. 

The Doors Open Toronto 2016 theme of Re-used, Re-visited and Revised will explore the adaptive re-use of buildings throughout Toronto's architectural history. 

For a full list of buildings open for Doors Open, check out their website here.


Heritage Toronto: Ward 20 Tours

As part of its 22nd season, Heritage Toronto is offering walking tours in Ward 20:

Saturday May 7th at 11AM – From Standard Time to Stem Cells: The Discovery District, co-presented with the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science (as part of the Science Rendezvous weekend), beginning at Stewart Observatory, 12 Hart House Circle

Sunday May 15th at 10:30 AM – The Layers of Kensington Market, co-presented with Kensington Market Historical Society, beginning at Bellevue Square Park

The Tours program is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the rich and vibrant history of the city's diverse neighbourhoods.

For more information and to view a full list of Heritage Toronto, take a look at their brochure here.


Waterfront Artisan Market: First weekend May 28-29!

For six weekends this year, the Waterfront BIA will be bringing the Waterfront Artisan Market to HT0 Park on Queens Quay. Their operating partner, Toronto Market Company, produced the popular Union Station food market on Front Street last year.

There will be a wide variety of unique art, jewellery, and artisanal gifts to browse. And more than 20 cook-on-site food vendors will tempt your taste buds. Offering an opportunity to explore new items and food from up-and-coming vendors, the Market adds a new and interesting dimension to our city's favourite weekend escape that's always just around the corner: our waterfront.

Market weekends in 2016 will be: Gangways Open Weekend (May 28-29), Father's Day (June 18-19), Canada Day and Redpath Waterfront Festival (July 1-3), Civic Holiday (July 30-August 1), Labour Day (September 3-5), and Thanksgiving (October 8-10)


"Weekends start Wednesdays" at Harbourfront Centre this summer

Harbourfront Centre has unveiled its summer lineup, where weekends begin on Wednesdays. Every weekend this summer includes a lakeside film screening (Wednesdays), Dancing on the Pier (Thursdays), an outdoor concert in the Toronto Music Garden, as well as a festival all weekend long.

The 2016 summer season offers new festivals along with old favourites and weekly events that showcase more than 1000 local and international artists, 11 films, and more than 40 concerts. Highlights include the celebration of Canada's 149th birthday featuring Toronto's largest fireworks display choreographed to an all-Canadian soundtrack. Harbourfront Centre has always been a bold and innovative force in Canada's cultural scene, and it's right in our back yard on the picturesque waterfront.

Much of the excitement and fun at these summer festivals if free! Visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com/festivals/ for the full lineup of festivals and other activities.


Stay in touch with Trustee Malik

Sign-up to Trustee Ausma Malik's e-newsletter for regular updates from her: http://eepurl.com/9xckn


Upcoming Development Consultations

University of Toronto St. George Campus Secondary Plan
Date: Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
Time: 5:00 - 7:30pm
Location: C. David Naylor Student Commons, Main Floor, Medical Science Building (1 King’s College Circle)

This pre-application presentation is an opportunity to hear more about the proposed Secondary Plan framework, learn about the plan, ask questions and offer feedback. For more information, see the event flyer here.

Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study - save the date!
Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
Time and Location: TBD (please contact my office if you would like to notified when these details are confirmed)

This meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the Kensington Market HCD Study and offer comments and feedback on the consultant's initial findings.

350, 370, 390 Queens Quay W - rezoning application
Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
Time: TBD
Location: Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre (to be confirmed)

City Planning will be hosting this meeting to discuss the re-zoning application for this site. Come out to hear from City Planning staff and the applicant, ask questions, and offer your feedback.


Upcoming events

May 24th, 2016

Waterfront Transit Reset Study Public Meeting (6:00 - 8:30pm)

Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W), Brigantine Room

This Phase 1 study is being undertaken by the City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto in order to help establish a vision and plan for a comprehensive waterfront transit network.

This study will review existing waterfront transit, previously planned transit initiatives, and current and future transit needs. A range of transit alternatives will be developed and evaluated to help determine a preferred east-west waterfront transit solution that will integrate north/south transit and active transportation, linking people from across the City to the waterfront and its nearby destinations and attractions.


Constituency Hours!

A reminder that I hold constituency hours every Friday afternoon at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West).

Please call 416-392-4044 or email councillor_cressy@toronto.ca for an appointment.