We need your help - Provincial cuts to overdose prevention sites, and the King Street Pilot
As we continue our work to build a fairer, more liveable city, we need your help to spread the word about two important issues.
Below you will find updates and petitions on the provincial cuts to supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites, and recommendations to make the King Street Pilot permanent.
Please get in touch with my office any time with questions or concerns about what you read below, or anything else.
Provincial Cuts to Supervised Consumption and Overdose Prevention Sites
The overdose crisis is the defining public health issue of our time. In Canada the number of deaths due to overdose continues to accelerate rapidly. More than 600 Ontarians died from overdose in just the first half of 2018, and it is now the leading cause of death of young people in Ontario.
On the afternoon of March 29, without prior notice, the Provincial Government announced only 15 of the 21 supervised injection and overdose prevention sites in Ontario had been approved for funding under the new regulations. The six sites not approved include three in Toronto, and three in London and Ottawa. Two overdose prevention sites in our city – Street Health at Dundas and Sherbourne and St. Stephen's Community House – were informed their funding would end abruptly two days later, along with their legal ability to operate. The third Toronto site not formally approved – Toronto Public Health's The Works – was informed they were still under review, and their funding is still in limbo.
Overdose deaths are preventable. The evidence is clear – supervised consumption sites save peoples' lives.
We need your help to tell Premier Ford and Minister Elliott to reverse the cuts to life-saving healthcare.
Sign the petition here: https://www.progresstoronto.ca/take-action-to-save-lives
The King Street Pilot - Make it Permanent and Make it Even Better
Before the King Street Pilot, it was faster to walk than to take the streetcar. But now, streetcars travel faster during all periods of the day and wait times are more predictable. Approximately 30,000 minutes of travel time are saved by King streetcar riders daily.
Since the Pilot began we have seen daily ridership increase to more than 84,000, compared to 72,000 before the Pilot. This is a 17% increase. The 12,000 new daily riders are more people than use subway stations such as Donlands (11,250) or Greenwood (11,080).
Meanwhile, the number of cars in the core has gone down. A survey of King streetcar riders found that 7% had switched from driving since the Pilot started. For those still driving in the area, travel times for motor vehicles on routes parallel to King Street were virtually unchanged during the Pilot, with increases and decreases of less than one minute on most routes.
The Pilot has also seen rush hour cyclist volume increase by nearly 300% on King Street, measured at Spadina Avenue. This makes King the second-most popular east-west cycling route across the downtown core.
To support local business, we implemented the City's "Food is King" promotion through Ritual, which resulted in $426,000 new sales for participating restaurants. We helped local businesses create 14 new outdoor cafes and seating areas in the curb lane of King Street. A parking promotion put in place through the GreenP mobile app was used over 78,000 times by visitors to the Pilot area. And, the City installed 18 new public spaces including destination parklets, seating, and public art along the length of the Pilot.
Was the pilot perfect? No - but, we’re committed to continuing to work together to make it work even better for everyone.
In a growing city, this is what success looks like. It’s time to make the King Street Pilot permanent, and to make it even better.
Next week Executive Committee will consider recommendations to make the King Street Pilot permanent. Show your support for making it permanent, and making it even better. Sign up to depute in support of the pilot, or submit your comments here.