Safety Week in Ward 20
Building safe and accessible communities is a critical part of our work together. Ensuring our streets are safe for everyone who uses them, our parks are accessible and vibrant, and more are just some of the priorities we've been working on together.
This past week I expanded our annual community safety walks into a Safety Week, hosting walks in more neighbourhoods than ever with staff, police, residents and business owners across Ward 20 to identify local public and personal safety issues.
Here’s a recap of some of the issues that were raised. My office is compiling all the comments from the community safety walks and coordinating follow-up actions with City divisions and our partners. If you weren't able to join the safety walk but want to raise any additional issues, please feel welcome to email me at [email protected].
On Monday, May 14, I hosted our annual community safety walk in CityPlace. Last year's safety walk was held on a dark and wet winter evening, so it was a very nice contrast for us all to be out together on a sunny spring afternoon this year. I brought out representatives from Toronto Police, Traffic Operations, City of Toronto Parks, and Toronto Hydro to meet with local residents, the CityPlace Residents Association, the CityPlace-Fort York Business Improvement Area (BIA), and local school board trustee Ausma Malik.
We met at the library and walked east along Fort York Boulevard to Spadina. Community members pointed out areas of concern including safely accommodating current school bus loading on Dan Leckie Way, the need for improved pedestrian and cyclist safety at the bottom of the yellow Puente de Luz Bridge, and future potential issues to anticipate before the new community centre and schools open in the fall of 2019.
Standing at the corner of Spadina Avenue and Fort York, we discussed three important pedestrian safety improvements that I have been pushing through the City bureaucracy this term: a new pedestrian crossing on the south side of the Spadina/Bremner intersection, a new pedestrian crossing on the west side of Spadina where it crosses Lake Shore Boulevard, and an urban reconfiguration of the Gardiner off-ramp where it meets the east side of Spadina. We also discussed personal safety concerns on the corner by the RBC branch and there will be a follow-up meeting with Police and businesses to talk about next steps such as additional CCTV cameras.
On Tuesday, May 18, I hosted a community safety walk in the King-Spadina area. I brought out representatives from Toronto Police, Traffic Operations, and City of Toronto Parks, to meet with the Entertainment District Residents' Association, the Garment District Neighbourhood Association, and the Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Area (BIA).
The community safety walk focused on our three major local parks, starting in Clarence Square Park and then visiting Saint Andrew's Playground and Victoria Memorial Square Park. Community members pointed out areas of concern including graffiti throughout the parks, areas where nighttime lighting should be improved, and locations where large dogs are too often let off leash. We also identified maintenance issues in the parks such as the quality of the ground surfaces in the designated off-leash areas for dogs, and we talked about the ongoing revitalization plans for Saint Andrew's Playground.
On Thursday, May 17, I hosted a community safety walk in the Chinatown area. I brought out representatives from Toronto Police, Traffic Operations, Toronto Hydro street lighting staff and City of Toronto Parks, to meet with local stakeholders including the Cecil Community Centre and staff from the new Yonge Street Mission site on Spadina Avenue.
Our focus for this walk was on two parkettes (Julius Deutsch Parkette and the soon-be-revitalized Glasgow Street Parkette), and planning proactively for safety in the community. We chatted with residents using the parkettes who pointed out improved nighttime lighting in both parkettes and rough sleeping in Julius Deutsch as issues. Transportation staff highlighted the signage added at Huron and Cecil in light of the fatal accident earlier this year when a car travelled the wrong direction down a one-way street.
We also visited the laneways off of Huron, and Yonge Street Mission staff explained their plans for increased lighting and security cameras at the back of the building, as well as plans for a mural to deter graffiti.
On Friday, May 18, I hosted a community safety walk in Bathurst Quay. It was great to check on progress made on the issues highlighted in our previous safety walks in the area, as well as to identify new challenges that come with rapid growth on the Waterfront. Participating in the walk were representatives from Toronto Police, the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association, the Waterfront Secretariat, School Board Trustee Ausma Malik and staff from Toronto Community Housing and the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre.
We discussed improvements coming to the Waterfront School playground as part of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan, including better short term fencing and more lighting and signage. Cars driving on the streetcar tracks continue to be an issue at Queens Quay and Bathurst, and police plan to direct more patrols to the intersection to combat frequent speeding. Toronto Community Housing staff gave an update on safety improvements at 25 Bishop Tutu including new lighting in the courtyard, and we raised a need for more street lighting along Stadium Road with Toronto Hydro staff. Around the Stadium Road park we discussed making changes to prevent cars driving down the fire route, and looked at the possibility of adding another stop sign to better manage the Little Norway/Stadium Rd intersection.
A walk we had originally planned for the Annex will be rescheduled for a later date when all stakeholders are available to participate.
If you weren't able to join the safety walk but want to raise any additional issues in your neighbourhood, please feel welcome to email me at [email protected].