COMPLETE STREETS: THE SCARBOROUGH OPPORTUNITY
The City of Toronto has excellent policies for active transportation, complete streets, and pedestrian/cyclist safety. A goal of the City’s TransformTO climate change action strategy is to ensure that by 2050 75% of trips of less than 5km will be walked or cycled, and the Official Plan aims to have cycling infrastructure available within 1km of every resident in the city. Toronto’s Vision Zero 2.0 framework promises to ensure a safer experience for all road users regardless of age and abilities, to encourage active and sustainable transportation, and to improve the public realm, guided by policy approaches outlined in the Toronto Complete Street Guidelines.
Although the City is working to enable active transportation, there has consistently been a focus on downtown areas when building new infrastructure. This report shows that the City’s record on building cycling facilities in Scarborough has been an abject failure, with almost zero progress in Scarborough since 2016 despite significant achievements elsewhere in the city. The report proposes a comprehensive active transportation network for Scarborough at the scale necessary to achieve existing City of Toronto policy targets. The suggestion is not that this is the only possible network, but that without a long-term plan for a comprehensive network, Toronto is unlikely to be able to significantly improve conditions for active transportation. It is past time to elevate our ambition and to transform Scarborough into a walkable, bikeable, and more livable place.
See our full report here
This report presents an ambitious vision for a connected Greenways network of off-road multi-use trails (greenways) in publicly owned corridors throughout Scarborough. Scarborough is fortunate in having major opportunities to build Greenways in existing public rights of way with no need for land purchase or expropriation. The Greenway network presented here sets out a vision for a connected network that reaches to every corner of Scarborough, with 93% of Scarborough residents living within 1km of the proposed network. Some off-road paths currently exist, but most are in parks, and are very narrow. Crucially, they don’t connect together to form a network and are therefore almost useless to get around Scarborough. The total network we propose is 164.9km in length, of which 51% already exists as paths and trails. This is a significant head start, but we argue that it should be a major City of Toronto priority to improve these paths and connect them together. A major Toronto policy priority is to facilitate the shift to a mobility culture in which active transportation plays a meaningful part. But the reasonable fear of dangerous roadways is an important obstacle to a greater share of active transportation for mobility in Scarborough.
A Greenway network can make a major contribution to building a walking and cycling culture for everyday mobility. This Greenway network will transform Scarborough from an active transportation desert to the place with one of the best urban off-road active transportation networks in the world. We argue that plans for active transportation including Greenway network plans must be in place before large-scale intensification redevelopment of Scarborough accelerates. It is important that no further public land corridors should be privatized before a plan for a complete network of off-road multi-use trails is agreed and established as City of Toronto policy.
See our full report here