Hello, Breezes Readers This past spring, I had the great pleasure of introducing the children at Bennetto School to Plan Local. I billed it as fun and easy way for them to tell me what they need to do in their neighbourhood to make streets safer for them as the walk to school, ride with friends and family and drive throughout their neighbourhood. I shared with the kids that we wanted them to participate in this thing called Plan Local and that they could submit ideas and if their ideas received enough votes across ward 2, they would become reality. So what exactly is Plan Local? Between April and June, we engaged residents from across Ward 2 to learn how best to spend $1 million on street safety and traffic calming measures in our neighbourhoods. Street safety has been an on-going concern for the residents and business owners of Ward 2.
The Ward is home to almost 40,000 residents, including 2,600 elementary school students; it is the centre of business in the city, with 25,000 workers commuting here every day. With so many drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians using the streets of the Ward every day, without any doubt, robust street safety infrastructure is needed. The North End Traffic Management Plan is a good example of the city working with the community in addressing north-enders on street safety. This evolved as an effort to get in front of the pending west harbour development. So, we launched PlanLocal Ward 2 Safe Streets to engage directly with Ward 2’s residents (including your school children) and business owners and learn how they felt street safety could be improved. This process reflects the belief that no one knows the streets of a community better than the people who live, work, and play around them, and that these people should have a direct say in how their Ward’s area rating dollars are spent.
Designed and coordinated by local planning firm Civicplan, Plan Local consists of three phases. The first encouraged residents and business owners to identify the unsafe locations in their community. These submissions were then reduced, based upon popularity of location, neighbourhood equity, and the advice of city staff, to a short list of 24 hotspot locations. In the second phase, residents and business owners voted on the shortlist to determine the most popular projects in the Ward. The final phase is the building of the projects starting in 2017. In this addition of your North End Breezes, we announce the final Plan Local Safe Streets project results: Over 1,300 residents and business owners participated in the process, either submitting ideas, voting, or both. In total, 464 people submitted 722 safe street ideas. In the second phase, 1,024 residents and business owners voted on the The Plan Local process. We engaged residents through a variety of means, including events throughout the community and through a robust on-line platform. In total, 19 physical locations were available for vote submissions, including boxes at local elementary schools, the YWCA Seniors’ Centre, the Central Library, local coffee shops, and others. Community members took an active role in the Plan Local process, with representatives of the local neighbourhood associations serving as an Advisory Committee and many people in the Ward contributing to the execution of the process. If you are interested in learning more, we also offer a breakdown of the Plan Local process and results; In our Plan Local/Ward 2 Safe Streets Summary Report.
Go to www.jasonfarr.com to read more about this exciting community engagement process. Drumroll please……
- Durand/Beasley/Central/Corktown: Will receive 5 of the new Pedestrian cross-overs, with projected 2017 designs and 2018 installations for most.
- In Beasley/North End/Corktown: Installation of 3 new 3-phase traffic signals. Locations: Ferguson and Main (connecting an existing north/south cycling route), Burlington and James (In anticipation of the pending waterfront development and in coordination with the NETMP) and at Forest and John (In a very densely populated and heavily pedestrianized area of Corktown) *this is the one item where I will seek council approval despite staff’s suggestion to the contrary.
- Central/Beasley: A pedestrian Cross-over across James and Mulberry
- Central: Barton and MacNab upgrade to an enhanced all -way stop and ladder crossings. Stinson: Wellington and Stinson: Intersection upgrade to pedestrian cross-over and ladder crossing improvement.
- North End: Upgrade intersections at Hughson and John. Enhanced all-way stops and the repair of asphalt at John and Picton for future painting
- Corktown and Durand: Improving signage and restricting left turns from Robinson onto James. And the installation of ladder crossing at the intersection of Charlton and James and further investigate signal crossing on the south side.
- Cannon and Mary: Ladder crossing and additional signage on Mary.
- North End: An upgraded pedestrian path between Hughson and John between the North Hamilton Community Health Centre and Bennetto School
- In Stinson: A full street resurfacing that greatly improves the bike lane experience from Wellington to Wentworth
So will those Bennetto children be happy? We hope so. On the day we heard from them they shared the needs for everything from full on traffic signals, pedestrian cross -overs, all way stops, turning restrictions and ladder crossing in addition to other terrific safe street (and pathway) ideas. If you participated in Plan Local in 2016, thank you. If this list of publicly devised and voted street safety projects has inspired you to get involved next year, great. We are still working on a theme, but if our exit surveys show anything, it looks like parks and public places have a head start. Other projects that came close, but did not make the list, will be of great assistance to us as we continue to plan for safe street implementations outside of the Plan Local process. In fact, we are already working with staff on these ideas. For example, Speed Humps on Murray from James to Bay, All ways and ladder crossings at Ferrie and MacNab, speed humps on Grant Avenue in Stinson. Thank you North Enders and all of the residents of Ward 2 who participated in Plan Local 2016. Until next time. Councillor Jason Farr Ward 2 Downtown firstname.lastname@example.org 905-546-2711