Major changes are coming to our iconic Yonge Street over the next several years that will fundamentally change the way we interact with the street. Three council motions have been approved involving different sections on Yonge from downtown Toronto to downtown North York.
The first motion was proposed by Councillor Colle calling for City staff to study the feasibility of adding Bike Lanes on Yonge Street from Lawrence to Bloor St. If the lanes are implemented with the CafeTO patios that extend on the street, they will create a more complete style of street that is conducive to shopping and dining out. Spring of 2021 is the expected implementation.
The second motion, proposed by Councillor Fillion, is known as the Transform Yonge project. Transform Yonge is an initiative to revitalize Yonge Street by transforming this major artery between Finch and Sheppard into a liveable main street where people can enjoy shopping, restaurants, and a vibrant cityscape. The plan is to rebalance the use of the shared street space by reducing six traffic lanes to four, widening sidewalks, adding planters, benches and outdoor patios and creating a protected cycle track separated from motorists and pedestrians. Construction is expected to begin in 2026.
The third motion focuses on the downtown section of Yonge Street and is known as yongeTOmorrow. The section between Queen Street and Carlton/College Street has a distinct character within the broader downtown context – it has a high concentration of pedestrians, street-related retail, and entertainment uses.This area attracts a large number of events, visitors, and tourists. Work to replace the water main below street level provides the opportunity to enhance space for pedestrians, cyclists, cafe patios and landscaping. 2025 is the estimated date for completion.
All three motions passed with a strong majority at Council and were met with enthusiasm by advocates for traffic safety and the environment who see these initiatives as part of a necessary and growing trend in major cities worldwide.