June 6, 2013
City of Toronto engages commuters on future of transportation
This morning, the second phase of the City of Toronto’s “Feeling Congested?” transportation public consultation got underway.
Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and staff of the City Planning division officially kicked off phase two of the consultation process at the St. George subway station. Staff invited commuters to get involved in the transportation conversation, encouraging them to go online to feelingcongested.ca to sign up for a unique public consultation experience.
This second phase of the consultation will present a decision-making framework to help identify rapid transit priorities along with a draft bicycle policy framework. It will also introduce the concept of Complete Streets.
The Complete Streets concept is an overall solution to good street design that provides a fair balance for all users. The design of city streets involves many City of Toronto divisions, agencies, stakeholders, bylaws, design specifications and technical requirements – which can sometimes result in competing and conflicting objectives. A clear mandate can help guide decision making.
The City will work with input from the public to develop its own definition of Complete Streets as well as a Complete Streets guidelines document.
There are several unique ways the City of Toronto is engaging Torontonians in the Feeling Congested? campaign. Members of the public are encouraged to participate and get involved in one or more of the following opportunities/interactions:
A short and engaging video that sets the context and vision for improving congestion in Toronto is available on the website. The video is designed to set the stage for this phase of consultation. Members of the public are invited to check it out and sign up for one of the many consultation options.
Commuter outreach will be conducted in person from June 6 to 20 during the morning and evening commute times. These 30-second interactions with the public will be done in transit stations, public spaces and shopping malls. The aim is to raise awareness of the initiative, encourage people to sign up for a public consultation and to provide feedback online.
There will be four meetings-on-the-move each designed to attract the participation of users of the four main modes of transportation.
Cycling and walking meetings-on-the-move sessions will take place on Sunday, June 23 from noon to 2 p.m. The cycling meeting will consist of a guided bike tour. The walking meeting will be hosted by Jane’s Walk.
A third meeting-on-the-move will be held on a chartered bus or streetcar on Monday, June 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Then, a driving meeting-on-the-move will take the form of a call-in radio show during the Live Drive with John Tory program on Newstalk 1010 from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26.
Using an online tool, participants will be asked to provide feedback on a rapid transit project investment decision-making framework and a new draft cycling policy framework.
A toolkit comprising a short booklet and a series of cards designed to generate meaningful discussion around the future of transportation will be available electronically on the website as well as in print through residents’ local councillors and various community groups, as well as at Toronto Public Libraries.
A second discussion panel called “Decongesting Toronto 2: Making Sound Decisions” will take place June 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The panel will focus on efforts to make the Official Plan more directive in terms of how investment in the transportation system is prioritized. The objectives of the panel are to draw attention to the need for a decision-making framework, and to discuss its importance from the perspectives of the economy, city-building and public health, as well as to draw on inspiration from other jurisdictions.
Finally, a public meeting will be held June 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Metro Hall (55 John Street). The purpose of this meeting will be to present the draft Complete Streets Framework, Bicycle Policy Framework, and Rapid Transit Decision-Making Framework, and to seek public input on the rationale and methodology behind these frameworks.
Information on the consultation is available at http://www.feelingcongested.ca.
Visitors to the site will notice that there are two sections: “What’s at Stake” and “Have Your Say.” The “What’s at Stake” portion of the website features a video that clearly explains the current situation, how the City is trying to solve it, and how the public’s input can help. The “Have Your Say” section is dedicated to collecting survey data from members of the public.