infrastructure

Street Furniture Installations in Ward 25

Transportation Service’s Street Furniture Management team has been hard at work this winter, preparing for their 2017 installations.

I’m pleased to share that Ward 25 will be receiving 11 new transit shelters, 38 litter receptacles, 4 benches, 1 poster structure and 1 publication structure.

Also, as part of the Street Furniture Program, the city is offering Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) the opportunity to request the installation of on-street benches for up to the entire BIA area, free of charge.

With the goal of improving the amenities around businesses and the community, the city will work with BIAs to determine feasible bench locations, and BIAs will get to choose the bench colour.

For more information, please contact Antonia Markos at antonia.markos@toronto.ca.

Update on the City’s Road Safety Plan

This past July, City Council unanimously approved Toronto’s first-ever comprehensive Road Safety Plan, which I spearheaded as Chair of Public Works. I’m excited to share that we’re making significant progress on putting the plan into action!

By November 1st, all of the 14 Pedestrian Safety Corridors identified in the Road Safety Plan will be completed, and over the next two months at 13 locations across Toronto, city crews are implementing geometric safety improvements to make our streets safer for all who use them.

To give you a sense of the scale of this work, new and improved pavement markings have been completed at 317 intersections since the summer. To cap it all off, last month I was fortunate to attend the Transportation Association of Canada’s conference, where the City of Toronto was awarded the 2016 Road Safety Engineering Award for its Curb Radii Design Guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to improve safety by decreasing the frequency and severity of collisions. By having smaller curb radii, pedestrians spend less time crossing the intersection. In addition, tightened curb radii improve visibility of pedestrians and help ensure drivers slow down at intersections.

This prestigious award recognizes Toronto’s Curb Radii Design Guidelines as the new national standard across Canada – it also showcases our city’s commitment to encouraging innovation in transportation and road safety.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Road Safety Plan this fall!

Improving the City’s Infrastructure

As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’m pleased to share that the city is engaging in an aggressive program of road construction and watermain replacement to improve its aging infrastructure.

In 2016 alone, we’re investing more than $550 million to maintain and improve our city’s core infrastructure, including $260 million on roads and bridges, $227 million on sewers and watermains and $71 million on basement flooding protection.

This construction work will have real long-term benefits for Torontonians such as improved transportation corridors and better public transit.

While necessary, there’s no doubt that construction causes disruption and inconvenience to road users and other residents that share the public realm.

In recent years, the city has embraced a multi-year capital coordination process to streamline and synchronize capital projects. Leading this process is the Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination Office (MCIC), established in in 2008.

The chief goals of the MCIC are to improve efficiency and delivery rates, avoid conflicts between different projects and minimize disruption for residents:

  • A multi-year perspective ensures that capital work is being completed in the right order. This means, for example, that underground work will precede construction at grade.
  • A multi-agency approach helps achieve efficiencies in construction such as effective work-zone coordination or joint excavation.
  • A multi-stage process further works to minimize disruption for residents by, for instance, coordinating with transit operations and ensuring proper maintenance of equipment.

The bottom line is that the city is taking important steps to ensure that capital projects follow a predictable, logical and cost-effective path to delivery – all to get this needed infrastructure work done with the least amount of inconvenience and disruption.

To stay up-to-date, check out T.O. INview, a web-based mapping system showing the locations and details of planned capital projects.

Intensification in the Yonge & Eglinton Community

Toronto is experiencing unprecedented growth. While many neighbourhoods are feeling the pinch, few are experiencing levels of growth and change like the Yonge-Eglinton area. This growth has direct impacts on our built form and infrastructure – from transit to schools to stormwater management.

That’s why, in July 2015, I asked the Chief Planner to report on planning tools that can be used to help manage intensification pressure in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.

The goal of the study, the Yonge and Eglinton Growth, Built Form and Infrastructure Review, is to develop an evidence-based planning approach that can better inform the development review process and policy-making moving forward.

From my perspective, any and all growth needs to be effectively managed to ensure the continued liveability of our community. These planning tools will guide the vision, form and fit of future developments with a focus on the context-specific character of the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.

Building on the recently City Council-approved Midtown in Focus, a plan focusing on public realm improvements to streets, buildings and open spaces, the Yonge and Eglinton Review is really four plans in one. Using recent growth analyses, the Review examines built form, cultural heritage, community infrastructure and transportation and municipal services.

A key component of the review involves a detailed analysis of the performance and capacity of city infrastructure, including transportation networks, water, wastewater and energy. The final report will outline what infrastructural improvements would be needed based on projected growth estimates.

Expected in Spring 2016, the report will enhance the development review process by providing hard data on the multiple impacts of intensification in Yonge-Eglinton.

The bottom line is that we want to maintain the unique feel of the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood and the characteristics that make it a vibrant community.

For updates on the Yonge and Eglinton Growth, Built Form and Infrastructure Review, click here.

Construction Coordination

We are deep into an unprecedented construction season.

While the increased construction activity signals much needed and long overdue investment in our city’s basic infrastructure, it also brings congestion and disruption.

In response, the city is redoubling its construction coordination efforts.

I recently met with the Director of the city’s Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination (MCIC) group – the lead on construction coordination.

MCIC’s job is to organize and connect key stakeholders from city divisions (Water, Transportation, TTC), third-party utility and telecommunication companies (Toronto Hydro, Enbridge, Rogers, Bell) as well as private developers, share information and identify opportunities to bundle and streamline work.

MCIC’s role does not end when construction starts. Once shovels are in the ground, MCIC is constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce congestion and disruption, including accelerating or decelerating construction activity or implementing short term signal changes on surrounding streets, among other things.

Of course, there is always room for improvement – I see it day in and day out.

Please let me know if you see an example of poor construction coordination by sending me an email or calling my office. Each and every example can help us improve the city’s response going forward!