Senior City Planner Paul Farish, responsible for leading the Midtown in Focus initiative, arranged a workshop on green infrastructure for our area. The Yonge-Davisville neighbourhood is the latest to be singled out and, through Mr. Farish, the City of Toronto sought public input into the future of the area’s parks and public spaces. The meeting was well attended despite the cold, rainy weather, and the attendees walked the streets of Davisville with City planners, looking for opportunities to preserve and enhance green space. We await the results of that consultation, which should arrive early in the New Year.
Prior to this event SERRA had mapped out a potential route on side streets and lanes which would allow pedestrians and cyclists to moving from the Yonge-Eglinton area to the beltline and Mt. Pleasant Cemetery without having to use major roadways. We would like to see the city develop several neighbourhood routes which would provide a quiet oasis and passageway in Davisville. With the planned arrival of 35,000 new residents in the Y-E area over the next 15 years, green spaces and parks will become ever more precious.
The workshop proved to be quite a popular and fun event, despite the blustery weather. We all went out exploring in the neighbourhood, led by City Planning staff, who offered up their Saturday afternoon. Councillor Josh Matlow and School Trustee Shelley Laskin also participated.
At the workshop it became clear that adding significant new park space in a mature neighbourhood such as Davisville is near impossible. Occasionally, a small parcel of property becomes available after changes to a local institution or church, such as lands from the now defunct Glebe Manor Bowling Club and the Manor Rd. United Church. We appreciate the permission of the Church of the Transfiguration for the recreational use of their property (at Manor Rd. East and Redpath Ave). Perhaps in the future, we might see a large, “green” square at the Y-E intersection and a park at the TTC lands at Yonge and Davisville?
In addition to identifying possible new green sites, the focus of the workshop also was on maintaining and enhancing our current park space including the Belsize and other parkettes, June Rowlands and Oriole parks and the school grounds. We know that Councillor Matlow with our Parks department are focusing a lot of attention on revitalizing those areas.
So what new ideas remain?
There is still unused potential in our low-rise residential area with some (still) quiet streets, mid-block pathways and mature tree canopy, and just to the south of us, the world-class Mt. Pleasant Cemetery arboretum and the restored Belt Line leading to the Brickworks and beyond to the Don Valley ravine system. However, the long, uninterrupted east-west street layout of our neighbourhood makes north-south travel by bike or foot inside the neighbourhood a real challenge (avoiding busy streets such as Yonge,Mt. Pleasantadn Bayview).
During the workshop, a number of potential north-south routes were identified. By utilizing existing and proposed mid-block pathways, and combining them with quiet neighbourhood streets to create an extensive pedestrian and (recreational) cycling network; we could have a more walkable neigbourhood that allows residents easier access to parks and green spaces.
The proposed north-south routes would enable travel inside the neighbourhood from Eglinton Ave. to the Belt Line, the cemetery, Davisville School and new Community Hub, and June Rowlands and Oriole parks.
To give you a better sense of these possible north-south pathways, SERRA created a hand-drawn map: davisville-n-s-pathways001
For a summary of SERRAs’ proposal, which describes the conditions for these “pathways”, click davisville-park-workshop-serra-proposal:
The city is looking for additional feedback on the public realm in the area. Anyone with comments or suggestions is asked to contact Farish at firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 2, 2016
With all the suggestions and comments the City planners received at the workshop, we now look forward to what the City planning efforts will yield and expect to see a first draft early in the new year.
Here’s to a greener future!