City Council approved in principle, a comprehensive plan to expand the City's cycling network over the next ten years (2016-2025). The plan identifies projects that will connect gaps in the existing network, grow the network into new parts of the city, and improve existing routes. As much as 525 km of new cycling infrastructure has been proposed. The General Manager of Transportation Services was asked to report back with a review of the plan in 2018, including further information on implementation, timing and funding.
Yonge Street Corridor Study
Part of the ten-year cycling network plan includes a major corridor study that is currently underway for Yonge Street from Sheppard Avenue north to Finch Avenue. I raised concerns to the General Manager of Transportation Services that the current proposal for a bike lane on Yonge would abruptly stop at Bishop Avenue, leaving cyclists in the dedicated bus lane near a transit hub that runs north to Steeles Avenue. Council supported my motion to review the corridor comprehensively and extend the study up to Steeles Avenue in a second phase starting in 2017.
City Council directed the Municipal Licensing and Standards division to conduct public consultations on a proposed framework for a multi-residential rental property licence for landlords in order to strengthen enforcement of existing bylaws. The framework will allow regular inspections to ensure better service and that all rental apartment buildings are properly maintained. Public consultations will be held at each of the civic centres later this summer. The exact dates are expected to be released in mid-July on the MLS website: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=eddb19f155cb0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
City Council received a report on the City of Toronto's long-term financial outlook. The City Manager expressed concerns regarding the City's ability to finance the future cost for public transit ($18.220 billion), the waterfront revitalization ($1.625 billion), and capital repairs for Toronto Community Housing ($2.734 billion).
At the Executive Committee, I raised the perspective that these costs were downloaded by the Provincial Government onto Toronto taxpayers and present significant future budget pressures for the City. The Federal and Provincial Governments collect billions of dollars in HST and income taxes from the development and growth in Toronto, with little being reinvested back into the important infrastructure that we need such as public transit, our waterfront and housing. Toronto taxpayers will face significant costs if all three levels of government don't share in funding these items.
Council requested the City Manager to report back on a number of strategies to improve efficiencies in service delivery, strengthen financial management and oversight, and comment on revenue-generating options.
The City, through the TTC, owns substantial lands at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue. A portion of these lands are under long-term leases where some of the current buildings exist. The balance of the site are the former TTC bus bays that have sat empty for many years.
City Council requested Build Toronto to review opportunities to coordinate the redevelopment of these lands to create a transit-oriented, mixed-use civic space. The property represents a unique city building opportunity with potential for new employment uses as well as publicly accessible open space in a central part of the City. A report on options is expected later this year.