by dandyhorse staff
images courtesy of Catia da Silva, &Co Architects
Bloor Street defines the heart of Toronto. Literally. Bloor is a major east-west route that separates the business, cultural and historic core of the city from its edges. It remains more neighbourhood high street than highway; more community hub than expressway. Yet thoroughfare is how planners and politicians have often envisioned Bloor. In Volume 4, Issue 1, we reimagine Bloor through the eyes of cyclists, pedestrians, children, the differently abled, politicians and business owners as well as drivers.
We visualize what it would look like if the street served all of our community instead of largely serving the car. Our task has been made easier by groups such as Take The Tooker, which for six years has advocated for a bike lane the length of Bloor, and the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT), which has encouraged others to examine the impact of street design on all road users. And a lot is at stake. Dan Leeming, founding partner at The Planning Partnership, noted during the 2010 Complete Streets Forum, “Streets are 20-30% of an urban area – they’re publicly owned and should therefore behave in the public interest.”
In our Spring 2011 issue, we ride tandem with visually impaired riders, hitch our bicycles up to bike corrals in Bloor West Village and get an early look at the cinematic reincarnation of the “world’s most prolific bike thief.” We slow down to take a look at a car-free Annex, stopping to shop along the way. We welcome BIXI to Toronto, talk politics with Adam Vaughan and Denzil Minnan-Wong and investigate what really happened with Yorkville’s road redevelopment. A new mom tells us how to go carless with kids and we illustrate what a safer ride on the Danforth would look like. We realize the importance of riding your bike to work – whether you’re the CEO of a major bank or a cashier at The Big Carrot. We also learn a pretty lesson about reading and riding and imagine the West Toronto Railpath as a hub for velo-city – an elevated, pollution-free, rapid mobility system to take cyclists and skaters downtown and to the lake. We’ve got all this and more in one long, continuous, pothole-ridden, bike lane-hungry stretch of road.
We are asking: What would it be like if we made people the priority on Bloor-Danforth?
Ambitious? We hope so. “Successful cities didn’t nibble at the edge of change,” sustainable transportation consultant Geoff Noxon advised Toronto planners, policy makers and activists at the Complete Streets Forum. “They bit off more than they could chew and then came back for more.” So digest this and then think about how to remake your community.
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