The Scott CDP (see yesterday’s post) seems to this outsider to be going pretty well. It includes new public access to the NCC’s riverfront lands. Consider this drawing, showing not one, but two new multi-user paths giving residents easier access to the greenspace:
Presumably the consultant is working closely with the City cycling staff, and these proposals won’t be a shock to them. They will be unveiling the Scott CDP draft plan this Wednesday.
Now consider the Toronto consultants doing the Preston-Carling public realm study. The Public Advisory Group (note, I’m one of the members) asked for a complete street along Rochester, running from Carling to the Queensway (eventually, we’d like it to run to Gladstone, but that’s in another CDP, meeting next week). This would be the city’s new standard format complete street: sidewalk, bike track, row of trees, street, etc. Here is an example picture, from Cambridge (Boston) MA:
The pedestrian and cyclist friendly design would make it much easier for residents in the park-land-free Rochester-Booth-Chinatown neighbourhoods to get to Dows Lake, and around the neighbourhood. It would be useful for commuters too, but we see it mostly for its value to women cyclists, those with children (including the Rochester Hts public housing project nearby, as well as all those new condos), etc. Note too that one new development project, still semi-under-wraps, includes a large-ish grocer on Rochester Street, which will further increase the value in making Rochester welcoming to cyclists and pedestrians).
The idea was received warmly by the consultants, and there appears to be lots of “public right of way” to accomplish this. At the next meeting, however, the concept is gone, and the consultants reluctant to talk about it. The only reason they give is that they are in “constant consultation” with the city’s cycling group (presumably this is Robin Bennett et al) and such a link is not on the city’s new cycling plan, and therefore cannot be considered.
Now I feel this is an excuse, and not even a credible one. In my experience, the city cycling staff are not a bunch of dundridges *, although there are pockets of such poor souls elsewhere at city hall.
But why can one CDP, over on Scott, plan for new pedestrian and cycling facilities; whereas another one, also on the west side, can not?
And now you know why in yesterday’s post, I cited the city’s refusal to provide the community with such basic data as street widths, so we can determine if there is actually room for a complete street here. Is there a reason they want to keep us in the dark, and to postpone exploring the idea until it’s “too late”?
In the meantime, I encourage every reader to sign on to this list of people who want Rochester to provide community decent pedestrian and cyclist access to Dow’s Lake and the pathway network:
*Dundridge: sure to become your new favourite term. Look it up.