Toronto’s longest street is in for a major makeover

Have you ever noticed there are almost no bike lanes on Yonge Street? That might be set to change as a key report on the future of Toronto’s longest street goes before the Public Works committee this week.

Local councillor John Filion has been pressing for the stretch of Yonge St. between Sheppard and Finch avenues to be reduced from six to four lanes so as to accommodate bike lanes and increase sidewalk space.

The plan is part of the REimagining Yonge project that hopes to revitalize the densely populated portion of Yonge Street and see it converted into a more cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly space while bringing a more communal vibe to the busy area.

Tracing the roots of this plan would take us all the way back to the years when Mel Lastman was mayor of North York and envisioned a “downtown” corridor north of Sheppard. While the office towers and condos were eventually built, the wide central thoroughfare remains suburban in its configuration. 

As of now, however, Mayor John Tory has expressed concerns stemming from the potential for increased congestion should traffic lanes be reduced through this section of Yonge St.

He’s requested that alternatives to the $ 51.1 million dollar proposal be explored before moving forward. There’s always controversy when it comes to putting bike lanes on major streets in this city, but you can expect a particularly fierce debate on this one. 

The report goes to the Public Works and Infrastructure committee on Friday, January 19. 

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