Local News > Official Position of WLHA on proposed changes to Yonge Street

Official Position of WLHA on proposed changes to Yonge Street

Massive changes proposed to Yonge Street, Sheppard to Finch
The City of Toronto has been studying options to "ReImagine" Yonge Street between Florence Ave and Finch Ave. They have had several public meeting to obtain public input about the look & feel and they are narrowing down the options. There are a few features which cause concern for our community that we have now voiced to the City.
You can find detailed information on the proposal at the following link

After careful examination of the proposal which includes a reduction of lanes on Yonge Street, the addition of protected bike lanes northbound and southbound, the addition of a median from Florence all the way to Sheppard, and eliminating left turn lanes from Yonge Street onto Sheppard Ave, our board of directors has concluded the following:
   1.    We support the concept of implementing streetscape improvements and safe cycling infrastructure in the Yonge corridor between the 401 and at least to Finch Ave.  However, we are not certain that our residents will enjoy the result sufficiently to compensate them for the unintended consequences of its current form of implementation on our neighbourhood.  
   2.    The proposal has been rushed to allow for quick implementation of new cycling infrastructure and beautification without adequate consideration given to the negative impact of traffic on the community of West Lansing. It is clear that the proposed lane reductions on Yonge Street, as well as the elimination of the left turn from northbound Yonge onto westbound Sheppard, will result in significant increase in traffic on Beecroft Road via Poyntz Avenue, as well as a significant increase in diversion of traffic to Sheppard Ave. via the residential streets of our neighbourhood (via Poyntz Ave. and Florence Ave.). Other than providing a median in front of Johnston Avenue, the proposal does not include any measures to protect our neighbourhood from expected penetration by outside traffic originating from Yonge St and Beecroft Road, and its inevitable consequences such as rushing through local intersections and regularly not observing "no turn" signs (because enforcement rarely happens). The proposal should incorporate our community and include all necessary measures to protect us from an inevitable increase in penetration by outside traffic including enforcement.
   3.    The proposal is slated for completion well in advance of completion of the East Service Road connecting Doris Avenue to Avondale Road (which is intended to alleviate the additional traffic volumes on Yonge Street). It would be more logical to implement this proposal once this East Service Road extension is completed.
   4.    The traffic study does not take into consideration the realities of planning decisions in the province of Ontario wherein the Ontario Municipal Board regularly overrides City of Toronto's Official Plan. These numerous decisions over the past 20 years have resulted in disproportionate residential condominium development in North York and more specifically the immediate vicinity of the West Lansing Community. Many of them, representing thousands of residential units, are NOT contemplated in the Official Plan. There is no reason to expect this behaviour will not continue. In fact, the west side of Sheppard currently has two proposals for 14 and 11 story developments with townhouses behind them whereas only 4-5 storey developments (and no townhouses) are contemplated in the Official Plan. The traffic study made no effort to test the impact if developments (and other similar developments) are approved at more than double what is currently allowed under the Official Plan. Yet we continue to assume that the Official Plan will be followed? The resulting continuing rise in traffic volumes as a direct result of OMB decisions is inevitable and has not been factored into traffic modelling used in the proposal. The assumptions made in the proposal assume much lower traffic volumes and are therefore completely inaccurate. The proposal should be revised to present a realistic scenario, not one based on an Official Plan that is no longer followed.

For more information, please contact Mike Capotosto, mike@westlansing.ca