A novel example from the City of Toronto of a way to accelerate urban planning . We have become too dependent on the City as a overseeing authority and to a great degree have abdicated our own authority in making our cities run and develope the way and in the timeframes wherein we need them to develope. Is somewhat of a fine line of democracy at work but this example demonstates a healthy approach that the public from the private sector can make with “Public ” administration.
“On Yonge Street, Ms. Wong-Tam is attempting to find middle ground. She has involved city staff from the get-go, and members of the planning department, TTC and parking authority attended her January meeting. But she has accelerated the process dramatically by having the plan itself drawn up by Mr. Greenberg and KPMB and having business owners kick in the former’s $40,000-fee.“I understand that the mayor ran on a plan of fiscal austerity and that there isn’t a lot of money, but you have a street that represents Toronto’s face to the world,” she said.City planning staff is currently vetting her proposal, which will be voted on by council in the fall. To make the idea go down as easy as possible, she is not asking for a firm yes or no on the whole project from her council colleagues, but simply asking them to approve a trial period that would see the new street format created through temporary landscaping.Her idea, and how it was produced, should present an interesting conundrum to the current mayor. On one hand, it calls for the reduction of car traffic on the midtown artery, reducing a section of Yonge to just two lanes. It will be presented to council just one month after another councillor, Denzil Minnan-Wong, pitches a traffic study with the aim of increasing the drivability of Yonge Street.But Ms. Wong-Tam’s approach also manifests the mayor’s desire to increase public-sector funding of city development, and proves him right when he claims there are alternative ways to cover costs traditionally shouldered by the city.So does she worry that her initiative is playing right into Mr. Ford’s hands?“It’s an excellent question,” she said. “I’m fully aware of the political posturing that would likely take place over an initiative like this because it fits into a certain ideology.”She insists the model is only applicable in certain Toronto neighbourhoods, the ones that have the financial means to chip in large sums of money. The Downtown Yonge BIA contributed $10,000 as did several individual property owners.“The private sector is not going to step up for everything, especially with respect to infrastructure money,” she said. “These streets belong to Toronto and Torontonians, and to ask the private sector to build you a subway or bear costs for certain capital assets, I think, is naive.” ”