Toronto Sun op-ed: Roncesvalles redo a victory for neighbourhoods

On Friday, the Toronto Sun published an op-ed by John Bowker, chair of the BIA’s Beautification Committee and the BIA’s representative in Roncesvalles Renewed. The article celebrates the unity of our neighborhood, as we prepare for the 2009-10 reconstruction of Roncesvalles. It also criticizes efforts by suburban councillors to turn Roncesvalles into a busy highway for commuters from North York and Etobicoke:

“When the automobile folks and the streetcar folks go to war over who controls the street, the neighbourhoods themselves often suffer. Streets get carved up and divided, and a pleasant main street can become a tangle of barriers, signals, lines and signs. Slow streets can become fast highways, and pedestrians learn to just keep on walking with their heads down.

“Too often the local residents themselves succumb to this confrontational mentality, filing lawsuits and sending in angry petitions. Good ideas get drowned out as polarization sets in, leading to poorer outcomes for everyone.

“That’s why I am feeling extremely proud of our neighbourhood today. I believe we have responded to these challenges with remarkable creativity, intelligence and open-mindedness.

“And so our community is poised to benefit from an innovative streetscape plan that uses new ideas to balance the needs of all users, including motorists.”