Roncesvalles redesign: your input is needed

Toronto’s Public Realm section is leading the detailed design phase of the Roncesvalles streetscape improvement project. The City needs your input to help them understand our local priorities and the local conditions.

For example, a number of businesses have told the BIA that they are currently unable to build a patio out front due to a bus shelter or a tree planter. The locations of such items are currently being considered, so it may be possible to locate these items elsewhere nearby. But the City designers cannot know about these preferences unless we inform them.

Here are some questions that only the community can answer:

  • which businesses need patio/display space, and which would prefer a tree?
  • where would benches be best used?
  • where do pedestrians feel the most vulnerable?
  • where do cars speed, or bottleneck, or otherwise get into mischief? what is the likely cause?
  • where have accidents or “close calls” occurred?
  • where do cars park illegally? or make temporary stops? or make other unauthorized use of the street? should this be tolerated or not?
  • do people feel comfortable jaywalking, or does everyone cross only at the crosswalks?
  • where do pedestrian bottlenecks occur? what is the cause?
  • where do people gather (as opposed to loiter)? And where do people loiter (as opposed to gather)?
  • where are the “dead zones” along the sidewalk, where people don’t wish to linger? What can be done to improve these areas?
  • where do the elderly need to rest?
  • do strollers need a place to park/lock up? if so, where?
  • how many bike parking spots do we need? where should they go?
  • where do parents pick up/drop off their kids? what routes do the kids take to and from school?
  • when is parking most needed, and by whom?
  • how many people buy their coffee to go, making quick stops in their cars? how many people drink at the coffee shop?
  • which spaces should be greened, and which should be paved (for patios, displays or other features)? Can we do both, and if so, how?
  • do people prefer an nice uncluttered street, or is a little clutter desirable if it adds interest?

Obviously, our community is not expected to design the street. That is the City’s job. But there is a difference between a street as it appears on a designer’s computer screen and a street as it actually is used. By informing the City of our local priorities and the local conditions, be are best able to ensure that the City builds the best possible street for our community.

Your input or questions can be sent directly to Councillor Gord Perks or to the BIA ( We will ensure that your comments are sent to the right people at the City. The BIA also encourages community members to discuss these questions with neighbours, fellow merchants, at your residents’ association meetings, at church, and at other public gatherings. Roncesvalles Renewed, a partnership of local community organizations, is hosting online discussions, and invites your participation. More information about the reconstruction is available here and here.

4 thoughts on “Roncesvalles redesign: your input is needed

  1. Bob Warburton

    Can you please comment on what if any plans there are to run power to each of the new trees and/or to any “coffins” that may remain (as few as possible I hope) for tree lighting – whether for the Holiday Season or other times such as the Polish Festival or perhaps even year round.

    Thank you.

  2. John Bowker, RVBIA

    The BIA’s experience with tree lighting has not been the best. Several years ago, a utility company cut the BIA’s power supplies to many trees while repairing their services. The company refused to take responsibility, and the BIA faced several thousands of dollars in repair costs. In addition, tree lighting required several separate hydro bills, whose basic account servicing fees were much larger than the actual power costs.

    But even before then, tree lighting was inconsistent and unimpressive, with one attractive display in a large tree appearing next to a puny display in an unhealthy immature tree. In addition, we have learned that tree lighting can damage these immature trees.

    At the same time, we noticed how effective site-specific light displays have been, such as the Koreatown tiger, or the angels in Little Italy. Many people stop by the tiger to have their pictures taken with it, and the Little Italy BIA turned the lighting of their angels into a seasonal event. Such displays are easier to maintain as well. In terms of bang for the buck, theses displays seem to be the way to go.

    It is our hope that the BIA can mount one or more displays at key sites along Roncesvalles, most likely starting with the green space near the library. We still need a theme for such displays, and suggestions are welcome.

  3. Nye Smith

    Why are the above ground wires buried also while the street is ripped. The architectural renderings never include the multitude of ugly above ground wires ?

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