Wide sidewalks key to help commercial real estate weather the pandemic.
TheGlobeAndMail.com “An economic rebound in commercial retail amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic may be right under our feet – in the sidewalks we walk on. The key, however, depends on how wide they are.”
Avenue Road is booming – if only it had the sidewalks its grand name deserves
TheStar.com “Its current highway nature is ironic, considering it was once an elegant, tree-lined road and how, it’s said, it got the name Avenue. Whatever trees manage to exist on it now are squeezed onto some of Toronto’s narrowest sidewalks where two people can barely pass each other without one being nudged into traffic.”
Avenue Road is known for high-end shopping, posh hotels, and multiple private schools. It’s also known, some residents say, for having dangerously-narrow sidewalks alongside heavy traffic.
“It’s unsafe right now,” said Albert Koehl, a member of the Avenue Road Safety Coalition. “This street is no longer consistent with a modern downtown area.” Koehl, a 25-year resident of midtown Toronto, is among those calling on the city to consider widening the sidewalks alongside the busy six-lane arterial road.
“People just want to live their lives on this street as we do in quiet residential areas, but it’s still treated as a thoroughfare, as a highway, and that’s inconsistent with what I think our Vision Zero road safety plan wants to do,” he added.
The coalition, which includes residents’ associations, school groups and other organizations, has reached out to local councillor Josh Matlow to take their mission to city hall, and Matlow said he’s started a process to have city staff review Avenue Road and consult with stakeholders.
It doesn’t take a radar gun to see that plenty of drivers on Avenue Rd. are speeding.
Albert Koehl says all you have to do is stand on a corner to realize that, despite a posted limit of 50 kilometres per hour, many motorists use the six-lane arterial road that cuts through residential areas north of Bloor St. “as a speedway.”
The high speeds and narrow sidewalks make Avenue Rd. “a frightening place to be,” said Koehl, the vice-chair of the Annex Residents’ Association.