Letter from Dianne Saxe

Dianne sent us a message prior to the election, discussing many of the issues surrounding Avenue Road safety.

I am running for city Council, and seeking your support to help make Avenue Road better. Avenue Road north of Bloor is poorly designed and unacceptably dangerous. Between 2006 and 2020, 5% of all road collisions in Ward 11 happened on the one km of Avenue Rd north of Bloor. I’ve had a near miss myself. Over one third of these collisions led to the major injury or death of someone’s loved one. This has to stop.

One of my priorities at City Hall will be to make Avenue Rd safer, quieter, and more vibrant for the people who live, work, and play here. There is no mystery on how to do it. We need to dedicate more road space to people, not cars: wider sidewalks, intersections that put pedestrian safety first and protected bike lanes. We need transit that is more frequent and reliable. We need to stop reckless drivers from speeding, with fewer lanes, visual cues and enforcement. And perhaps we need non-resident vehicles to pay a congestion fee.

A quieter, more people-friendly street will give a boost to local businesses as well as saving lives. Multiple studies show that increasing ease of access for pedestrians, bicycles and transit increases spending in local stores, often by 30% or more. And I will support more corner stores and local businesses along Avenue Road.

The City’s plan to rebuild Avenue Rd gives us a once in a generation opportunity. I will work with City staff to build on the Avenue Road Safety Study. I will highlight opportunities to improve connections to green space, such as Ramsden Park, and to add public amenities like seating and trees. Street trees provide mental health benefits, improve air quality and cool the street on hot summer days.

With strong support from people like you, my evidence-based approach will gain enough support from fellow councillors and the mayor to vote yes for an Avenue Rd. that is cleaner, more beautiful and safer for us all. Will you join me to make it happen?

Thank you,

Dianne Saxe, September 27, 2022