What should Toronto do with its major streets? – BRANDON DONNELLY

The City of Toronto’s Official Plan directs growth to areas of the city that it refers to as Centres, Avenues, Employment Areas, and the Downtown. In other words, these are the areas where most new development is intended to take place. So if you own land in one of these areas, it is probably worth more than if it were outside of them, all other things being equal.

Avenues are what you might expect. They are major streets that run throughout the city (pink ones in the above map). But not all major streets are “Avenues.” There are lots of major streets that provide connectivity across the city but still feel like residential streets (tired ones I might add) and that have land use policies that only allow low-rise housing. I have always viewed this as a mismatch and I have long been critical of it on the blog.

But as part of the City’s Expanding Housing Options in Neighourhoods (EHON) initiative, this exact problem is being looked at. And I think it is one of the most important land use studies currently underway in the city. Because if we are truly serious about housing affordability and our low-carbon goals, we are going to need to blanket our city with a lot more transit-supportive density. And our major streets are great place to start.

I just hope that everyone involved will be as bold and visionary as possible. If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comment selection below. And for the latest on this study, click here. It is an agenda item at next month’s Planning and Housing Committee meeting.

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