The reconstruction of Lansdowne between College and Bloor is going forward as planned starting June 18, according to Councillor Giambrone. The reconstruction includes removing a lane of parking and distributing that space to the other lanes, a wider sidewalk and a boulevard.
I spoke to Councillor Giambrone at the Fresh Air Fair in Dufferin Grove about the community protests raised around the issue.
Giambrone claims he spoke with residents on Lansdowne between College and Bloor on the specific issue of the reconstruction during last November's municipal election. Some of the residents claim that there was no consultation. There's no way I can wade through this controversy as it's the word of Giambrone and his staff against the word of a handful of residences who claim to speak for all along the street.
Focusing exclusively on the consultation of the Lansdowne residents is avoiding the concerns of the wider citizenry. The role of a councillor is not to only represent the residences along one street but all the people in his or her ward as well as the city as a whole. In deciding what to do with Lansdowne, Giambrone said that he had to balance the needs of people who use the street with the people who live on it. Being a citizen who uses Lansdowne regularly as a cycling route I really appreciate that my needs are being taken into account.
Lansdowne is marked in the Bike Plan as an excellent choice for a bike route. It is a minor arterial without the heavy traffic of Dufferin but still has a long, direct north-south route. This is one excellent example of where the greater cycling community must be taken into account when addressing the local residents.
Upon returning home from the Fresh Air Fair I had a chance to reread the staff report (pdf) and find a tasty bit of info: parking along this stretch of Lansdowne hardly gets used! Out of 203 parking spots between College and Bloor staff found that there were 59 parking permits issued and that use outside of the permit period that there was still about a 75% vacancy! Even after the one side of parking is removed there will still be about 40% vacancy.
Notwithstanding controversy amongst some residents, there seem to be no victims and no real crime.
Giambrone: rebuild Lansdowne; make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians; and let's just get on with life.