John Tory is cracking down on what he see as unnecessary road and sidewalk closures in downtown Toronto due to private construction.
The Mayor talking tough about the proverbial “rubber stamp” city council has given in the past on long lane closures for developments near major downtown streets.
We need to find new ways to develop in our thriving downtown core that doesn’t include closing lanes of traffic for up to 3 years. pic.twitter.com/k0DHhrPIXL
— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 11, 2016
Tory used his “Get Toronto Moving” platform, and addressed the media at Front and Bathurst Monday morning. This one of three corners of the city earmarked for a major condo development which was to shut down a nearby lane of traffic for an extended period of time.
His target was three downtown developments, one at Front and Bathurst, and two others which would have shut down a lane of traffic on Richmond street for close to two years.
“The bottom line is there are far too many of these instances across the city.” said Tory. “These (developments) just happened to be the three that came to city council last week, and frankly, I was fed up and we had to do something about it.”
Tory emphasized that Councillors need to spend more time with developers on better plans for staging their tools and vehicles on any given construction site.
“I drew a line at this council meeting,” said Tory. “I wanted to register the fact that it is time we started place a much greater emphasis on the broader public interest when it comes to these decisions.”
In hopes of getting project to move faster, Tory said permissions for lane and sidewalk closures would be granted in six month intervals.
He made reference to other major North American cities, like New York, which do not allow lane closures for private development in that city’s core.
The mayor said initiatives like the “financial carrot” representing higher fees for developers needing lane closures simply was not working as companies just added the increase to the cost of doing business.
“I really had hoped that by increasing the fees quite dramatically…that this would dampen down the number of people who even asked to close a lane.”
Tory now says the city will bring out the “regulatory stick” which hopefully will discourage developers from nonchalantly seeking lane closures on a new project.