A modest proposal

I live in Toronto’s High Park neighbourhood. Three quick points first to then get to my proposal:

  1. The City has started to close High Park to cars on weekends. This is very nice for park-goers. This also means that all the parking lots within High Park are now blocked off, so that drivers are now parking on every nearby sidestreet.
  2. Bike lanes were recently introduced to Bloor St. West, reducing traffic in each direction to one lane, while maintaining, for the most part, two full lanes of on-street parking.
  3. There is no sizeable public (Green P) parking lot near High Park.

Ok, here’s my proposal.

The City should keep High Park closed to cars every day of the week and year, remove on-street parking from Bloor St. West, so that there can be two lanes of traffic in each direction on this major arterial, and introduce one or two major Green P parking lots to make up for that loss of parking.

Here’s a map of the blocks immediately to the north of High Park on either side of High Park Ave.

On the right side of this image, you can also see the end of the HighPark Condos building, which was developed by The Daniels Corporation and which rises to 14 storeys. It includes 378 units.

The City should encourage developers to assemble the properties on these two blocks (or do it themselves) with the promise that significant density will be permitted in exchange for one or two below grade Green P parking lots.

To summarize, were this to be done, you’d end up with:

  1. A completely car-free High Park;
  2. Two lanes of traffic in each direction on Bloor St. West, as well as bike lanes;
  3. Ample public parking for park-goers below grade and out-of-sight; and
  4. A bunch of new housing (and retail).

Oh, and this would cost the City basically nothing.