By Rebecca Burton
Public works councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong put forward a motion on Sept. 7 to review the Yonge-Dundas intersection scramble light that allows pedestrians an extra 28 second leeway to cross without cars.
Minnan-Wong said the intersection needs to be reviewed because of increased car traffic buildup.
“I support the review but not the way it came about,” said Toronto Centre MP Kristyn Wong-Tam. “I would never go into another councillor’s ward. The process has been corrupted.”
Wong-Tam said the four-way crossing has been a benefit to Ryerson students.
“I know [Ryerson] has facilities on all sides of the downtown corridor. I see Ryerson students using the scramble all the time. I recognize them. The student population relies on that scramble,” said Wong-Tam.
“Ryerson should be pretty darn concerned they are about to loose their scramble.”
The downtown transportation review will cost the city a minimum of $375,000. What percentage will be embedded in the private consultation of the Yonge-Dundas intersection is unclear, said Wong-Tam.
The motion will be put forward to city council on Sept. 21. At this point Wong-Tam hopes to reopen the discussion to include a consultation meeting between the Yonge Street BIA along with business owners and residents, that would include Ryerson University, into the document. Wong-Tam had already asked councillor Mike Layton to move this ammendment but the chair refused.
Mitchell Kosny, associate director and professor of urban and regional planning at Ryerson, said the gut issue is whether the city is for cars or for people.
“Last time I checked it was about facilitating pedestrians,” he said.
Kosny is willing to consider the intersection a success, as there have been no noticeable increase in reported accidents. The city has also opened two additional four way crossings at Yonge and Bloor streets and Bay and Bloor streets as a result, he said.
“It’s the precursor to opening up Yonge Street,” he said.
President Sheldon Levy said he hopes to see it remain open.
“It’s been something that I think the Ryerson community has received positively. I’ve certainly heard no complaints about it at all,” he said.
Based on recent comments by Minnan-Wong to the media, Wong-Tam said he is promoting the idea that he is a car driver from the suburbs that gets agitated from traffic.
“I think his true intentions are to take out the scramble,” she said.