By Sherina Harris
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has committed $7 million to make Gould and Victoria streets more accessible and beautify the space, according to Ryerson University president Mohamed Lachemi.
Ryerson is waiting on the final permit, but construction on the first phase of the project is expected begin in the spring and summer of this year, he said.
“We have people who are using accessibility devices that are struggling sometimes moving between the buildings,” Lachemi said.
“Yes, disruption is unfortunately coming for the next few months, but at the end of it I think it will really address the issue of accessibility and making sure that people are also enjoying their time outside,” he said.
Beautification could mean different things depending on what the funding was intended for, said David Amborski, the director of the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development.
He noted it could be for things like street planting, and “green-scaping.” It could also be for infrastructure improvements and safety or accessible features, like sidewalks and street lights.
Victoria Street will be a mixed-use area, with some sections curbless and car-free
The Victoria and Dundas campus gateway was one of nine projects highlighted in Ryerson’s 2016 campus realm plan.
The report outlines a plan to add “pedestrian scale lighting” and special lighting at entrances on Gould and Victoria streets, among others. It also says the university would add performance lighting for special events in “pedestrian priority areas” at Gould and Victoria streets.
The plan also suggests the roadway at Dundas be raised to the sidewalk level, so drivers know they are entering a pedestrian area—with the rest of the plan outlining the goal to make Gould St. a pedestrian-only plan.
“Improved paving materials, lighting, public art, wayfinding and trees planted to grow healthy and large will contribute to making Victoria [Street] a better place befitting of its high profile location across from Dundas Square,” the report reads.
Victoria Street will be a mixed-use area, with some sections curbless and car-free. Additions will also include trees and public art.
Wong-Tam and the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.