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FORUM: University-Rosedale update from the councillor’s chair (Mar. 2024)

April 7th, 2024 · No Comments

Budget, development planning, and safety, fill agenda

By Dianne Saxe

The 2024 budget is finally done. Thank you to the thousands of people in Ward 11 and across Toronto who participated in this year’s intensive consultations. 

A $17 billion budget is challenging at the best of times. It was especially hard this year, after 13 years of kicking cans down the road, a pandemic, growth pressures, and high inflation, to finally begin to close the gap between city revenues and obligations.

Throughout the budget process, I was squarely focused on the deterioration of city infrastructure and on our lack of climate progress. 

In response to my persistent questions, the mayor created a $50 million Back on Track fund for urgent repairs: $30 million for transportation and $20 million for parks. It’s a drop in the bucket, but an important one, and I’m lobbying both departments for urgent repairs in our ward. 

I was also successful in squeezing into this difficult budget two new staff for Environment & Climate and nearly $1 million for extra tree planting, watering, and pruning. 

Auto thefts are way up across Toronto, so we had a community town hall dedicated to the subject in February. 

The federal government has promised to improve security at the Port of Montreal, where most stolen cars are shipped. Meanwhile, 53 Division of Toronto Police Services is doing more proactive night patrols and is ready to handle your questions. 

Communications with constituents continue to improve, as do signups for our popular monthly newsletter. 

We are also working with residents’ associations on issues such as traffic calming (speed humps), street furniture, and noise. 

Do you and your neighbours want a speed hump to slow traffic on your street? A roadside bench? More bike rings? Better signage? Extra garbage cans? 

Work with your resident association to propose exact locations and to collect evidence of local support so that we can put them on Transportation’s construction list. 

Good news: Every metric of TTC rider satisfaction improved in January, with service up, violence down, and 130 new customer service agents throughout the system. 

Ridership continues to increase, and the One Fare system has launched. 

The TTC Board approved my motion to design free transit for High and Middle School school trips, a first step towards free transit for those students. 

At my request, Toronto Hydro adopted an environmental policy consistent with TransformTO. This is an enormous win for the city’s net-zero goals. 

Hydro is also now starting to develop criteria for connecting “non-standard” customers after I helped two constituents who converted their home into a five-unit multiplex.

The February city council approved improvements to noise bylaw enforcement, new bus and bike lanes, and automated speed enforcement through administrative monetary penalties. 

Better bike lane maintenance has also been greenlit because bike lanes should be safe and passable for bikes! BikeShare rides soared again, up 47 per cent year-over-year even before we rolled out the new $5 BikeShare memberships for those in need.

Markham Street near Bloor is getting a new park as part of the Mirvish Village development. Residents have suggested naming it Honest Ed Park, Mirvish Village Park or Markham Street Park. Do you have an opinion or suggestion? Write in today and let us know!

Here’s to a safe and happy spring!

Dianne Saxe is city councillor for Ward 11, University-Rosedale.


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