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A hectic first year in University-Rosedale  

December 23rd, 2023 · No Comments

Housing, new greenspaces, traffic, and construction dominate

By Dianne Saxe

A year ago this November, I was privileged to become your voice at Toronto city council. My office has been working hard to improve Ward 11 on issues including homelessness, development, community space, climate action, and making Toronto a greener, more affordable place to live. Walks in the Annex provide a moment to appreciate local bookstores, restaurants, parks, and heritage buildings. I enjoy discussing all these issues with constituents at countless community events and have put forward or seconded more than 60 motions at council and committees. 

The questions we hear most often from the Annex relate to affordable housing, greenspace/ trees, and traffic. 

Affordable housing is key for many people. Premier Ford continues to prevent Toronto from forcing developers to provide affordable housing, so I join my colleagues in calling on other levels of government to support the housing needs of the city. I also strongly support Mayor Chow’s generational housing plan and was proud to amend it to request that new housing support Toronto’s climate and air quality commitments by being -free of natural gas use.

On greenspace, I’m working closely with parks and recreation to obtain new parks and playgrounds in the Annex, to better maintain what we already have, and to plant new street trees wherever possible. We had successful public consultations for the design of the new Huron-Washington playground and the new park at Sussex and Spadina. I hope to see both built next year. We are also getting some progress on installing adult exercise equipment in Sibelius Park.

Traffic is terrible everywhere downtown and has been made worse by an overwhelming amount of construction. Some is for new condos; much is for the provincial transit agency Metrolinx; and some is for essential repairs and upgrades to roads and water mains. To better manage this chaos, I obtained council approval to establish a construction hub to cover much of the Annex. I ensured that the once-in-a-generation road reconstruction of Bloor from Avenue to Spadina will improve safety for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists. (It’s great to see this work ahead of schedule; the new bike lanes are already heavily used.) I arranged to have crosswalks repainted to make life easier for our hard-working crossing guards. And I persuaded the council to treat road fatalities as seriously as we treat construction deaths, with better investigations that lead to remedial measures. Traffic deaths are not “accidents”; they are foreseeable consequences of poor road designs that don’t take safety seriously.

We are working closely with police and transportation services on the large number of complaints about heavy traffic in residential areas and road traffic violations. Data is important for focussing scarce enforcement resources, so I encourage you to report traffic violations at: Parking violations should be reported at: Council has also simplified the process of installing speed humps, in order to force drivers to slow down to the speed limit. If you would like to see speed humps installed on your block, please get a petition signed by your residents’ association and at least 25 per cent of homes on your block, and I will ask transportation to put your block on their list.

Other recent improvements include:

Funding free WiFi for the common spaces at Toronto community housing’s 250 Davenport.

Persuading council to support a national Youth Climate Corps.

Working with the TTC to bring in fare integration with GO and other nearby transit systems, starting Q1 next year.

Unearthing dormant Section 37 funds and putting them to productive use.

Convincing the TTC to take less of Paul Martel Park during construction of its new Spadina Station streetcar platform.

Arranging to use development charges so the developer will build a much-needed and expanded subway concourse for Line 2 at Spadina Station.

Honoured to cut the ribbon when the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts opened its wonderful new B Street collaborative hub (support, rehearsal and recording space) for emerging artists at Bathurst and Dupont. 

As we look ahead to 2024, we know that there is much to do to build the city we want to live in. Thank you for working with my staff on hundreds of questions and ward improvement ideas. Together, we can continue to build a safe, beautiful, and tolerant city that showcases our values of inclusiveness and generosity. Join me as we continue this journey of growth and opportunity.

Dianne Saxe in councillor Ward 11, University–Rosedale.


Tags: Annex · Opinion