Slow down! I need to hear from you
BY SHELLEY CARROLL
In this week's e-blast, I'll need some interaction from you. I hope you will join in.
City staff are not leaving anything to chance. They've updated the former, politer "Please slow down" lawn signs. Now, "SLOW DOWN!" is our simple mantra for everyone using Toronto's roads. In Don Valley North, we're dedicating a weekend to this — we have two opportunities coming up for you to pick up these cool new signs and help make our streets safer.
This Saturday, we are holding a Road Safety Town Hall. It's at Forest Grove Church (in Bayview Village) at 2PM.
It's important you try your best to attend this one because our goal is to get all of your remaining concerns on the table. The results of this meeting will form the basis of my team's work with City Transportation staff for the remainder of this term of office.
Transportation staff will be on hand to listen to your concerns and help me present the Vision Zero changes happening over the next couple of years. I have to say, Transportation staff really are doing all they can to implement solutions to the current traffic fatality crisis. Be sure to join us on Saturday to share local traffic intel with them and learn more about Vision Zero.
The work continues on Sunday with a temporary road safety installation on Pineway Boulevard, in front of Pineway Public School. Throughout Don Valley North, several of our schools are in the queue for speed limit reductions and "watch your speed" digital signs. In the meantime, we want to pilot a traffic calming idea.
So, starting Sunday afternoon, we will temporarily transform the stretch of road in front of Pineway Public School. The area has been studied by city staff and is eligible for traffic calming measures — residents of the area tell us it's become a dangerously popular shortcut for commuters. The challenge is determining which measures.
That's where the international organization 8 80 Cities comes in. They've agreed to help us conduct a little experiment — from September 29 to October 4, drivers will navigate around temporary road fixtures to see if it will help slow down cars and keep the kids and seniors who walk the area safe. City staff will study the impact of the experiment and eventually propose a permanent fix.
Join us Sunday at 10AM if you want to help set up the installation and thank the wonderful folks at 8 80 Cities for helping our community. Oh, and if there are any "Slow Down!" signs left from Saturday, we will have them in the Pineway Public School parking lot.
Last chance for input
Here’s a chance to interact with me without leaving your chair this weekend. I just need you to watch a video and send me your feedback.
We met a couple of weeks ago in the community room at Mountain Equipment Co-op (thanks, MEC!) to gather feedback on the renaming of the new public park near Bessarion subway station. Those of you who came had some good advice.
About 500 of you have already watched my video (through both YouTube and Instagram) on why we are proposing an Indigenous name — Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ — for this new park.
Having watched my video which explains the genesis of the name, a public City survey on the matter showed 80 per cent of the survey respondents were in favour of the renaming.
However, those who attended the meeting suggested we circulate the video and ask for your feedback one more time to hear from more people before the matter goes to Council for a final vote.
So, please check out my video below and send me your feedback on the proposed renaming. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org any time between now and Monday, September 30th and I will ensure your comments are recorded for consideration.
Since our Idea Collection Meeting last week in Parkway Forest and Henry Farm, my staff have been preparing your idea cards to give to City staff to review and come up with cost estimations. While that work is going on, I want to share some Participatory Budgeting (PB) knowledge from around the world.
This week, we're looking at Scotland. PB was first piloted there in a neighbourhood in Glasgow more than 10 years ago. Municipal authorities had heard about PB processes happening in Brazil since 1989 and wondered if it could solve the big disconnect between people and government in their own city. Glasgow councillors reached out to Brazil PB organizers for advice and tried it out for themselves.
It was a resounding success. Today, Scotland boasts a national Participatory Budgeting office. Processes like the one going on now in our own ward happen all over Scotland every year.
Scotland's small size lends itself to deciding a lot of the big infrastructure pieces, planning matters and finances on a nation-wide scale. But residents live in local communities and they need a direct say in their local surroundings. The government of Scotland recognized that a growing number of towns were giving residents that voice through PB.
So, in 2015, they announced the "Community Empowerment Act" which provides guidelines for community engagement and incentivizes PB. A community empowerment fund helps local cities run their PB votes so that if they use this democratic decision making, all of the local tax dollars will really go to the winning PB projects.
I find this incredibly inspiring. What if, every year, all 25 of Toronto's wards — each with a population larger than most towns in Scotland — used PB to decide how a small amount of local capital will be spent?
If it happened every year and your understanding grew, would your neighbourhood ideas start to show equal measures of practicality and visionary thinking? That’s what’s happening in Scotland.
Enjoy another video below, delivered this time in one of the most charming accents in the world.