I have to lead this followup to Ashcroft's re-zoning request with a reminder that this entire mess has its roots in the City's decision to authorize such a high density on the southern portion of the Convent site. But it's done and we have to deal with the consequences. So, which consequence would you choose? Take a chunk out of publicly owned Byron Park or throw Shannon Avenue residents out of their dead-end street and onto a busier street?
— DennisVanStaalduinen (@DenVan) August 17, 2012
I'm for keeping the park, full stop.
When comparing the "ugly choices" the situation on Shannon needs some extra detail though.
Shannon Avenue Road Width
The homes on Shannon have built their front lawns on city property. If Shannon is widened they will lose a gratuity they have been enjoying for many years. That is sad, and ugly, but is not an expropriation. The city owns the land.
Scare mongering in the past has made everyone think the city needs to pave the entire road allotment, but that is ridiculous. From the City's eMap tool you can see that the strip of land the City owns for Shannon is the same width as Byron Avenue and Richmond Avenue. Shannon will need to be wider to support a southern access road, but it's ludricrous to think it needs to support the traffic volumes seen on Richmon Road or Byron. If it's built to the minimum width it can support the new traffic and provide emergency vehicle access without paving ashphalt to Shannon residents' doorstep or cutting trees from the park.
Sidewalks aren't needed on Shannon, the Byron path is right there, further reducing the width.
Will they lose some of their frontyards, yes. But let's keep it in perspective. All the pictures are at the same zoom level.
Shannon Avenue and Byron Avenue
Richmon Road (at Hilson) for comparison.
Running the traffic on Shannon also impacts Hilson Avenue and the traffic report cited problems with the interactions between Shannon, Hilson, Byron Path users and Byron Avenue traffic.
One of those interactions, Byron Path users, is easily addressed by realigning the path to cross Hilson at the intersection. This is being done elsewhere for the Byron-Tyndall-Gladstone Cycling Corridor Improvement project.
We need to shift away from the "Car is King" mindset. If the Shannon widening is the impetus for the City to redesign the Byron/Hilson/Shannon interactions to make it safer for current and future road users I think the actual outcome will be much better than is currently feared.
So keep the park and minimize the impact on Shannon Avenue.
Also, fix the planning process so we never need to make ugly choices like this again.