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Property Taxes and Pineway Boulevard

As always at this time of year, we become aware of how quickly time flies. I know you all have a lot going on, so I wanted to give you a couple of updates in Don Valley North and the wider City that I know you'll find of interest.

Pineway pop-up update

You may recall the school safety zone pop-up project we conducted earlier this fall with 8 80 Cities. If not, watch this short video for background:

This week, the 8 80 Cities team came in to discuss the results of the project. They gathered local input and measured car speeds before, during and after the project, which temporarily transformed a portion of Pineway Blvd for a week to calm traffic.

Not surprisingly, local drivers did slow down and kids still got to school on time.

This all supports my theory: most people don’t mean to speed - they speed in response to the design of a road. On Pineway, most speeding during the pilot happened in the afternoon and especially the evening.

City Transportation staff were also at this meeting to hear about the results. Transportation Supervisor Dan Clement reported that they already have Pineway on the Vision Zero list for a speed limit reduction in the near future. He also says staff are still willing to approve speed humps or other safety measures if there is enough demand from residents, as the budget allows.

My office is committed to exploring different options on physical changes to the street with as much resident feedback as possible. If you live on or around Pineway, we will reach out to you again in the new year. Click through the slideshow below for a snapshot of the results.

Mayor Tory’s big announcement

On Wednesday, the Mayor made a big announcement on his intention to ask Council to approve a property tax increase. He wants us to approve adding an additional 1 per cent to our City Building Fund (about an extra $48/year or $4/month) in order to accelerate maintenance of the TTC and address our housing affordability crisis.

The City of Toronto partners with the other two orders of government on all major transit projects, but getting help on basic state-of-good-repair can be challenging.

There are times when we must start crucial repair projects ourselves and hope other governments will contribute as we go. We are at that point now - anyone who experienced the massive delays caused by the track fire on Line 2 this week knows this.

Subway track fire, storm cause commuter chaos in Toronto

At the same time, we must commit our share of funding to urgent repairs needed for social housing and the creation of new affordable housing. Increasing the levy means dedicating a larger share of the City’s budget directly to these two massive responsibilities.

Pundits from certain media outlets will attack this move. They will frame the Mayor and Council as wanting to raise the levy because they enjoy raising taxes and are unwilling to make cuts to their own budget. I ask you to think about this assertion for a moment.

No politician ever - no matter their political leaning - wants to raise taxes. In Toronto, the process to bring you a budget for 2020 begins halfway through the previous year. Several layers of review lead to the finished budget and every effort is made to control it.

On January 22nd, when I hold my annual Budget Town Hall at Fairview Library, I will speak to alternatives to the City Building Fund. These alternatives exist around the world and we need provincial permission to pursue them now. Watch the video above to learn more about what this announcement means for Toronto.

Coming up Next week we have a safety meeting in the Hillcrest community. It's a vibrant neighbourhood in the northern portion of Don Valley North. My team and I have been working closely with this community as it deals with two recent crime incidents. We will have an update from our local police division on what's being done and also discuss possible traffic safety improvements.

Further south, in Parkway Forest and Henry Farm, it’s almost time for residents to cast their final votes in their Participatory Budgeting process. If you live in these areas, come by the Parkway Forest Community Centre on Friday, December 13 or Saturday, December 14 to participate. More details are in the poster below. And if you don't live in Henry Farm or Parkway Forest - come by anyway! Feel free to check it out and learn about the process. After all, it may be coming soon to your own neighbourhood.

PS: If you drop by around 4:00 PM on Saturday, every PB process ends with announcing the winning projects and cutting a Very Big Cake. See you then.


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