Ryerson University is doing its part to help improve the pedestrian experience in an evolving downtown core with the unveiling of a new public realm plan for its campus.
The plan, which was created by Ryerson and architectural firm DTAH, calls for better safety measures and other changes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly, accessible and welcoming.
Using Gould Plaza on the pedestrian-only Gould Street as an anchor, the public realm plan will help enhance the streets and open spaces in the surrounding area for Ryerson students and staff and the public at large.
“Since we share those common spaces with our neighbours, this plan would not be possible without a strong partnership with our neighbours and of course with the city,” said Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi. “Closing Gould Street (to cars) was really a critical phase in the development of our beautiful campus.”
The public realm plan is part of Ryerson’s overall master plan. Completed in 2008, the master plan has seen new buildings such as the Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Student Learning Centre become part of Toronto’s streetscape.
“Now it’s time for the public realm to take its rightful place,” Lachemi said. “Over time, it will enhance the campus experience for our students, our community and the public in general.”
The plan’s key elements include better wayfinding, signature lighting to improve safety, public art and street furniture that fits in with the campus aesthetic, landscaping to enhance green spaces in the area, a “front door” at Yonge to welcome people to the space, and more.
Toronto Centre-Rosedale councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam noted the City of Toronto has contributed $2 million toward reinvigorating Ryerson’s public realm.
“(Ryerson’s) future ties so intricately with the City of Toronto’s downtown future,” she said. “This is an investment that’s going to last a generation.”
Downtown Yonge BIA executive director Mark Garner said the public realm plan demonstrates that Ryerson is dedicated to city-building and shows the school “can take a vision and actually bring it to fruition.”
Ryerson is currently looking for a designer to carry out the ideas presented in the plan. For more information, visit www.ryersonbuilds.ryerson.ca