Toronto will have to wait longer for harmonized patio bylaw

News Dec 05, 2017 by David Nickle Scarborough Mirror

The two-decade wait for a single Toronto bylaw governing sidewalk patios will last a little longer, after two city committees voted to send a proposed bylaw back to staff for more tinkering.

The committees — Toronto's public works and infrastructure committee and the licensing and standards committee — voted to slow down on the bylaw after hearing from the public that the proposed bylaw would leave sidewalks too narrow for assistive devices, and too cluttered for the visually impaired.

As well, councillors were uncomfortable supporting an eight-year phase-in of compliance for existing patios, which advocates for seniors and disabled people said was too long and some business leaders said was not long enough.

In the end, acting joint committee chair Cesar Palacio moved to send the whole thing back to staff for more consultation and more work.

Jaye Robinson, who normally chairs the public works and infrastructure committee, said the bylaw needs “refinements and tweaks.”

“There seems to be a question about how many patios would be affected now and down the road — that doesn't seem to be crystal clear,” she said. “We've heard some issues around patio fees. I think there's still a lot of legwork to be done.”

The bylaw as staff presented it would have seen a harmonized bylaw with a lot of moving parts: particularly, it envisioned a variety of types of restaurant patios which could include small temporary “parkettes” taking up on-street parking spaces across the sidewalk from a restaurant.

It would establish two zones — the downtown zone, encompassing the core of the old City of Toronto, and a suburban zone for everywhere else. Those zones would cover fees. 

The bylaw made accommodation for maintaining publicly available sidewalk space. It would require patios to be spaced in such a way that a sidewalk user would not need to turn more than 20 degrees to make it around a sidewalk café, and it also required “white cane” markers so that visually impaired pedestrians could navigate a cluttered street.

But for many advocates, that wasn't enough. Adam Roy Cohoon, who attended the meeting in his motorized scooter, was one of several who said that the available sidewalk needed to be wider than the 2.1 metres recommended by staff. He pointed out that the standard, which would allow two people in assistive devices to move alongside each other, wasn't enough space.

“We need more space for those people who are on the sidewalk ... gawking up and down on their phone,” he said. “I've been on the sidewalk and I notice people getting texts and they stop walking and they cause a little jam.”

Adina Lebo of CARP Toronto (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) called the 2.1 metres “a bare minimum” that doesn't do “enough to ensure accessibility for the long term.” She said the width might be adequate for minor and residential streets, but not for busier roads.

The committee sent a variety of amendments back to staff, with the instruction to report back “as soon as possible.”

Toronto has not had a harmonized sidewalk bylaw since it was amalgamated in 1998. The rules are different in each of the six former municipalities, and in Scarborough, sidewalk cafés are not permitted at all.

Toronto will have to wait longer for harmonized patio bylaw

News Dec 05, 2017 by David Nickle Scarborough Mirror

The two-decade wait for a single Toronto bylaw governing sidewalk patios will last a little longer, after two city committees voted to send a proposed bylaw back to staff for more tinkering.

The committees — Toronto's public works and infrastructure committee and the licensing and standards committee — voted to slow down on the bylaw after hearing from the public that the proposed bylaw would leave sidewalks too narrow for assistive devices, and too cluttered for the visually impaired.

As well, councillors were uncomfortable supporting an eight-year phase-in of compliance for existing patios, which advocates for seniors and disabled people said was too long and some business leaders said was not long enough.

In the end, acting joint committee chair Cesar Palacio moved to send the whole thing back to staff for more consultation and more work.

Jaye Robinson, who normally chairs the public works and infrastructure committee, said the bylaw needs “refinements and tweaks.”

“There seems to be a question about how many patios would be affected now and down the road — that doesn't seem to be crystal clear,” she said. “We've heard some issues around patio fees. I think there's still a lot of legwork to be done.”

The bylaw as staff presented it would have seen a harmonized bylaw with a lot of moving parts: particularly, it envisioned a variety of types of restaurant patios which could include small temporary “parkettes” taking up on-street parking spaces across the sidewalk from a restaurant.

It would establish two zones — the downtown zone, encompassing the core of the old City of Toronto, and a suburban zone for everywhere else. Those zones would cover fees. 

The bylaw made accommodation for maintaining publicly available sidewalk space. It would require patios to be spaced in such a way that a sidewalk user would not need to turn more than 20 degrees to make it around a sidewalk café, and it also required “white cane” markers so that visually impaired pedestrians could navigate a cluttered street.

But for many advocates, that wasn't enough. Adam Roy Cohoon, who attended the meeting in his motorized scooter, was one of several who said that the available sidewalk needed to be wider than the 2.1 metres recommended by staff. He pointed out that the standard, which would allow two people in assistive devices to move alongside each other, wasn't enough space.

“We need more space for those people who are on the sidewalk ... gawking up and down on their phone,” he said. “I've been on the sidewalk and I notice people getting texts and they stop walking and they cause a little jam.”

Adina Lebo of CARP Toronto (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) called the 2.1 metres “a bare minimum” that doesn't do “enough to ensure accessibility for the long term.” She said the width might be adequate for minor and residential streets, but not for busier roads.

The committee sent a variety of amendments back to staff, with the instruction to report back “as soon as possible.”

Toronto has not had a harmonized sidewalk bylaw since it was amalgamated in 1998. The rules are different in each of the six former municipalities, and in Scarborough, sidewalk cafés are not permitted at all.

Toronto will have to wait longer for harmonized patio bylaw

News Dec 05, 2017 by David Nickle Scarborough Mirror

The two-decade wait for a single Toronto bylaw governing sidewalk patios will last a little longer, after two city committees voted to send a proposed bylaw back to staff for more tinkering.

The committees — Toronto's public works and infrastructure committee and the licensing and standards committee — voted to slow down on the bylaw after hearing from the public that the proposed bylaw would leave sidewalks too narrow for assistive devices, and too cluttered for the visually impaired.

As well, councillors were uncomfortable supporting an eight-year phase-in of compliance for existing patios, which advocates for seniors and disabled people said was too long and some business leaders said was not long enough.

In the end, acting joint committee chair Cesar Palacio moved to send the whole thing back to staff for more consultation and more work.

Jaye Robinson, who normally chairs the public works and infrastructure committee, said the bylaw needs “refinements and tweaks.”

“There seems to be a question about how many patios would be affected now and down the road — that doesn't seem to be crystal clear,” she said. “We've heard some issues around patio fees. I think there's still a lot of legwork to be done.”

The bylaw as staff presented it would have seen a harmonized bylaw with a lot of moving parts: particularly, it envisioned a variety of types of restaurant patios which could include small temporary “parkettes” taking up on-street parking spaces across the sidewalk from a restaurant.

It would establish two zones — the downtown zone, encompassing the core of the old City of Toronto, and a suburban zone for everywhere else. Those zones would cover fees. 

The bylaw made accommodation for maintaining publicly available sidewalk space. It would require patios to be spaced in such a way that a sidewalk user would not need to turn more than 20 degrees to make it around a sidewalk café, and it also required “white cane” markers so that visually impaired pedestrians could navigate a cluttered street.

But for many advocates, that wasn't enough. Adam Roy Cohoon, who attended the meeting in his motorized scooter, was one of several who said that the available sidewalk needed to be wider than the 2.1 metres recommended by staff. He pointed out that the standard, which would allow two people in assistive devices to move alongside each other, wasn't enough space.

“We need more space for those people who are on the sidewalk ... gawking up and down on their phone,” he said. “I've been on the sidewalk and I notice people getting texts and they stop walking and they cause a little jam.”

Adina Lebo of CARP Toronto (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) called the 2.1 metres “a bare minimum” that doesn't do “enough to ensure accessibility for the long term.” She said the width might be adequate for minor and residential streets, but not for busier roads.

The committee sent a variety of amendments back to staff, with the instruction to report back “as soon as possible.”

Toronto has not had a harmonized sidewalk bylaw since it was amalgamated in 1998. The rules are different in each of the six former municipalities, and in Scarborough, sidewalk cafés are not permitted at all.