• More pleasing because of the mature canopy of trees and houses set far enough back from sidewalks to allow more green space without messing with the street's intimate feel. On-street parking on both sides us also a plus - it acts as a buffer to traffic. But in the new standards, there is too little green space (one tree every 8 metres) to allow a mature canopy to grow. This is a major disappointment, since trees are not only aesthetically pleasing but also help alleviate stress on stormwater and sewer infrastructure by reducing runoff. Not to mention their cooling effect on temps in the summer.
Walking on the wild side
• No sidewalks, car dominant, lack of green space, not enough setback to accommodate front gardens. Yet on some streets, the new standards will require sidewalks on only one side and in some cases none at all where "appropriate safe refuge for pedestrians [is] provided." Like behind a garbage can, maybe? Sidewalks on both sides of streets increase pedestrians' safety and enjoyment, and encourage people to congregate. But the new standards see pedestrians as an afterthought. Best idea not adopted by staff: "bulb-outs" at intersections to create pockets of public space and discourage speeding and high-speed turns.
• A good thing there are sidewalks on both sides of the street. But the main problem in the new standards - besides allowing trees close to buildings - is that the sidewalks are too narrow to be ploughed. Forget, too, about space for street furniture that would encourage people to relax and socialize. There's none to be found.
• Alienating and barren, straight out of suburbia. Pedestrian advocates say wide streets encourage speeding. In the new plan, City staff were thinking of vehicles first, proposing streets wide enough to accommodate parking and traffic going both ways. (There's only half a metre difference in the widths of major and minor streets). We're told emergency services require the room, but what happens when residents freaked by speeding start pushing for speed bumps? Will emergency crews be able to get through any faster then? firstname.lastname@example.org