Market Lane Park improvements prioritize safety and sight lines

By Krishika Jethani –

After a series of virtual workshops and surveys, the city has generated a preferred design for Market Lane Park that it says emphasizes safety and sight lines. The park is between King Street East and Front Street, adjacent to the new North St. Lawrence Market building under construction.

Market Lane Park “has not undergone an improvement project like this for several years,” Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division stated in an email. The project is “part of a network of public spaces being improved in the growing St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.”

City Council approved $3.725 million for design and construction to support the St. Lawrence Market area with “a vibrant pedestrian space that serves as both a meeting place and mid-block passage between King Street and Front Street.”

Safety measurements are to include “pedestrian-level lighting” and “new level paving” creating an accessible route connecting to the new North Market of the St. Lawrence Market. An equity lens is to be applied to remove barriers and provide accessibility to all community members.

After hosting three virtual workshops at the end of June 2021, the city conducted an online community survey in July. Of 271 responses, more than half of the participants voted for clearer sightlines, accessible seating and enhanced lighting.

At a public workshop in late March, approximately 100 participants and community members were concerned with how lighting would impact residents and showed interest in having crosswalks within either end of
the park.

Responses from 390 people to an online survey in early April prioritized safety and lighting around the park, especially near bank machines. A consideration for children was enhanced to encourage walking instead of high speed cycling.

The proposed installation of natural boulders at the south end to form a gateway into the park was welcomed as long as they didn’t block sight lines.

The park will also provide space for gathering with accessible seating, the city says. The north end is to include “a large planter with Indigenous medicinal plants” connecting to gardens at St. James Park.

The city hopes to meet the current and future needs of the community. Construction is to start next spring and the park should reopen in the fall.

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