York Region has significant planned growth and is investing in creating streets that support its communities and provide people with transportation options within the overall regional transportation network. Streetscape design creates functional, active and vibrant streets that provide facilities for walking, cycling, transit use, recreational use and social interaction. The successful coordination of these elements is what creates good public realm, which is all that falls within the public property lines including roads, sidewalks, street trees and gathering spaces. Streetscape creates attractive and safe streets, which are the cornerstone to liveable communities with a distinct sense of place in York Region.
Streetscape Design Objectives
Throughout York Region’s nine municipalities, there are a variety of landscape contexts such as urban centres, suburban communities and rural landscapes. This diversity requires a context sensitive approach when designing our streets. The following are highlights of York Region’s streetscape design objectives:
- Prioritizing universal accessibility and focusing on pedestrian comfort and safety to encourage walking, cycling, and alternative means of transportation
- Designing for optimum street tree health to improve air quality and reduce energy use
- Applying storm water management strategies and low maintenance planting to create sustainable landscapes
- Creating a sense of place by integrating architectural features, public art, street furniture, enhanced paving, and generous planting design
- Clearly defining sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle lanes and roadways to safely and effectively support multiple modes of transportation
How Streetscape Design in York Region is Implemented Through Policy
Municipal Streetscape Partnership Program
The Municipal Streetscape Partnership Program (MSPP) is a funding program that assists York Region’s nine local municipalities in cost sharing on streetscape design projects on Regional roads. The Region commits up to $1 million annually towards this program, subject to Regional Council review and approval. This partnership funding program is critical to the success of streetscape design in York Region. The MSPP benefits both local municipalities and York Region in achieving higher quality streetscape design within our communities. Local municipalities are responsible for the operation, maintenance and long term rehabilitation of enhanced streetscape features. Since 2007, York Region has collaborated with local municipalities on the following projects:
MSPP Funding: How to Apply
Under the Municipal Streetscape Partnership Program, there is a defined process, schedule, and submission requirements for leveraging funding. The Application Guidelines outline the complete application process, how funding is awarded and provides the required forms to be submitted to the Streetscape Program Manager:
Note: Please download these forms and complete them in Adobe Writer. Your MSPP application and all supporting documents shall submitted to @email and 10 hard copies of the application package submitted to:
Transportation Services Department
Project Management Office
90 Bales Drive East
Attn: Streetscape Program
York Region envisions the creation of a pollinating bee and butterfly meadow in each of its nine municipalities.
Project Pollinator will kick-off with a pilot project, transforming the regionally owned grass boulevard on Bayview Avenue just south of Bethesda Sideroad into an environmentally friendly pollinating bee and butterfly meadow.
Based on the success of the pilot, York Region will then consider expanding the project into additional municipalities.
Increasing the pollinating bee and butterfly population supports our ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather and support other wildlife by cross pollinating, a process that allows plants to produce seeds and fruit needed to reproduce.
It is estimated some 85% of the world’s flowering plants require a pollinator, including about 35% of the crops people harvest and eat. This means one out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of a pollinator.
The creation of a pollinator meadow will also replace existing grass with flowering plants, eliminating the need to cut the grass with diesel mowers, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the addition of plants will assist in the removal of carbon dioxide from the environment while producing clean air locally.
The public space will encourage residents to enjoy the outdoors by providing a destination where they can observe and learn about the importance of creating pollination sites as well as the significant role pollinating bees and butterflies play in our local environment by reading multi-language educational signs through the meadow.
Establishing a meadow
Once a suitable boulevard has been selected, York Region will begin to prepare the site by removing a portion of earth to prepare the meadow bed for a layer of topsoil. Reclaimed stone from Regional roads projects will be used to stabilize the slopes surround the meadow if needed.
Following the preparation of the meadow bed and weather conditions are appropriate, vegetation such as native milkweed, willow and silvery lupines will be planted to attract pollinating bees and butterflies, allowing them to thrive.
Meadow on Bayview Avenue, City of Richmond Hill
Location: Bayview Avenue, just south of Bethesda Sideroad, City of Richmond Hill
Size: 50 metres by 5 metres
Construction: Expected to begin December 7, 2021, weather permitting and complete in spring 2022 with work occurring weekdays between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Planting: Spring 2022
Impact of construction: There are no anticipated disruptions for pedestrians, cyclists or traffic
South Yonge Street Corridor Streetscape Master Plan
Yonge Street is York Region’s primary urban corridor and is envisioned to be a distinctive and vibrant urban street that attracts a mix of retail, commercial, housing, employment and recreational uses. The Streetscape Master Plan vision is a bold, sustinable and achievable plan that creates a truly urban street that prioritizes public realm and transit nodes. The Phasing Plan identifies sections along Yonge Street that can be implemented in advance of the Yonge Subway Extension to enable the transformation of Yonge Street.
Streetscape Master Plan Study Update
Phase 3 Report: Streetscape Master Plan & Pre-Subway Plan — Report Cover
Phase 3 Report: Table of Contents
Phase 3 Report: 1.0 — Introduction
Phase 3 Report: 2.0 — Conceptual Streetscape Update Options
Phase 3 Report: 3.0 — Draft Master Plan
Phase 3 Report: 4.0 — Pre-Subway Plan
York Region’s Streetscape Program implements streetscape and master plan policies through Capital projects, which are major projects that improve key regional infrastructure. These projects include road construction and re-surfacing projects, collaboration on vivaNext Rapid Transit projects, York Region Transit, pump houses and odour control facilities. Capital projects are showcased at public consultation sessions to facilitate collaboration with York Region’s residents.
Policy and Design Guidelines
York Region policies and guidelines define how and where streetscape improvements occur. They provide local municipalities and private developers with standards to create a coordinated and functional public realm, supporting the implementation of streetscape projects that improve our communities one street at a time. These guidelines can range from determining priority areas for improvements, to which elements should be present on six-lane streets, to suitable tree species.
- Streetscape Design Review Manual
- Enhanced Zebra Pavement Marking Detail at Signalized Intersections
- YRT Coordinated Site Furniture Design Guidelines
- Please refer to the Street Tree and Horticultural Design Guidelines and Standards section for Natural Heritage and Forestry resources.
Yonge Street and Davis Drive Streetscape Master Plan
Yonge Street and Davis Drive will experience significant growth in the future as Newmarket Centre is one of York Region’s four Regional Centres. By 2031, the area is projected to grow by 20,000 jobs and 21,000 residents, while the Town of Newmarket as a whole will grow to 106,000 residents. This means virtually all population growth in the Town of Newmarket will be concentrated on the Yonge Street and Davis Drive corridors. The Streetscape Master Plan will provide a vision for Yonge Street and Davis Drive within the Town boundaries of Newmarket, excluding the vivaNext section at the intersection of Yonge Street and Davis Drive and along Davis Drive East. The four corridors vary in their current and future built form, and a master plan is required to address the different contexts while maintaining the streetscape vision for the Town of Newmarket.
The Streetscape Master Plan will ensure that future development supports a bold, sustainable and vibrant community. It will provide a seamless transition into the vivaNext streetscape and create streets that will support intensification, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development. York Region and the Town of Newmarket have retained IBI Group to work together and develop the master plan that will focus on:
- Complete streets
- Pedestrian accessibility and comfort
- Outdoor spaces and public art
- Environmentally progressive design
- Variety of spaces and streetscapes
Phase 1 through Phase 5 available on the Town of Newmarket Project page.