News / Toronto

Toronto art exhibit shines a spotlight on safer streets

Architecture firm DTAH hopes its new StreetsPortal exhibit encourages the public to think about the untapped potential of our roadways.

An art exhibit opening this Friday in Toronto is exploring the concept of complete streets. The show has been curated by architects at DTAH, one of the firms responsible for the revitalization of Queen's Quay.

Torstar News Service

An art exhibit opening this Friday in Toronto is exploring the concept of complete streets. The show has been curated by architects at DTAH, one of the firms responsible for the revitalization of Queen's Quay.

An art exhibit at a Toronto architectural firm is shining a light on safer streets.

Starting Friday, DTAH will project a loop of imagery and text onto the sidewalk below their office at 50 Park Road. Entitled StreetsPortal, the exhibit uses examples of street revitalizations in Toronto and elsewhere to explore how roads can become more than just conduits for cars.

“At the moment in Toronto, there’s a particular intensity of work and discussion around streets,” said DTAH partner Megan Torza, the show’s curator.

Unfortunately, Torza said, pedestrian fatalities are driving much of that conversation. As of Sunday, 16 pedestrians have died on Toronto streets this year.

“People are being killed on our streets every week, and we need to do something about that,” Torza said.

DTAH has been involved in a number of major road overhauls in Toronto, including Queen’s Quay, and is currently working with the city on its complete streets guidelines.

Better incorporating the needs of pedestrians and cyclists into road design not only makes streets safer, but also turns them into “vibrant and beautiful public spaces,” Torza said.

Such spaces are needed in Toronto, where increased density and vertical living are becoming the new normal, she said.

“A lot of us, myself included, are living in 500-square foot apartments with no outdoor space or access to other people,” she said. “Our streets have the potential to make up for that.

“In Paris for example, the street is an enjoyable, vibrant place to be. It’s not overwhelmed by cars, pollution and noise or other things that aren’t pleasant to interact with as a pedestrian.”

Torza said the goal of the exhibit is to teach the public “the lexicon of street design,” and encourage them to get involved in the process of re-imagining Toronto’s roadways.

“I don’t think the public truly realizes how much influence they have when it comes to how the city is designed,” she said.

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