Safe Laneway Survey results 

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer our survey.  Here is a recap of your responses.

How often do you use the laneways in Cabbagetown South?

70% Everyday   19% A Couple of times a week  16% A Few Times a Month  5% Never 

Comments included Not Safe,  Take Shortcut but feel uncomfortable.  Laneway surface is unevenand a tripping hazard.

Do you know the name of your laneway and why it has that name?

 52%  Yes  48%  No

Do you have any concerns about the name of your laneway?

11% were concerned about the name of their laneway.  89% had no concerns.  

Comments included lack of community consulltation in naming the laneways.   Heads Lane and Nighthawk Lane were considered negative in connotation. 

Do you currently have your number indicated on the rear of your property? 

26% Yes 63% No 3% Not Sure if they would feel comfortable indicating their address on the rear of their property. 8% Responded they do not have a laneway at the rear of their property.

If No, would be if favour of adding the number?

62% Indicated they would be interested in posting their address for safety issues such a s police and fire responders.  12% said no they would not post their address on the rear of their property 20% indicated they did not have a laneway 5% felt that laneway numbers would help thieves looking to break in.

Have you incurred damage to your vehicle because of poorly maintained lane surfaces such as; pot holes, uneven surfaces, debris and garbage?

31% Yes 69% No  Flat tires on cars and bicycles was the number one concern as was winter ice.  

How much impact does a poorly maintained lane have on the sense of your safety and the community sense pride?

6% Not at All  27% Somewhat  2% Potholes  65% Felt the laneway was treated a as a dumping ground. 

Do you think installing portions of permeable pavements would be a strategy that should be desirable in the laneways Cabbagetown South?

88% Yes  12 % No

General comments about paving issues

In general most residents are in favour of improving our laneways, making them work better and less of a dumping round.

During the Day. Do you feel comfortable using laneways close to your home?

78% Yes  8% No 14% Were uncomfortable if they encountered strangers, drug activity, drinking, prostitutes.  There is concerns that thieves use the laneways to case potential properties fro break ins.  

After Dark. Do you feel comfortable using laneways close to your home?

28% Yes 53% No 2% Never use laneways after dark 5% OK when in their car 5% Walk ther dogs regularly 7% Depends on which laneway.

Do you witness Unwanted Criminal or Nuisance Behaviour in the laneway.

69% Yes 3% No  27% Spoke specifically about drug, alcohol and prostitution.

If YES have you ever reported it to

33% No 27% Yes 311 51% Police non emergency number 416 808 2222 16% Other 15%

Do you see police patrolling your laneway on a regular basis?

11% Yes 69% No 20% Other  Best COmment Police vans with cameras should be parked around the neighbourhood. 

Is your laneway well lit at night?

57% Yes 43% No  Comments indicate lighting is inconsistant but there are concerns about neighbours going overboard with bright distracting motion lights. 

Have you installed lighting on your garage or gate facing the laneway?

32% Yes 68% No Comments indicated concerns about lighting being vandalized.

Have you had any issues with graffiti on your property facing the laneway?

40$ Yes 60% No Comments indicated most residents deal with the problem promptly.  Manysuggested avoiding light coloured siding and doors as they are targeted most frequently.

The police at 51 Division have helped in organizing a graffiti paint out day with area residents and high school students.  Would you be interested in participating?

59% Yes 50% No.  Many concerns about police or others painting over graffiti without permission from the owner.  Concerns that the property owner is on the hook rather than catching the taggers and having them paint out graffiti.  

Do you have any concerns about laneway gardens?

18% Yes 82% No  Comments indicated that  most were in favour if done correctly and if property owner is contacted first.  Best Comment

However, guidelines need to be established. Some people have good intentions and have taken on planting in the lanes. This is great, many have been done shotgun approach without preparing and adding nutrients to the soil and have not installed proper edging to retain soil and mulch from spilling onto the pavement. Also concerned about what is being planted and one of the reasons why I got involved with the Laneway improvement efforts. A plant species list is in the works. The use of leaf blowers in the neighbourhood is also very disruptive and causes excessive dust and dirt to float through our properties resulting in dirty windows and patios. Brooms and rakes work really well and if people are cleaning the lanes and streets- prototocol to bag the organic mater or dirt should be established instead of pushing down to another homeowners property.or input on how the laneways are doing.  We had lots of responses to our survey and thanks for everyone who took the time. To see the results please click here.   We are working on some short term goals we hope to accomplish this spring and summer as well as a plan for future improvements.  Will keep you advised.

Would you support a fundraiser to help purchase materials for laneway and community garden projects?

92% Yes 8% No

Volunteer to help maintain and keep your back/side laneway in good order, what would be a reasonable amount of time for you to commit?

Yes 30% 30 minutes weekly Yes 12% 60 minutes weekly Yes 47% Would help with occasional clean up   No 15%      

Are you interested in volunteering on any of these subcommittees to help make improvements

16% Pavement Condition  22% Policing  8% Lighting Improvements 25% Beautification 65% No Thanks

There is a push to allow the building of laneway houses in Toronto. Would you support small infill housing units in our neighbourhood.

27% Yes 32% No 30% Maybe Comments indicated that residents are concerned about neighbouring properties infringing on their privacy and light.   Others like the idea of more intensification and eyes on the streets and laneways. 

I have concerns that laneway houses in Toronto will

50% Less green space and trees  30% Less privacy  58% More noise 67% More traffic

67% Over intensification  45% Non-resident landlords  55% More garbage and recycling bins in the front and laneways

I am for laneway houses in Toronto because

60% Create affordable housing options  70% More Safety with eyes and ears on the laneways

Comments indicated concerns about the motives of laneway housing builders.  Some support for owner occupied units but concerns about low end housing and non resident landlords maxing out their properties.  

Cabbagetown South Safe Laneways Project

Our association recently met with a group called The Laneway Project to discuss solutions around problems with laneways in our area.   The idea is to see if there are ways we can change the design and function of our laneways to help deter unwanted behaviour.   Laneways are often being used as toilets, Illegal dumping, street level prostitution and drug dealing and drug use.  We need to take back our laneways by creating spaces that are attractive and safe for area residents to walk, ride bicycles, park their vehicles, play with their kids, exercise their dogs etc.. 

Several area residents have made great strides in taking on laneway gardening projects and engaging their neighbours in keeping the laneways green and litter free.  One big challenge that we need to raise funds for is the watering of these laneway gardens during hot dry spells in the summer.  We are working on getting information about who offers such services and what the cost would be to cover watering when the weather does not cooperate.   

We have created a small working group that will look at all our laneways to determine what laneways are in good condition and relatively problem free and those which need a lot of work.  We then hope to create a master plan for laneway revitalizaton that will look at improving laneway hardscape, lighting, solutions for graffiti and making the laneways safe and inviting.  We have organized some volunteers to lead a Primary Working Group to put together a community survey and call for volunteers to help form a Safe Lanewyas Committee.    

Here are a few starting points we need to discuss with Councillor McConnell and city staff.

- An active and growing group of area residents have adopted a greater interest in upping the level of stewardship of laneways.

- With a greater level of community education and fact finding, area resdients now believe that the City and Police Department do care about Cabbagetown South and are more empowered to be proactive and claim a more active and participatory role in the community and laneways by checking on their neighbours and “keeping eyes on the laneways”.

- The community has embraced the Cabbagetown South Community initiatives on improving safety and is evolving into a positive and active group of resdients who want these efforts to make long term improvements in the community, urban environment and urban health of the community

- Many long-time residents have seen a positive change over the past 15 years, especially recently and more residents are comfortable to use these routes as pedestrian and cyclists

- Many believe what the most influential community builders and urban planners have been saying all along, that having eyes on the street and the freedom to actively use the lanes by going outside and claiming the space is the best form of building community.

- Citizens are on board and are drafting a long term Master Plan for the entire Neighbourhood and are determined to implement this phased strategy through achievable best practice design and sustainable infrastructure.

- Currently, the lanes are used by a large number of families from Moss Park and Sherbourne walking the lanes in the morning and afternoon for school along the lanes north of Dundas and South of Gerrard, alongside residents using these lanes to walk and cycle to work-

- We see the great achievements one block to the east of us in Regent Park with best practice design guidelines such as permeable pavements, subtle but effective night lighting and an attention to place making. As a result, children play everywhere, people cycle and walk their dogs and they feel safe. We want the same for our community.

- We do not see status quo solutions to merely replace the existing paved areas, to make an effective improvement we are planning to do it well, sustainability and effectively while supporting the City of Toronto’s green initiatives and holding our community up as a significant community restoration that the City can look to as a precedent for others.


One of the great gems in Toronto for greening initiatives is the Evergreen Bricks Works. They have brought environmental solutions and utilizing our native flora and natural systems to correct many of our urban “problem” to the forefront. They have tremendous resources, Native plant nursery (that I am constantly visiting) and grants through their own funding program that are available to Schools and COMMUNITY greening initiatives.  For more information click here.

Check them out for Plant Lists and recommendations for many different conditions. They provide the largest selection of native plants in the GTA at the lowest prices seen anywhere.


Evergreen Brickworks: click here.

Live Green Toronto: click here.

In May of this year, Live Green sponsored a "laneway puncture demonstration" with the Laneway Project beside Fred Hamilton Park in Toronto which was sponsered by an RBC Fund

This was sponsored by an RBC fund:

FCM Green Municipal Fund: This could be promising.

TD Environmental Fund:

For more information City of Toronto Green Standards, click here.


The Parliament Street Library

Central Neighbourhood House

Robertson House

Sherbourne Health Center

Dan Harrison and William Dennison Community Housing 

Who to call about lighting issues

For the street lighting issues, Toronto Hydro maintains the street lights in the City. To report any issues they can be reached at 416-542-8000 or some issues can be reported online at

For Design & Construction Transportation Infrastructure, please contact Raffi Bedrosyan - Manager, Local Roads at 416-392-8227.

The Toronto Municipal Code chapter 598-6 does not specify requirement of house numbering in laneways. You can view this chapter at

All other issues 311 

City Planner re Lanescape George Pantazis can be reached at 416.392.3566 or via email at   

Laneway Improvement Committee (under construction)

Cabbagetown Safe Laneways ‐ Sub Committees

Pavement Conditions Bryan Jones

Work on "H" Section (N2 ‐ Dovers, Calgie, Callaghan) Design Standards (permeable, concrete, asphalt) Influence higher level decision makers Contact pavement designers at City (get their contacts)

Policing and Social IssuesNadeem Ahmed

Safe Laneways Reporting ‐ App (cost, legal, etc) Get street numbers on back of homes (contact owners)          Hire Students for work Fence off back areas (contact owners ‐ offer Project  Management services) Look into signage and cameras on Oskenonton

Greening with plants

Work on "H" Section (N2 ‐ Dovers, Calgie, Callaghan) Work with CNH to improve the back area Work with Library ‐ see if they want to help Plant Standards (Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy, Boxes, etc) TD funds for green laneways Confirm laneway widths ‐ 6m standard 

Needles Record data, call 311 Call City Toxic Waste Hotline Need number for toxic waste hotline

Record data, call 311 Call City Toxic Waste Hotline

Greening with plants

Leaning Street signs/poles Residents to contact city Identify areas on map

House numbers along Laneways Contact Residents ‐ make request Get them quotes and help ‐ larger scope makes it cheaper

Building Up (Can Help with creating gardens by removing concrete. 

Contact Julian Dibenedetto 416 518 2110

Request area residents to install

Bright LED lighting w/ motion sensors ‐ 5000K

Lanescape Project click here.

Cabbagetown South - Safe Laneways ProjectMaster Plan 1.01. INTRODUCTION

The community of Cabbagetown South is a neighborhood in east Toronto bound by Carlton (north), Parliament (east), Shuter (south), and Sherbourne (west) Street.The Safe Laneways Project was initiated in September 2016 to help residents reclaim the use of laneways, within the community, by focusing on four primary safety issues; Pavement Conditions, Policing and Social Problems, Better Lighting, and Beautification. 1.1 Vision StatementAll laneways in Cabbagetown South are safe and inviting, for anyone to use, day or night. Laneways are a valuable and positive addition to the local residential and business community. 2. CABBAGETOWN SOUTH LANEWAY TODAYLaneways are often being used as toilets, illegal dumping, street level prostitution, drug dealing, and drug use. Several area residents have made great strides in taking these laneway issues and engaging their neighbours in keeping the laneways green, safe, and litter free.3. PLANNING PROCESS3.1 Forming a Primary Working Group – Safe Laneway Project LeadersWe have created a small primary working group, of about six volunteers, that will look at all our laneways, to determine which laneways are in good condition and relatively problem free and those which need a lot of work. The primary working group is responsible for:  Lead development of priorities and working strategies. Ensure all members of the community have the opportunity to contribute.  Develop a Master Plan.

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