Roncy’s Pee Rocks

Although the boulder-in-river-stone design element featured in several Roncesvalles Avenue street gardens may look like Xeriscape or Zen design, they are actually strategic coping solutions for dog urine.  Roncy has Pee Rocks.

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Roncy’s dog pee rocks are saving roses

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Zen Design & Dog Pee Solution

As dogs walk (hopefully on leash) with their owners, they constantly source out other dogs’ territorial markings and plan on masking those scents with their own. It’s what they do.

With an accumulation of doggy leaks, clever RoncyWorks volunteered gardeners, came up with an attractive solution that would help safeguard the shrubs and perennials. Now dogs gravitate to the Pee Rocks.

I like it so much, I’m going to apply the design on flanking sides of my own front walkway.

Now, if only we could stop dogs and people from trampling the plants, that would be awesome. The most harm happens when dogs are tethered to the trees in some of the gardens. A stop to that could save a lot plants, volunteer effort and money spent replacing plants.

Taking it to the Street

It took a village to raise that baby!

Beautiful day on Roncesvalles avenue showing passengers boarding streetcar, trees, plant beds and shoppers.With a team of many BIA members, TTC delegates, advocating residents, and City of Toronto officials, the long, arduous task of co – creating the Roncesvalles streetscape was a group effort.  The process was based on consultation, collaboration and transparency.

Several members of RoncyWorks were involved in the process and are pleased to report that Roncy’s development history is intact, safe and on the cutting edge of experimental projects.  For example the Greening of Roncy by local volunteers and the success of the Cigarette Litter Prevention Campaign is inspiring other neighbourhoods.

Creating an accessible street that people would enjoy for generations was the group mandate. And, if the TTC has to make some adjustments to get that perfect, well that’s OK with me.

The group had to scale their vision to budget and other limitations, while pursuing the common interests of all businesses, residents, motorists, cyclists, transit users and pedestrians of all ages — some with strollers, walkers or wheelchairs.

Roncy Works… because we all work together.

More on:  Community engagement with Roncesvalles Renewed

No rip ups planned along Roncy

TTC work anticipated for 2016

access ramp from new street car

A step-free access ramp will be located at the second doorway of each new TTC streetcar. (Randy Risling / Toronto Star)

To accommodate the accessible ramps for the new streetcars that will be traveling along the 504 route, some minor adjustments will need to be made to TTC designed bump outs along Roncesvalles.

Correction: Back when the TTC bump outs were being installed there were still some unknowns. In fact, the ramp design for the bump outs was not finalized until 2013. [The original plans of 2011 were modified and finalized in 2013, before TTC had settled on the purchasing of the expected, new streetcars.]

According to TTC Executive Director of Corporate Communications, Brad Ross, “not the entire bump out will be adjusted, just a 4 square metre area of each bump out.  The work is slated for 2016 and will be done during non-peak times.”

There will be the odd lane restriction, but the road will not be closed, the track will not be ripped out along Roncy, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the road, bike lanes and sidewalks.

When asked, Councillor Gord Perks commented that it is his understanding “the TTC will concentrate their efforts on Spadina, Bathurst and Dundas accessibility issues first. “Roncevalles will only experience minimal disruption during non peak hours and work will be done quickly in days, not months.”

In terms of timing, the TTC is aiming to co-ordinate this work with the City of Toronto and coincide construction with the already scheduled intersection rebuild at Queen-King-Roncesvalles-Queensway.  Streetcars will be out of service as a result of the intersection work, but will be replaced by scheduled buses.

“Rest assured, the TTC is sensitive to further disruption to the community and will do all it can to mitigate disruption,” says Ross. “There will be lots of signage and advance notice to the community and businesses”.

Planting for spring

Volunteers from the RoncyWorks Green Team and their kids plant spring bulbs in the street planting beds near Copernicus Lodge.

Undaunted by the rain, new volunteer Robin Poole and her three friends came out with their children to plant bulbs along Roncesvalles. Three cheers for the big and little volunteers. From Left to Right: Back row – Robin, Michelle, Amanda (holding Ruby) Front row – Georgia, Jules, Finn, Spencer and Alex.

In the week before superstorm Sandy blew in, volunteers from our Green Team got out to plant 800 spring bulbs among the 21 planting beds along Roncesvalles. Several beds were planted by volunteers in the cold and wind as the storm approached. Three cheers for the big and little volunteers.

The bulbs were provided by the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. Next spring you’ll see a splash of yellow, orange, white and blues from the Narcissis Hawera, Red Devon, Fortune, Geranium and Scilla Siberica as these new bulbs spring forth.

Thank you to Barbara Japp and Jackie Taschereau who led the effort and to the the ten others who helped out with the planting. Thanks also to the Sweeps who got in there ahead of time to clear the planters of trash and cigarette butts. And, thanks to the rain, they got plenty of water.

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Sweeping teamwork

So  you’ve heard about the work of our Roncy Sweeps and you’d like to help out on a small section of the street close to where you live or work. Or perhaps you’d like to start your own initiative in your part of town. So, here’s how it works.

The17 blocks along Roncesvalles are split up into 8 sections. The lead volunteer for each section coordinates their efforts with the other volunteers on their team. The team takes care of both sides of the street, aiming to get out maybe once a week on a day between City cleanings, like on Tuesdays, Thursdays or on the weekend.

On the business sides of the street volunteers focus on cleaning the plant beds while business owners aim to keep the sidewalks looking good in front of their premises. On the residential side volunteers tidy up planting beds, pick up and dispose of some litter and recylables, and sweep up the sidewalks.

Brooms and gloves will be stored at 7 or 8 locations along Roncesvalles, to start with, so that volunteers can easily use these when it’s opportune for them to do a little sweeping. The lead volunteer for your section will tell you where the broom is stored.

We’re looking for additional volunteers to build up each team. There’s no set schedule. Each one does what they can, when they can. Just let us know which section you’d like to work on and we’ll connect you with the lead for that section. Our current lead volunteers by section include:

  1. Boustead to Howard: Ann
  2. Howard to Constance: Ed
  3. Constance to Geoffrey: Mary
  4. Geoffrey to Fermanagh: Maria
  5. Fermanagh to Fern: Tereza
  6. Fern to Galley: Dorothée
  7. Galley to Marion: Kirsten
  8. Marion to Queen: Jane

Learn more about Roncy Sweeps from these posts: