Many Meetings on the Waterfront (Updated)

The week of December 8 brings a series of meetings on various aspects of the waterfront redesign and transit services.

Monday December 8:  Queen’s Quay Revitalization EA Public Meeting #2  Harbourfront Community Centre, 627 Queen’s Quay West at Bathurst.  Open house at 6:00 pm, presentation and discussion at 7:00 pm.

Also of interest is the presentation from the Stakeholders’ Meeting held on November 27 (erroneously dated December on its cover page).  The Study Area now extends from Parliament Street to Bathurst Street, and there are signs that the many overlapping projects are being treated as a unified set rather than a few blocks at a time.

A great deal of time was spent in 2008 sorting out the competing requirements of various agancies and their plans, but the dust is settling now.  Queen’s Quay itself will generally stay at its existing width with selective widenings.  The streetcar tracks will remain in the “middle” of the street where they are now, but their relationship to auto, pedestrian and cycling traffic will likely change.

There are many design demands for the street summarized in text and photos from page 13 to 26.  Various options for street layout are discussed starting on page 35.  Three of five alternatives survive the screening process.  The two that are rejected are “do nothing” (the existing layout) as well as a scheme with the Martin Goodman trail taking over what is now the curb lane of Queen’s Quay eastbound.

Of the remaining three, the one that stands out (Alternative 5) is the conversion of Queen’s Quay for auto traffic to one-way westbound using the existing lanes, more or less, with the entire south side taken over for pedestrians and cycling.  This scheme simplifies intersection layouts and provides a generous landscaped area adjacent to the transit right-of-way.  At the east end of Queen’s Quay, it will also blend directly into the proposed design for Cherry Street north of the railway.

Wednesday December 10:  Lower Don Lands Infrastructure EA Public Meeting #2, St. Lawrence Hall (Great Hall), King & Jarvis.  Open house at 6:00 pm, presentation and discussion at 7:00 pm.

This meeting will address many issues such as water supply and sewage, street layout, and transit routes.  The presentation at the first public meeting held in July 2008 gives a good overview of the scope.  In particular, page 17 shows the proposed alternative road configurations, and this affects the design of the new LRT lines in this area.

Two alternatives are shown for Cherry Street.  The easternmost one is the existing street, and the alternative is slightly to the west as far south as Commissioners Street.  The alternative helps to sort out the Cherry, Lake Shore, Queen’s Quay intersection by shifting it to the west.  This would also require a new portal under the railway, but would eliminate problems with available right-of-way for roads, cyclists and transit within the existing portal, and would avoid any conflict with the Cherry Street Tower, and historic building within the railway lands. 

Tuesday December 9:  Western Waterfront Master Plan

St. Joseph’s Health Centre, 30 The Queensway, 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

Tuesday and Thursday December 9 and 11:  Waterfront West LRT Parklawn to Long Branch

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
James S. Bell School
90 Thirty-First Street (Gym, southeast entrance)
6:30pm – 9:00pm Open House

December 11, 2008
John English School (Cafeteria)
95 Mimico Avenue (east of Royal York Rd)
Parking and entrance from George Street lot
6:30pm – 9:00pm Open House

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I can’t help wondering whether we might see vastly improved service on the 501/507/508 well in advance of any LRT to “build ridership”, rather like the 190 Rocket from Don Mills Station to STC.  The good folk of Etobicoke might be forgiven some skepticism that a beautiful new right-of-way will be conspicuously empty most of the time.