All Over The Waterfront (Update 4)

Update 1, March 17, 5:50 pm:  More details have been added about the various alignment options for the Waterfront West line through Parkdale.

Update 2, March 24, 7:55 pm:  Feedback from the TTC about Parkdale alignment details.  Details of Queen’s Quay public meetings added.

Update 3, March 25, 6:00 am:  The preferred option for the Kingston Road line is BRT.

Update 4, March 28, 11:10 pm:  The presentation from the March 25 public meeting on the Queen’s Quay redesign is now available online.  Note that this file is almost 18MB for those of you with slow network links.  The document is quite extensive, and I will review it in a separate post.

Transit planning on Toronto’s waterfront leaves much to be desired thanks to the patchwork of overlapping studies and projects for two decades.  Options for the portion between Parkdale and Bathurst Street have changed with the recent cancellation of the Front Street Extension, but no planning based on ths possibility has ever been conducted.

Throughout its history, planning for the waterfront has been fragmented and compromised to fit around whatever other projects had real political clout.  To help focus discussion of the waterfront as a whole, this post gives an overview of all of the projects and schemes from Long Branch to West Hill. Continue reading

Roncesvalles Redesign Public Meeting (Update 2)

Updated March 28: 

I have received reports from various sources that the recent public meetings on this project were a bit of a mess because the project’s representatives could not explain how their preferred option would work, and even supporters were left scratching their heads.  This option is explained, although not illustrated, by a post on the Roncesvalles Village BIA’s website.

The big problem is that the “new” scheme was so recently added to the mix that the project doesn’t have proper illustrations for it, only engineering plan views (looking straight down, in two dimensions, with no sense of how the street would actually work or look for people on it).  There is a somewhat clearer illustration on Bike Toronto’s site, although their drawing does not show clearly how the bike lane would ramp up to sidewalk level at transit stops.

Another surprise, lost in the shuffle, is that almost no parking will be eliminated by this plan.  Roncesvalles, unlike major streets such as St. Clair, has comparatively little traffic, and converting curb lane space to permanent parking and loading zones bounded by sidewalk “bump outs” won’t seriously affect traffic flow.

John Bowker of the BIA writes:

Torontoist is reporting broad opposition at the meeting to the City/TTC proposals. The truth is that the presentation was regrettably weak and unclear. The City and TTC even managed to confuse their own supporters. Many members of the supposedly angry crowd asking about the proposals were actually Roncesvalles Renewed members, all of whom support the pro-transit values underlying the concept proposals. Torontoist also falsely claims the sidewalk plan would eliminate right turn lanes, but anyway …

Lisa Rainford from the Bloor West Villager describes the meeting more accurately, emphasizing confusion over hostility.

The City/TTC presented a plan that reduces parking losses from 26% to eight percent – just 19 spots. And that’s during the day. During the evenings and on weekends, when loading zones are not in use, the plan reduces parking by less than five percent – a mere 11 spots. And the City and TTC were able to do this without affecting traffic flow or greatly altering the original vision of new and enhanced public spaces. This is incredibly good news (at least for businesses), and no one at the meeting even knew. This plan comes as close to having your cake and eating it too as anyone could have hoped.

Update 1, March 26:  The presentation boards and slides are now available on the project’s website.

The City of Toronto will hold a public meeting tonight to present the recommended design for the revitalization of Roncesvalles Avenue.

The meeting will be held

Monday March 23, 2009
6:00pm – 9:00pm (presentation at 7:00 pm)
Howard Jr Public School, 30 Marmaduke St.

Further information is available on the City’s project website and on the Roncesvalles Village website.