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Transport key to lakefront

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With so much focus on digging a billion dollar subway to York Region, will money remain for other transit projects? From Scarborough to Richmond Hill to Mississauga, many smaller rapid-bus and light rail lines also need attention.


On Toronto’s waterfront alone, two new streetcar routes are planned for the short term. Whole neighbourhoods are to take shape just east of Harbourfront and around the mouth of the Don River. The aim is to create a lakefront that houses thousands of families and draws visitors from further away.


Over the last few weeks Queens Quay south of Lake Shore Boulevard was dramatically made over, with flowers and grass covering the eastbound lanes. For a while, bikes and pedestrians took over from cars and tour buses. It was one of the most ambitious remakes — albeit temporary — of Toronto road space in some time.


Imagine a continuous promenade and bike path along Toronto’s central waterfront, flanked by exclusive light rail lanes, green space and (perhaps) beautiful residential buildings and stores. We'll see.


Depending how they are designed, the little-known Port Lands, West Don Lands and East Bayfront developments could change a forgotten industrial zone into a widely admired attraction. It has been a long time coming, and many have already been disappointed by the concrete canyon feel that marks much of Harbourfront.


To get people to the new neighbourhoods — without cars — transit lines must be extended south and east from Union Station. Two initial routes are proposed, increasing the TTC’s rail network and streetcar fleet.


If the city wins its bid to host a world Expo in 2015, an express rail route is a must. Have the decision-makers at Toronto City Hall, Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill truly grasped the degree to which the TTC must grow in this one area alone? All three levels of government are behind the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation, which is charged with making the grand plans happen.


CEO John Campbell says the recent “Quay to the City” test closure of Queens Quay is just the start. There were traffic issues, which he says drivers largely adapted to. Stores have reported higher sales and many people loved the change.


The TWRC at last has some money to spend, and will look into redesigning the street permanently. See the grand plans at www.towaterfront.ca.



transit@eddrass.com

 
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