Queens Quay plan shaping up: fall 2011 construction target

By Kimberly Spice –

queensThe choking combination of gridlock and exhaust fumes along central Queens Quay will be a thing of the past as Waterfront Toronto transforms the area into a pedestrian, car friendly, street.

At the June 9 community update meeting at Harbourfront Centre’s Lakeside Terrace, the agency shared its vision of Queens Quay’s central waterfront. The plan includes moving vehicular traffic north of the streetcar tracks in addition to adding designated turning lanes, better timed traffic lights and lay-by’s that will bring an end to buses and cars creating traffic jams.

“The biggest traffic problem causes right now on Queens Quay, from what we’ve seen, are by buses parked illegally and cars parked illegally that clog up the street,” Chris Glaisek, vice president of planning and design for Waterfront Toronto, told approximately 70 people in attendance. “The issue is not the sheer volume of cars but the fact that they get blocked by buses and they can’t make the turns at the intersections.”

“We are also changing the signal timing to get more green time on the east west movement then there is today.”

The Waterfront BIA had approved the development plan earlier that day, Waterfront Toronto president John Campbell announced. He added that the community will be involved throughout the construction process which is expected to start this fall.

Changes to Queens Quay will also include a large, double tree lined promenade alongside the Martin Goodman Trail on the south side. Sidewalks along the north side will be widened with each block having its own designated species of trees.

“We were asked by the city to have a diversity of different tree species,” Jelle Therry, landscape architect from West 8, told waterfront neighbours. “We want to have beautiful big trees like on the south side so the scale of the tree will be the same only the species will be different.”

“We have about six different species that we will use along the whole stretch of Queens Quay and we will use every block a different set of trees so every block will have a continuous row of trees that will look the same and then another block will have a different species.”

Land beside Harbourfront Centre is currently under construction. The first phase includes completion of the underground parking garage and the creation of a temporary landscape above providing an area for buses while the street is under development.

“We have funding essentially to pay for the first phase of this work which is the underground parking garage that is currently under construction,” Glaisek stated. “Harbourfront Centre has committed to raising the funds to building the park land that will then go on top and then in a future phase there will be some amounts of development including some new cultural buildings, retail buildings, all low scale development, but those are very much down the road at this point.”

Information about Waterfront Toronto developments can be found on their website www.waterfrontoronto.ca.