YQNA scores meeting over York-Bay park

By Michael Gregoris –

Following a public outcry over what one group called a “secretive process,” Toronto’s transportation services has called a public meeting to discuss the possibility of revamping the Gardiner’s York-Bay-Yonge interchange and creating a local street from Harbour St. to Queens Quay between York and Bay streets.

As reported in The Bulletin last month, members of the York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA) had decried what they called an “ill-conceived” plan to dismantle the York-Bay-Yonge ramp from the Gardiner, which currently occupies the parkland on the east side of York St.

But before council can move forward with the plan, an environmental study report must be filed that hinges on the resolution of the north-south road issue.

A public open house will be held on April 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 245 Queens Quay West to discuss the north-south street. Community members directly affected by the proposed changes can provide feedback.

“The meeting will address the need for the street, alternative designs, and its potential benefits and impacts to motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and area residents, businesses, and visitors,” says Stephen Schijns, the city’s manager of infrastructure planning and project manager for the York-Bay-Yonge ramp study. “The merits and drawbacks of potential on-street parking will also be discussed.”

According to Schijns, the results of the meeting will assist the city in determining whether to proceed with the street, and if so, how it will look and operate.

“The street plans are being developed within a dynamic environment, and consideration must be given to competing uses for the open space that is to be uncovered with the removal of the loop ramp, the timing of new development, planned changes to Queens Quay and Harbour St., growth in demand for both mobility and open space, and the aspirations of area residents and visitors,” says Schijns.

Once council approves the street plan, it will be added to the environmental study report for the York-Bay-Yonge ramps study, effectively bringing the project one step closer to commencement.

Illustrations of the different plans were not available prior to press time.

Schijns explained: “There are several options drawn up, but I would prefer to wait until the public meeting to ensure that they are released and displayed in their proper context. It would be inappropriate, for example, to show one option without showing all of them and explaining the differences between them. It would also be confusing to the public to show a new street on the existing base map or photo, because all options are predicated on the removal of the loop ramp.”