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Queens Quay transit project
will help renew Toronto's waterfront

The City of Toronto and WATERFRONToronto are putting the final touches to their plans to refocus the area beside the waterfront on pedestrians, cyclists — and streetcars.

The City and Waterfront project team plans to replace the current roadway south of the streetcar tracks with a seven-metre-wide public promenade and park, extending the waterfront boardwalk and increasing the amount of green space in the area.

The goal is to turn Queens Quays East and West between Parliament and Bathurst Streets into a European-style boulevard with broad, tree-lined walkways. The wider public area could be the site of future festivals, events and markets, attracting more tourists and fostering a greater sense of community for local residents.

A running and bike path will finally join the eastern and western halves of the Martin Goodman Trail with a safe and direct route through the central waterfront.(Currently, cyclists have to negotiate a fairly dangerous on-street route through this area.)

The plan limits car and truck traffic to just two lanes — one in each direction — with a turning lane in the middle.

Transit is a key component — or quay component — of the plan. Two lanes of streetcar tracks will separate the pedestrian and cycling area from the roadway. Since these tracks will line the southern side of the traffic portion of Queens Quay, streetcars will cross fewer side streets and stop only at intersections, with signals prioritizing streetcars over other vehicles. And streetcars will also start to serve eastern harbour — the area between Bay and Parliament Streets.

The project doubles the size of the underground terminal at Union Station to accommodate the new streetcar line along Queens Quay East and serve many more passengers than currently. The TTC must widen the north end of the tunnel to build more platforms where passengers can board and exit the cars for this new line and the current lines serving Queens Quay West. The widened tunnel would also include space for the future Waterfront West light rail Transit City line, which would connect through a tunnel beneath Bremner Boulevard.

Streetcars operating along the new Queens Quay East line would operate 250 metres underground before emerging to the surface through a portal at Freeland Street, two blocks east of Yonge Street. They would turn around at temporary streetcar loop east of Parliament Street at the end of the line. When the TTC, City and WATERFRONToronto extend the line further east, along Commissioners Street into the Port Lands area and north along Cherry Street into the Lower Don Lands, they will remove the loop.

City and Waterfront staff hope to break ground for the project this fall, with construction likely to continue for two years.

Rotterdam design firm West 8 provided the proposal’s European flare. It partnered with Toronto’s Du Toit Allsopp Hillier to beat out 38 other firms from 15 countries to win an international contest WATERFRONToronto sponsored in 2006 to solicit innovative designs for the project.

A formal period of consulting the public for the plans to redesign Queens Quay East and West between Parliament and Bathurst Streets ended in January. Another period of consulting the public about the transit component of the project continues until Monday, April 26 and members of the public may comment on the plans.

You can review the plans for the transit part of the project here.

Since this is the final stage of the environmental assessment of the projectIf, if you have any issues or complaints about the project, you must submit your comments in writing to:

The Honourable John Gerretsen,
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West,
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2T5

before Monday, April 26.

You must also submit a copy of your comments to:

20 Bay Street, Suite 1310,
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2N8

You can review the general plans for redesigning Queens Quay here.