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Parkdale : Development News

8 Parkdale Articles | Page:

Temporary bridges open at Dufferin

Last week, drivers got their Dufferin back.

On April 11, the temporary bridges replacing the old and hastily condemned Dufferin Bridge opened to traffic, allowing vehicles to get to and from Lake Shore Blvd. West and Exhibition Place via Dufferin once again.

These modular bridges, erected at a cost of about $3 million, will stand in for the permanent structures over the GO/Metrolinx tracks and the Gardiner, which are not expected to be completed until 2019.

"The permanent work at this site is a complex project," says Frank Clarizio, director fo capital works delivery for the city. "In addition, the elevation of Dufferin Street will be raised to allow for the extra vertical clearance required for the future electrification of the rail corridor. The schedule for the work will also depend on other major Transportation projects planned for the area."

The design of the new bridge is being worked out now, and its construction schedule set. The cost of the permanent work will be about $20 million.

The old bridge was closed to traffic on June 12, 2013, and to pedestrians on Oct. 9. The 101-year-old structure was demolished on Dec. 2.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Frank Calrizio

Trees suffer under ice, point to the future

After the ice, and the branches and wires and crushed cars, things looked bad. The city didn’t make it any better by saying as much as 20 per cent of the city's tree canopy had been destroyed and that people wouldn't have to apply for licenses to take down damaged trees.

"I was concerned," says Councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park), the city's tree advocate. She called in to the city, and was assured that people would have to take pictures of the damaged tree to prove it needed to be taken down. How effective this will be remains to be seen, though the councillor, who lost half of one tree and the entirety of another in her own yard, says if you take the city's hasty announcement as a license for arborcide, "We will come after you."

That 20 per cent figure also concerns her.

"I think that was a very quick ballpark," she says. "We need arborists to go out and look at these. Can we prune this tree and will it come back? But we’re really not going to know for another few years."

And as far as Doucette is concerned, those years should be spent taking a sylvan lesson or two from High Park.

"I drove through High Park after the storm," Doucette says of the park that forms a large part of her ward, "because I wanted to see what sort of devastation we had in the park. There wasn’t any devastation. Some of the branches came down, but for the size of the park, we didn’t have that much damage, and that’s because they maintain and prune the trees. If the city can put more money into pruning our city trees, we wouldn’t be losing branches like this during storms."

She also suggests there should be some education available for residents on the importance of tree maintenance to avoid the mess, damage and potential injury after storms like December’s.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source; Sarah Doucette

Dufferin Bridge hastily closed three years ahead of schedule

The Dufferin Street Bridge closed to traffic today at 9 a.m. and will be demolished by the end of the year.

The bridge, which crosses the GO rails south of Springhurst, had been scheduled for replacement in 2016. City staff decided on recent inspection that the bridge was in such a poor state that it needed to be closed immediately--and replaced.

The bridge will be open to pedestrians until further notice. Updates will be posed on the city's website.

According to Clive Scott, Councillor Gord Perks' constituency assistant, the councillor has met with the city’s Technical Services and transportation staff and was told, "The vehicular crossing should be fully re-established within 18 months with temporary bridges.  Pedestrian and cycling access will remain available. A construction schedule is currently being developed to minimize the disruption to pedestrian traffic."

The current plan is to construct a temporary bridge, open to cars, that will serve until the new, permanent bridge is finished.

According to Scott, city transportation staff "are currently developing a plan that will adjust traffic signals and signage to minimize the impact of this closure on both residential communities and businesses. Transportation staff will monitor traffic flows and continue to make adjustments as necessary."

Neither the councillor's office nor the city staff would release what specifically precipitated the early closure.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Clive Scott

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Green Toronto Awards nominations now open

Nominations opened this week for the 2012 Green Toronto Awards, though the most interesting category from the 2011 edition has been dropped.

Last year, the awards expanded to include a green homes category, aimed at individuals who had done something remarkable to or with their own homes.

"It wasn't our strongest category," says Jessica Chow, co-ordinator for the city-sponsored awards. "We don’t know why. We noticed a lot of them were, 'Oh, I recycle in my home.' It wasn't really what we were after."

So this year, it's been folded into the more general green design category, where individual homes will now compete with eco clothing, green roofs and other design innovations.

Nominations can be submitted here until midnight on Feb. 6. Winners will be announced in March.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jessica Chow

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New ward 18 councillor stresses importance of access after $20.5-million sale of her alma mater

The city announced the sale of an underused school last week, and the local councillor is worried it will mean an end to neighbourhood soccer games.

"[I]t remains unclear how accessible the school's facilities will remain to the area and residents," newly elected Councillor Ana Bailao, a Toronto Western alumna herself, said in a press release.

Toronto Western Collegiate and its grounds, near College and Lansdowne, were sold to the French public school board for $20.5 million. In the 2009-2010 school year, its last, the school was estimated to have been about 90 per cent vacant.

According to the councillor's special assistant, Deyan Kostovski, the school's gym, football field and track have been well used community amenities.

"For those who have developed a habit or routine of using the gymnasium or the field in the summer," Kostovski says, "we're welcoming [the French board] into the neighbourhood and hoping they'll be open to the community."

School trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher was less sanguine about the city's decision to divest.

"I find myself just so pissed off that we are again doing something that is patently stupid. We are selling something that we are going to regret," she told the CBC. "And I hate that kind of situation."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Deyan Kostovski

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$15-million Gardiner bridge reconstructions continue with Lakeshore bridge

Work continues on -- and over -- the Gardiner Expressway as the two sections of the Lakeshore Bridge are demolished just as the Jameson Bridge was last month.

Work on the two sections of the bridge, the 109-metre east bridge and the 59-metre west bridge, has been closing several lanes of the Gardiner since Oct. 25, and work on this phase of the project will continue until Friday at 5am, when the westbound lanes from Spadina to the Humber River will re-open after periodic closures that began yesterday.

"As a general rule, we inspect all our bridges periodically," says Mike Laidlaw, acting manager of structures and expressways for the city's technical services department, "and depending on condition, we slot them into particular times to rehab them before they get to the point of falling down or are hazardous. These are all being done [at the same time] because of their proximity and there's an economy of scale." Laidlaw mentioned traffic control as one major scalable expense.

Laidlaw hopes to have the bridges reconstructed by the end of the year, but says the timeline is dependent on weather. The city plans to have the entire $15-million contract finished by late spring or early summer of next year.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mike Laidlaw

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Booming Liberty Village getting $2.5-million electrical upgrade

The area that's become Liberty Village was never meant to be as popular as it's become. As a result, it's 1911 power grid is being taxed, limiting the amount of growth potential the neighbourhood has. So Toronto Hydro is investing $2.5 million in upgrading the system.

"The project essentially will accommodate the area's growth as new customers connect to the gird," says Denise Atallah, Toronto Hydro's spokeswoman. "The new equipment will also provide more reliable service to the area."

The new equipment includes new poles and higher voltage transformers.

Crews have been on the site since February, and work should be completed by August.

For those who keep track of such things, the current voltage is 4.16kV, and the proposed voltage for the upgrade is 13.8kV, with 4,000 kVA worth of load being transferred onto the new system

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Denise Atallah


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Construction imminent on long-planned 1,117-unit condo in Liberty Village

Sales quotas have been reached and the vacant plot is being prepared for construction of the King West condominiums, the Plazacorp development that, with its 1,117 units, will be adding a whole new village to Liberty Village.

With construction set to begin this summer, and to be completed sometime in 2013, the large, three-tower, single-podium building will not only be adding between 2,000 and 2,500 people to the neighbourhood.

"The way it's designed, with the towers and a podium, the residents are getting a half acre of rooftop garden," says Nestor Repetski, spokesman for the project.

King West was sold and is being built in three phases, and will be spread out between 65 and 85 East Liberty Street. Designed by Quadrangle Architects, who are also responsible for the Village's Toy Factory Lofts.

The three towers will be 25 storeys each.

The project has been a long time coming, having been first proposed in 2004, 9 years before it's current scheduled completion.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Nestor Repetski

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]

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