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Port Authority releases video highlighting airport's economic importance

Just as Billy Bishop Airport is in the news again, with a proposal from Porter to expand the island airport’s repertoire to jets, the Toronto Port Authority has released a video highlighting the airport’s economic contributions to the city.

The video, which was released on Thursday, is based on an economic impact study done last October, and it’s the first new video the TPA, which runs the airport, has done in more than two years.


"The impact study really is about what the airport contributes to the city and how we want to work with the city in partnership," says TPA president Geoff Wilson. "It’s a very important theme: successful cities embrace their airport infrastructure and understand its role in stabilizing and growing, in our case, the downtown core and bring prosperity in the form of business, commerce and tourism."

He says this airport embrace is a form of natural civic evolution.

"Great cities embrace their ports, then their railroads, then build their highway systems, and the ones that did it well prospered and had strong economies." Airports, he says, are the next historical step.

According to the study, the airport creates 5,700 jobs, of which 1,700 are directly linked to airport operations, handling the 2 million passengers that came through in 2012, a figure that's expected to rise in 2013. The airport has also been calculated to add $640 million in gross domestic product, and $2 billion in total economic activity.

Though Wilson did not want to comment directly on Porter's proposal, the TPA has agreed to fund the first phase of a feasibility study. Wilson would go so far as to say that if Porter's projections of increased passenger traffic are correct, it would increase the airport’s overall economic contribution to the city.

Wilson says the timing of the video has nothing to do with Porter's proposal.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Geoff Wilson

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Metrolinx listens to community, reverts to old plan

You may wonder, reading about all the public consultations covered in this space week after week, what it's all for.

On Friday, we found out.

Metrolinx, which has been holding consultations on its LRT line, announced Friday that it was changing gears based entirely on the public’s reaction to its revised Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown line plan.

After initially proposing to include stations at Leslie and Laird, Metrolinx proposed beginning to tunnel at Brentcliffe Road and ending at Don Mills Road, a plan that would have eliminated those two stops.

"Metrolinx had identified some potential issues with the Brentcliffe Road launch site," says Metrolinx’s director of community relaitons and communications Jamie Robinson. "It investigated different options and engaged the community, including convening three public meeting. We believed that our proposals would result in significant improvements to construction staging, schedule and traffic impacts. However, in discussions with the local community and with local community organizations it was clear that there was a strong preference for a stop at Leslie Street and for a station at Laird."

Asked if there were other reasons, perhaps economic, to revert back to the original scheme, Robinson says that "There’s no economic advantage either way," and that the decision was made entirely as the result of the public's expressed preference.

The Eglinton-Crosstown LRT will run from Black Creek to Kennedy station and is expected to be completed by 2020.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jamie Robinson

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


City starts nabbing abandoned bikes

If you abandoned your bike on an unexpectedly cold or snowy November night and have been putting off picking it up, now might be the time.

The city has started collecting obviously orphaned bikes in a concerted effort to free up ring-and-posts and clean up the streets.

"We’re in the middle of the mayor’s clean-up program," says Steve Buckley, the city’s general manager of transportation services. "We’ll be taking the bike carcasses over to Evergreen, where there’s a Bike Works program. They’re going to sort through al the pieces we’ve collected, determine which are salvageable, and anything that’s not will be taken for scrap."

Buckley says the city collects about a thousand dead bikes a year and expects to harvest about a hundred over the next couple of weeks. Standard procedure involves tagging the bikes to warn owners of their bike’s impending collection, and giving them about a week to bring them home.

If you find your bike missing and think it may have been picked up by the city, Buckley recommends you call the city at 416-392-7877.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Steve Buckley

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

An especially big, bad $155 million road fixing season begins

"This year is actually going to be the largest amalgamation of pending road reconstruction, resurfacing and bridges."

The words, spoken by the city’s general manager of transportation services Steve Buckley, should be enough to strike terror into any Toronto driver.

Road construction means detours and delays, and starting now, we’re in for $155 million worth.

"Basically, we have a lot of aging infrastructure," Buckley says, "and at this point, our roads are not in great condition.” He blames in on a "backlog of deferred maintenance" saying that there’s going to be an extra $285 million spent on major roads over the next 10 years to get the major arteries in shape.

Last week, crews were on Kingston Road, which is being reconstructed and resurfaced from Birchmount to Queen. Other major jobs this spring include Keele from Falstaff to Arrowsmith, Bloor from Lansdowne to Bathurst, Dufferin from Dundas to Keele and Albion Road from Steeles to Highway 27.

Drivers who want to keep on top of what’s going on so they can pre-plan (or just pre-fume) can check out both scheduled and emergency roadworks here.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Steve Buckley

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


City fixing up to 3,000 potholes a day

The news from Quebec this week that a two metre-wide pothole in Kirkland flipped a car will sound familiar to Toronto cyclists.

Though there are no reports of potholes big enough to crash a car yet, the continual freezing and thawing we’ve experienced here over the past several weeks has resulted in a greater than average number of potholes, any one of which is plenty big enough to flip a bike. 

"The last snowfall we had, it was rain in the morning, then snow, then rain again," says Trevor Tenn, the city’s manager of road operations. "Water gets in a crack in the road, it freezes, expands, and pushes the asphalt up or out. Then a car drives over it, breaks it, and creates a pothole."

Tenn says that there are as many as 40 crews with up to 100 workers on the roads last week and this, repairing as many as 3,000 potholes a day, draining water, putting in a sealant, a bonding agent called SS1, and covering them up with hot asphalt. The city reports there are an estimated 11,000 more potholes this year than average. 

Crews are sent to known areas –- roads that are high on the list for resurfacing –- as well as spots called in to 311, or to www.toronto.ca/311. The wait time is now between 3-5 days.

Tenn says that about $4 million is spent fixing 200,000 potholes annually.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Trevor Tenn

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Bicycle injury study proves need for bike lane separation

According to a recent broadly based and carefully methodological study, streetcar tracks are not good for cyclists.

Any urban cyclist would have been able to tell you that. They get especially bad in snowy weather, when the sides of streets, the bits usually hived off for cyclists, are piled high with snow moved out of the way of motorists. That’s when people on bikes are pushed closer to the grooves that are perfectly sized for bike tires to slip into them, flipping cyclists off and, possibly, into traffic. When you get to an intersection like Dundas and Bathurst where two streetcar lines cross, trying to keep at right angles to the tracks, the safest way for a cyclist to approach them, can start to look like quadrinomial equation.

But now, there is more than anecdotal evidence. The study, conducted in Toronto and Vancouver, asked 690 cyclists in downtown emergency rooms where they had their accidents and studied the conditions of those sites, comparing them to other randomly selected locations along that same cyclist’s route in what is called a case crossover-designed study meant to factor out variables.

"The relative risk is about 3.18 at intersections," says Anne Harris, assistant professor at Ryerson and the lead author of the paper that deals with these aspects of the study. "That’s approximately three times the risk of injury when streetcar tracks are present. It’s four times when not at intersections."

She called it "one of our stronger risk relationships," the strongest of which was the absence of physically separate bike lanes, which is 10 times riskier than the painted lines we have in Toronto, which the study found offer no significant protection.

The report was published in Injury Prevention and funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Anne Harris

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Have a say in what Eglinton's going to look like

From Jane to Kennedy, Eglinton is going to be a different sort of avenue in the next decade, and the city and Metrolinx are inviting residents to be a part of its development.

Starting with a meeting last night at Keele and Eglinton, and continuing on Feb. 26 at the Noor Cultural Centre on Wynford at Eglinton, and on the 28th at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute near the site of a future transit stop at Chaplin, the city’s planning division and Metrolinx will be educating and collecting suggestions and criticism on what will become of one of the city’s biggest avenues.

"What we’re discussing is an overall public realm plan for the whole corridor," says Lorna Day, the city’s project manager for Eglinton Connects. "We’re also looking at ways to green the corridor, to provide better connections to the parks and ravines system, and whether there are opportunities to plant bigger trees."

Like many of the city’s avenues, Eglinton is grossly under-developed, but according to the city’s Avenue and Midrise guidelines, there will likely be a profusion of four-to-eight-storey buildings cropping up along the avenue section of Eglinton (its entire stretch with the exception of the Leaside segment between Mt. Pleasant and Laird) alongside the transit development.

This is the third round of discussions on Eglinton, and there will be two more before Eglinton Connects submits its final report in the spring of 2014.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Lorna Day

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Green Living show to introduce Ontario Culinary Adventure

This is the year Toronto makes green living a little more palatable.

The seventh edition of the Green Living Show was announced last week, along with its newest feature, the Ontario Culinary Adventure, done in conjunction with the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.

"This is a collection of a dozen pavilions," says Green Living events VP Robert Orlovski. "Each pavilion represents a chef, a farmer a distiller, vintner or brewer and a destination marketing representative from a region, from Ottawa across the price to Windsor."

In addition to that, there’ll be an eco-parent show-within-a-show (there will, apparently, be mompreneurs), as well as Go Electric, a showcase for electric cars.

"We have been monitoring the marketplace and speaking a lot with car manufacturers," Orlovski says, and "this year, 2013, is a huge year for electric cars. We’ll be featuring tons of electric cars. Not only them, but also charging technologies. A whole section on what the electrification of transportation means in our city."

The Green Living Show, a showcase for marketing and branding firm Green Living whose clients include Loblaws, Samsung, Scotiabank and Tridel as well as the City of Toronto, will be held April 12-14 at the Direct Energy Centre’s halls B and C at the Ex. The  $16 admission can be waived with a drop-off of recyclable electronics at the door.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Robert Orlovski

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Pearson airport opens first of 13 new restaurants

There’s a renaissance of sorts going on at Pearson airport.

It has nothing to do with the American-style security, unfortunately, and a reasonable way of getting there is still several years away, but there are 13 new restaurants opening up, and that’s something.

What’s more, unlike the current crop of food outlets, the sort that give airport food a bad name (ugly, bad food, high prices, poor service), the new ones designed by New York firm Icrave won’t be ugly.

Also, there are iPads.

The first of these, Heirloom, a bakery-based restaurant, has just opened in the international departures section of Terminal 1. There will be 12 more, opening in both terminals, in space once given to departure gate seating. None of the old outlets is closing, yet.

"Typically now, if you want to go to the airport, go through your hour and a half security, and you have a choice: you can go to a restaurant, go to a newsstand, go pick up a $10 yogurt or whatever and go to your gate and wait for your flight," says Icrave principal Siobhan Barry.

But with Icrave’s modern design, not only will there be more places to eat and drink, the way passengers spend their time waiting for their flights will also be changed, adhering instead to the customs of the contemporary passenger. 

"The actual gatehold seating is where the biggest change is," Barry says. "It’s now a seat with a table, with an outlet to charge your devices, and an iPad for your use."

Each seat by the newly equipped departure gates will have a leashed iPad, which you can use to browse, but also to order meals from any of the nearby food outlets. To sign in, you’ll enter your flight number, and it will let you know if you have time to eat or drink before you have to board your flight. It will cut off ordering 15 minutes before boarding.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Siobhan Barry

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


How long did you wait for your last cab? City wants to know in effort to improve service

The taxi industry says we’ve got too many cabs on the streets for a driver to make a decent living. The city says we need between 300 and 600 more to serve the growth in population since the last licenses were issued in 2003.

So which is it?

The Taxi Cab Industry Review, a division of the city’s Municipal Standards and Licensing department, has been trying to figure it out since September 2011. Now, they’ve got a questionnaire up to find out what both drivers and passengers think.

“It is asking taxi cab riders in the city of Toronto to let us know more about how they use taxicabs,” says Vanessa Fletcher, project manager for the review, who says there are currently about 5,000 licensed taxis in the city. “Where do you use them and why? How long do you wait for them? And how long do you think you should wait?”

So far, Fletcher’s department has hired a consultant, Taxi Research Partners led by Dr. James Cooper (at a consulting fee of $68,332), and have gone out themselves to taxi ranks around the city to time how long cabs were waiting for fares. The average, they found, was 39 minutes.

The city has no statistics on driver income, but according to a very limited survey conducted by Open File around the same time, drivers figure they can make between $600 and $1,000 profit a week, with the higher end requiring 12-hour days, seven days a week.

The city's taxi survey will wrap up at the end of the month, and Fletcher expects the final report to be in to the city by the end June.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Vanessa Fletcher

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Feeling congested? City wants to hear about your problems with getting around

Jennifer Keesmaat thinks we’re congested in pretty much every way we can be. The city’s new chief planner figures we don’t have enough room to drive, seats on transit, room to cycle, or even proper ways to get around on foot.

She thinks it’s high time we talk about it, and she’s behind a series of public discussions on the subject of what she broadly refers to as moving around in the city.

"We’ve never had a big conversation about this in over a decade of being an amalgamated city," Keesmaat says.

Though the first phase of these talks and analysis are being conducted in conjunction with Metrolinx, which is considering transportation across the region, parts two and three are going to be about identifying Toronto’s own priorities and deciding how to pay for them.

"We’ll be talking about how far behind we are," she says, "because we’re really far behind as a city. We’re really under-investing, and it’s really important for people to know that."

She's optimistic that talking about what might be done to improve traffic congestion, transit overload, bike lanes and pedestrian infrastructure might not only be mutually educational, but could lower some of the traditional tensions surrounding these issues.

"I'm hoping that the way this process is different is that we're providing good information, and I hope we've reached a moment that we can recognize the magnitude of the problem that we have and we can maybe set aside some of our more parochial considerations and take a larger, city-building view of this," she says. "In an ideal scenario, there’ll be something for everyone and the worst case scenario is that there's a risk that nothing happens, and that people stay hunkered down in their camps. My hope is that by stimulating this public discourse, we’ll begin to move beyond the positions that people have held in the past and that have led us to stalemate."

Things seem to be off to a good start. Keesmaat says that in the first two days of the initiative, about 1,600 people responded to what she calls the "really funky" online tool.

The first meetings ere Monday, the second set is this afternoon at 4 p.m. and this evening at 6:30 p.m. in the rotunda of the Scarborough Civic Centre, followed by two more at the same times at the North York Civic Centre on Feb. 11 and City Hall on the 13th.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jennifer Keesmaat

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Metrolinx begins roundtables on $34B in transportation spending

Metrolinx is set to launch its next phase of mega-transit development. To prepare, Metrolinx is hosting roundtable discussions to let GTAers in on the plans and just how these plans might be funded.

There are $16 billion worth of projects already underway -- things like the Spadina subway extension, the Union-Pearson Express, and the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT. This next phase, which the administrative body formerly known as the Greater Toronto Transit Authority is now branding along with the first phase as the Big Move, will account for as much as $34 billion. Where the money will come from to extend the Yonge subway line north, build a downtown relief line, or construct an LRT system for Hamilton is, understandably, a big issue.

"The meetings are essentially a conversation about transit funding tools and use around the world," says Metrolinx spokesman Mark Osler. "As well, the meetings are also serving an educational purpose to help inform people across the region about the Big Move as a whole."

The first two of 12 scheduled meetings were held last week in Oakville and Newmarket. Organized in a collection of tables, at each of which one aspect of the subject of transit and funding is being discussed, the meetings are a chance for people to learn about what’s going on, ask Metrolinx staff and their consultants questions, and discuss issues amongst themselves. To help this along, Metrolinx has hired Mass LPB to put together "conversation kits" that are being handed out at these sessions to kick start discussions.

Osler describes the kits as, "concise information packages about the Big Move itself. They’ve also got profiles of other major transit systems around the world, stuff like Vancouver, Montreal, New York, and Chicago. It also does have some information on funding tools that other regions use around the world. It’s got also a series of maps of some of the projects we’ve got on the go or we’re planning."

Attendees can take these kits home with them.

The next meeting takes place Jan. 26 in Georgetown at the Gellert Community Centre in Kinsman Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. Downtown Toronto’s meeting will be held Feb. 9 at room 308 of Metro Hall between 1 and 3 p.m.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mark Osler

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Construct Canada learns how to build urban nodes

Yonge and Sheppard is good, King Street West is bad, and Peanut Plaza is worse.

That's the conclusion reached by a panel of experts who spoke recently at Construct Canada, the annual convention and trade show for builders, designers and others in the construction trades.

The talk was on urban nodes, and the talk focused on what can go right, what can go wrong and what the most valuable qualities are in the planning, construction and maintenance of urban nodes, those little slices of urbanity that together make up the modern agglomerated city.

The panel consisted of Clifford Korman and David Butterworth, both of Kirkor Architects, and Ward 33's Councillor Shelley Carroll. It was moderated by yours truly in my capacity as Yonge Street Media's development editor.

Integration of live and work space was of paramount importance to Korman, whose firm is behind several of the city's biggest new live-work developments, including the Hullmark Centre and the World on Yonge. He also stressed the importance of easy and reliable access to transportation. Carroll offered this as a major reason the King West strip does not work as well as it should, with its oversubscribed streetcars making rush-hour commutes difficult. Butterworth added that the quality of architecture along King West was disappointing, noting that good looking and architecturally well functioning neighbourhoods tends to be happier and more vibrant ones.

The area around Peanut Plaza, a 1960s slab development in the heart of Carroll's ward, was declared a right-off by Korman and Carroll due to the separation of towers from the local amenities by the Don Mills Road thoroughfare, though Butterworth praised the simplicity and durability of the slab construction. Carroll agreed that she has found it much less expensive to renovate and retrofit the towers.

Everyone agreed that the developing node at Yonge and Sheppard is a model for the future, with its access to two subway lines, major thoroughfares and a highway. And Kirkor's own Hullmark Centre, currently under development there, incorporates a large park in the form of a green roof, condos and office space in the same complex, as well as a large grocery store. Carroll noted that when she drives through the neighbourhood these days, she notices masses of pedestrians that weren’t there five years ago, a sure sign of a successful node.

Writer: Bert Archer
Sources: Shelley Carroll, Clifford Korman, David Butterworth

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Eglinton Corridor talks continue with high profile speaker

One of the men behind Le Tramway in Paris and the Moscow LRT expansion is giving a talk on Wednesday, November 28 about how the Eglinton Crosstown could transform our city.

Antoine Grumbach, a Paris architect whose work also includes a hotel for Euro Disney, will give a free public lecture at the North Toronto Collegiate Institute.

"The expected value of this talk is to hear about Mr. Grumbach's work in other cities such as Paris and Moscow, and to learn how similar transit investments have had a positive impact on the city at every scale, both city wide and local," says Lorna Day, the city's project manager for the Eglinton Crosstown Planning Study. "We hope to gain specific direction about public realm elements and built form."

Antoine Grumbach and Associates have been hired by the city as consultants on what's known as the Crosstown Collaborative, along with Brook McIlroy and Planning Alliance.

This event is a continuation of a long-term public education and consultation process that began last spring with a series of public open houses.

Doors open at 6:30pm. The talk begins at 7:30pm.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Lorna Day

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

New Don East footbridge completed

A little rickety wooden footbridge that's been a focus of interest for Ward 26 residents has been replaced.

"The replacement of the former wooden walkway with a new steel walkway was declared substantially complete today," project manager Bruce Tisdale wrote this week in a note to Ward 26 councillor John Parker.

"The walkway was open to the public this afternoon. Some minor restoration in the form of hydro seeding the sides of the walkway approaches and sodding of an area beside the east approach will be completed by November 23rd. Temporary six-foot-high barrier fencing has been installed on the water side of the walkway approaches and will be replaced with a permanent wooden post and paddle barrier by November 30th."

The old footbridge had been there since 1986 and according to Tisdale, had reached the end of its useful life. The new walkway is built of self-weathering COR-TEN steel, with an anti-slip  deck and a hand rail.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Councillor John Parker, Bruce Tisdale

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

135 Transportation Articles | Page: | Show All
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