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Bloor Annex BIA shows off new greening plan

Proposed parkette for Bloor in the Annex

Last week the Bloor Annex BIA unveiled its plans to green its patch of Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst.
The initiative will create four parkettes on city-owned rights-of-way, replace the existing raised tree planter with trees at sidewalk level and increase the amount of bike parking along the street. More than 100 people attended the open house and provided feedback on the preliminary designs that landscape architects dtah have been working on since last spring. The plan, 10 years in the making and expected to cost about $1.5 million, started with a growing frustration with the concrete tree planter boxes on Bloor.
“It’s a very busy street, day and night, and these things just get in the way. The attract garbage, they’re unsightly and, this might be the strongest point of all, they don’t allow the trees to grow to maturity,” says Brian Burchell, chair of the BIA. “Various technologies have been developed in recent years where tree pits can be built that allow the root systems to expand where the tree itself can mature and we’re not constantly fighting with Toronto Forestry to get our trees replaced in the planter boxes.”
The parkettes will see asphalts ripped up and replaced by long-lasting wood decking, seating made from Canadian granite, trees and planting that are pollinator-friendly for bees, birds and butterflies.
After going through the feedback from last week’s open house, the designers will come up with more detailed plans on where the trees and the bike parking will go, and what the parkettes will look like. Those plans will be presented to the public in the fall before they are submitted for approval by city engineers by the end of the year; shovels should go in the ground in 2018.
With the city considering approval of a Bloor bike lane pilot project this month, the new bicycle parking seems particularly timely. But Burchell says the improvements are needed just to meet current demands. “In peak usage of cycling, you can’t find a place to park your bike. It’s a problem,” he says.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source Brian Burchell
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