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Old August 18th, 2016, 12:19 AM   #21
isaidso
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I'd be surprised if this proposal isn't realized. The downtown population is expected to almost double from 250,000 to 475,000 over the next 25 years. We're already scrambling to secure space for parks and squares for the current population. Decking the rail lines represents our only option to significantly boost green space in the core. Getting this done is critical and it can't happen soon enough.

I wouldn't be surprised to see it eventually decked on the east side of Union as well. I will miss the trains but this is more important.
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Old August 18th, 2016, 12:44 AM   #22
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If this happens I would would be pretty surprised if they built only greenspace over the tracks and nothing else. I think it would need some kind of housing/mixed use component to go forward, but then again I don't know much about Toronto politics.
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Old August 18th, 2016, 01:52 AM   #23
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It's my understanding that it will all be public space with no housing or mixed use. The City needs to buy the air rights from the railways and deal with a multitude of other issues but apparently the process is already under way. Due to the complexity and scale of the project we're likely looking at 6-8 years to completion.
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Old August 24th, 2016, 04:26 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
I'd be surprised if this proposal isn't realized. The downtown population is expected to almost double from 250,000 to 475,000 over the next 25 years. We're already scrambling to secure space for parks and squares for the current population. Decking the rail lines represents our only option to significantly boost green space in the core. Getting this done is critical and it can't happen soon enough.

I wouldn't be surprised to see it eventually decked on the east side of Union as well. I will miss the trains but this is more important.
How would such a project be funded? If its anything like our experience, it will cost billions if not offset by commercial development to go with the green space.
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Old August 24th, 2016, 05:51 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Alphaville View Post
How would such a project be funded? If its anything like our experience, it will cost billions if not offset by commercial development to go with the green space.
People understand that this is one of those necessary infrastructure investments so there's political will to get it done. That's half the battle right there. Commercial developments will offset some of the cost but this will need funding from all 3 levels of government: city, provincial, federal.

I imagine they'll be closely studying what was done in Chicago, Melbourne, and a few other cities that have decked their rail lines.
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Last edited by isaidso; August 24th, 2016 at 05:58 AM.
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Old September 17th, 2016, 12:12 PM   #26
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The last paragraph in this article is worrying. If we need another 633 acres of parkland in the core to meet the population explosion coming and this 'huge' park is only 21 acres there's no way the City can meet that goal. It was mentioned that expanding this park to the Skydome would mean a 30 acre park. Mirroring this on the east side of Union Station would get us to 60 acres?

Getting to 200 acres around the core will be hard. 633 acres will be impossible.

An artists impression


Quote:
Rail deck park could cost at least $1.05 billion

To achieve the Mayor John Tory-backed vision of a 21-acre park decked over the downtown rail corridor, city staff estimated it will cost at least $1.05 billion to build.

That is a very preliminary estimate ahead of engineering work and a feasibility study for a massive signature park the mayor has staked his name on. That does not include the cost of purchasing the necessary air rights over the corridor from various rail companies.

The staff report to Tory’s executive committee, which meets next week, found that a park stretching 850 metres from Bathurst St. to Blue Jays Way is technically feasible. Staff have yet to do any detailed work on the exact costs or how to pay for it.

The downtown core has been identified by staff as one of the most park-deficient areas of the city, with the population expected to double from 200,000 in 2011 to 475,000 in 2041. Staff say that in order to keep up with the desired level of parkland in the core, the city would need to acquire 633 new acres of parkland — or 1.5 times the size of High Park.
Full article: https://www.thestar.com/news/city_ha...5-billion.html
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Last edited by isaidso; September 17th, 2016 at 12:24 PM.
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Old September 17th, 2016, 07:00 PM   #27
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I wonder if it's possible to expand into the lake.
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Old September 18th, 2016, 01:57 AM   #28
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The original shoreline is where the old Toronto Harbour Commission building, One York, and Harbour Plaza stand (in the red rectangle). Leslie Spit is reclaimed land as well.

When they re-develop Moss Park they should remove all buildings currently in the park (swimming pool, rink) as well as the armouries. They could make that park something special if those buildings were re-located to the perimeter or close by. If you look at the aerial they could make a very big park if they tore down those decrepit social housing blocks to the east. They'd need to appropriate a few other buildings but this is the last best opportunity besides the rail decking.

Original Shore line used to be where Harbour Plaza is


Moss Park
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Last edited by isaidso; September 18th, 2016 at 02:07 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2016, 03:30 AM   #29
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Despite all the issues central Halifax still has to worry about, at least this is one problem we don't have.
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Old September 18th, 2016, 06:08 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Despite all the issues central Halifax still has to worry about, at least this is one problem we don't have.
I never appreciated parks/public space when I lived there but it's one area that Halifax does much better than Toronto. Toronto is terrible at it, both in quantity and quality. Toronto has built quite a few new parks/public spaces but most of them are just weird, unappealing, or unrefined.

I do like Sugar Beach.
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Last edited by isaidso; September 18th, 2016 at 06:14 AM.
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Old September 22nd, 2016, 09:15 PM   #31
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At least there's High Park which is gorgeous and a great place to wander through, albeit removed from the core. Queens Park always struck me as pretty nice the times I have wandered through there and it's right downtown.

633 acres of new parkland needed? Wow...
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Old September 22nd, 2016, 09:44 PM   #32
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I'm not that familiar with Toronto local development but parkland is never "needed". It is desired. Also, I don't think the amount of parkland desired needs to scale lineally with the population in a dense core district. That's the kind of suburban almost-NIMBY ideology that we see often in Massachusetts with a high priority given to "open space" regardless of how useful it is. Generally if the parks are well-maintained, enable a variety of popular activities/programming, and are not overcrowded, then it should be fine. Priority should be given to developing a bustling urban core with a variety of activities to do, including, but not exclusively, those in parks. Dead parks add little additional value to an urban core.

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Old September 22nd, 2016, 10:47 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaricManchurian View Post
but parkland is never "needed". It is desired.
That may technically be true, but green space is hugely beneficial to urban dwellers.

Take this study excerpt, for example:

"Researchers at the University of Exeter looked at 18 years of data covering almost 10,000 U.K. citizens living in urban areas.

In relative terms, living in a greener area was associated with mental health gains about 35 percent as significant as those one gets from being married. It was 12 percent as beneficial to mental health as employed.

In terms of "life satisfaction," the effect was equal to 28 percent that of being married and 21 percent that of being employed."
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar...income/275151/

Quote:
Also, I don't think the amount of parkland desired needs to scale lineally with the population in a dense core district. That's the kind of suburban almost-NIMBY ideology that we see often in Massachusetts with a high priority given to "open space" regardless of how useful it is.

Generally if the parks are well-maintained, enable a variety of popular activities/programming, and are not overcrowded, then it should be fine.
Agree that scaling it linearly to population seems like a crude measure. I think looking at population density and parks per unit area is more helpful because overcrowding and accessibility is the real problem. For example, Bryant Park here in NY is totally wonderful, but only when they aren't holding film screenings or random fairs or the ice rink, in which case people in the neighborhood would probably have to haul it over to one of the east side parks or even central park. For elderly or disabled people in particular, that's annoying.

Quote:
Priority should be given to developing a bustling urban core with a variety of activities to do, including, but not exclusively, those in parks. Dead parks add little additional value to an urban core.
True, but Toronto already has the bustling part covered. I don't know if any park downtown would just lie there dead and unused. On the other hand it seems there are even some parking lots nearby suggesting there's more latent demand than real demand in this neighborhood. But I'm not really familiar with the area so we'll see.
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Old September 22nd, 2016, 11:17 PM   #34
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I agree completely about the greenery. You should check Vincent Callebaut's project for the Botanic Center in Brussels which could capture around 50 tons of carbon dioxide every year and it will change colors in different seasons.
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Old September 22nd, 2016, 11:42 PM   #35
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I don't think City planners are calling for a linear increase in parkland to match population growth. The downtown green space we currently have is heavily used. Riverdale Park has so many sports teams trying to use it that there's not enough for everyone that wants to use it. In the summer it's like that every day. One has to leave the core and travel quite far to find space and even there it's often difficult to get space.

Queen's Park and the ravines are the exception. Despite being downtown, Queens Park feels quite isolated. There's not much foot traffic close by and the ring road around it doesn't help. People seem oblivious to the ravines as they're hidden from view and entrances to them aren't obvious. Steps are being made to fix that. Neither Queens Park or the ravines sit empty though. Centre Island is heavily used but it's not downtown and one needs a ferry to get to it. High Park isn't downtown either but that's heavily used as well. New public space we build instantly overflows with people. Dundas Square being the best example of that. It's testament to pent up demand and not enough supply to meet it.

If we're already maxing out the parkland/public squares, the doubling of the downtown population by 2041 means we have to act with a sense of urgency. Lots are rapidly being sold for high rise development so the window of opportunity is closing. Toronto consistently ranks in the top 5 in global city livability indices. We won't stay there unless we invest heavily in infrastructure to meet the new demands being placed on the city by a mushrooming population.

When I moved to London UK the lack of easily accessible parkland in the core was a big negative for me. Regents Park and Hyde Park can be a bit of a trek and the tiny bits of green elsewhere were over flowing with people. It's not something I want repeated in Toronto but that's precisely where we'll end up if we don't take action now.

Btw, the area adjacent to the proposed rail deck hasn't been built out yet. There are some parking lots/brown fields but proposals exist for every stitch of it. Thousands of new people will call that corridor home within the next 5-6 years.
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Last edited by isaidso; September 23rd, 2016 at 12:03 AM.
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Old September 23rd, 2016, 03:02 AM   #36
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Also having a chasm splitting the city in two isn't a good thing.
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Old November 6th, 2016, 08:03 PM   #37
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Update

- Council voted 38-0 in favour of studying Rail Deck Park.
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Old November 6th, 2016, 08:37 PM   #38
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That is a very interesting proposal! Letīs hope it becomes true...
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Old May 25th, 2017, 01:43 AM   #39
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A new vision: ORCA Project
Quote:
In a new submission made to the City of Toronto, an Official Plan Amendment calls for the north end of the rail corridor to be redeveloped with eight high-rise towers, while just over half of the lot—some 12.8 acres—would devoted to a new public park on the south half of the site.
http://urbantoronto.ca/news/2017/05/...rail-deck-park









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Old May 25th, 2017, 02:28 AM   #40
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