Tag Archives: Toronto

Toronto proposes massive new ‘Rail Deck Park’ in city’s downtown

Toronto Mayor John Tory and Councillor Joe Cressy last week announced a plan to build a new, 21-acre park above Metrolinx tracks in the city’s downtown core.

To protect the rail corridor and build the park, the city will have to secure air rights in the area and create a plan amendment to ensure the space is developed for public use only, according to a press release issued by Tory’s office.

The city would create the park by decking over the corridor, which would create a “marquee green space” for the high-density surrounding neighborhoods and help connect the city to its waterfront, the release stated.

The park would be similar to Chicago’s Millennium Park and New York City’s Hudson Yards development, both of which transformed rail corridors into “iconic spaces,” according to Tory’s release.

“Great cities have great parks. As Toronto grows, we need to take bold action to create public space and make sure we build a city that makes future generations proud,” Tory said. “This is our last chance to secure a piece of land that could transform the way we experience our city.”

The initiative is part of Toronto’s TOCore project, which is a response to the rapid development of the city’s downtown.

No clear timeline or cost for the project has been determined as of yet, according to a CBC News report.

Former TTC chair Giambrone named director of NYC streetcar project

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has hired Adam Giambrone to serve as director of the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar project.

In the role, he’ll oversee the project while focusing on aspects such as system planning, technical analysis and community outreach, city spokesman Austin Finan said in an email.New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has hired Adam Giambrone to serve as director of the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar project.

In the role, he’ll oversee the project while focusing on aspects such as system planning, technical analysis and community outreach, city spokesman Austin Finan said in an email.

From 2006 to 2010, Giambrone chaired the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), where he pushed for a plan to build a network of new streetcar routes in Toronto, according to CBC News. Most elements of the plan were later scrapped when Rob Ford was elected mayor in 2010.

Currently, TTC operates 50 miles of streetcar lines.

“The BQX will be the first streetcar to ply New York City streets in roughly 70 years, and having someone with hands-on experience from North America’s largest streetcar system will be valuable as we undertake the project,” Finan said.

Funding for the $2.5 billion, 16-mile BQX project has not yet been secured. During his “State of the City” address in February, de Blasio unveiled his plan to build the streetcar.
From 2006 to 2010, Giambrone chaired the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), where he pushed for a plan to build a network of new streetcar routes in Toronto, according to CBC News. Most elements of the plan were later scrapped when Rob Ford was elected mayor in 2010.

Currently, TTC operates 50 miles of streetcar lines.

“The BQX will be the first streetcar to ply New York City streets in roughly 70 years, and having someone with hands-on experience from North America’s largest streetcar system will be valuable as we undertake the project,” Finan said.

Funding for the $2.5 billion, 16-mile BQX project has not yet been secured. During his “State of the City” address in February, de Blasio unveiled his plan to build the streetcar.

TTC to open Leslie Barns streetcar maintenance facility

The Toronto Transit Commission  officially open its Leslie Barns streetcar maintenance and storage facility.

The nearly 280,000-square-foot building features a “green” roof, a streetcar simulator training room, numerous storage tracks, a substation and a stormwater management pond. The facility has 30 streetcar service bays and will provide maintenance for TTC’s entire fleet of 204 streetcars.

The agency began operations at the new facility in November 2015.

The city, Ontario and Canadian governments funded the facility’s construction.

Toronto Transit Commission logged record ridership in 2015

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) logged a ridership of 537 million passenger trips in 2015, an all-time record.

The figure surpassed the previous year’s record total of 534.8 million, agency officials announced Tuesday. The TTC’s ridership has increased each year for the past 12 years.

Additionally, the agency’s subway system logged 229 million customer trips in 2015. The Line 1 Yonge-University Station in Toronto was the agency’s busiest, serving an estimated 216,200 customers each day.

In 2015, the TTC’s highest single-day ridership occurred on Nov. 27, when the agency served 1.86 million customers.

For 2016, TTC is projecting an annual ridership of 553 million.

Toronto Transit Commission unveils 2016 customer charter, pledges to reduce subway delays

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) last week released its 2016 customer charter that includes pledges to reduce train delays and enable WiFi at more stations.

The charter has a total of 35 “time-bound” commitments aimed at improving customer experience, TTC officials said in a press release.

Under the charter, the agency will provide additional train service on subway Line 1 to reduce delays during off-peak hours, make WiFi available at 32 additional stations, and run accessible vehicles along three streetcar routes.

By the fourth quarter, TTC plans to reduce subway delays by 10 percent, according to the charter.

Additionally, the agency plans to enable its entire system to accept PRESTO fare payments, which use smart-card technology to store funds in a secure account.

Every year, the TTC’s customer charter makes a list of customer service improvements and holds the agency accountable for fulfilling them.

Union Subway Station Completed and Full Artwork Unveiled

TTC CEO Andy Byford addressed a crowd of onlookers on the new ting over-capacity station, complete with a new art wall, ceramic tiling, improvements to circulation and pedestrian flow, and improved signage.

TorontoSubway

 

Coteau stressed the importance of the newly expanded station for the economy and tourism of the city, as it opens just in time for the Pan Am Games. The new station will greatly increase capacity for the more than 100,000 daily subway passengers at Union, which featured one of the narrowest platforms in the TTC that had changed little since its construction in 1954. “The new concourse and second platform at Union Station will provide TTC customers with a modern, convenient, and less-crowded subway station for their commute,” stated TTC Chair Josh Colle. “Our customers deserve modern and convenient facilities and we are working hard to deliver that.”

In an enthusiastic speech, Byford praised the project as an important step in the modernization of the new-look TTC, and a major milestone for public transit in Toronto. Calling the project a “feat of engineering”, Byford stressed the difficulties of carrying out construction while maintaining regular service and safety, and proudly stated that the project was on time and on budget. He further extended thanks to the TTC passengers for their patience and loyalty during the commotion caused by the construction.

The centrepiece of the newly renovated station is Stuart Reid‘s 500-foot long artwork entitled Zones of Immersion, which he has developed over the past six years in conjunction with the glass manufacturer, Peters Studio in Germany, and the project architects, Stevens Group Architects / IBI Group Architects. Composed of 7-foot tall glass panels, the striking installation is a compilation of Reid’s sketches, notes, and observations taken while riding the subway. Black and white images alternating with splashes of colour are overlaid with snippets of text and poetry in a collage meant to evoke the experience of riding the subway. The aim, Reid explained, is to engage passengers to become more aware of their surroundings, and to point out the beauty of what he calls Toronto’s most used public space.

The images portray both the unpleasant and light-hearted in an effort to capture the essence of riding the subway where, as Reid points out, our private lives become public, and contribute to the urban life of the city. Reid explained that one challenge of conceptualizing the artwork was the fact that parts of it are visible from both sides, where one has to reconcile between the full length piece seen from the south platform and the ‘tableaus’ seen from the north platform. This leads to different considerations in the treatment of the glass and the composition of the images, as one has to manage the difference between light passing through and light being reflected. Another notable aspect, explains Reid, is that given the length of the piece, there is always something new to notice and discover, much like riding the subway itself. “It is phenomenal to finally see it done”, he exclaimed.

The new Union Subway Station platform is one of many big changes happening at the Toronto landmark, which is still undergoing major work with the Union Station Revitalization Project. Nevertheless, TTC commuters and visitors to the city can now enjoy the shiny new subway station with its dramatic art piece, and are finally free of the congestion that plagued the undersized platform over the past few decades.