[2014-05-29 - Edited to better reflect the ongoing discussions on this issue with-in the Ward 30 Bikes group]
Ward 30 Bikes attended the South of Eastern Strategic Direction Planning Public Consultation meeting at Ralph Thornton Centre, Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
About 60 people participated including 3 members of Ward 30 Bikes. This meeting came right on the heels of our Active Transportation Stakeholder meeting with the Study Team last Thursday - where we went into fine detail about our concerns with regard to building connecting Greenways north-south & east-west through the South of Eastern Study area, Broadview - Eastern - Coxwell - Lake Shore Boulevard.
Lots of talk at the Public Consultation Meeting about Eastern Avenue.
With proposed and projected developments in the area, we are at a stage where we will either lose the Eastern Avenue Bike Lane - or expand it so it goes the distance and also connects neighbourhoods.
One table at the Public Consultation Tuesday evening came up with a brilliant idea: Creating Filtered-Accesses at Queen/Kingston and at Eastern/Broadview - to prevent the roadway from being used as an commute alternate to the Lake Shore Boulevard (LSB). In other words - making Easter Ave a Neighbourhood Street rather than a Scarborough/Downtown suburban commute choice.
Also much talk about the Great Gulf plan for the old Lever site which proposes a new downtown core there - with 3 million square foot of office tower floor space.
(Which this Ward 30 Bikes member believes would be the beginning of the end of the residential character of the South Riverdale, Riverside and Leslieville neighbourhoods - and would very likely lead to high-rise development in the Port Lands as well ... a place for the 'Big Pool of Money' to expand that high-rise Lake Front development that they have going on in the West-Lake-Front-Core - now possibly expanding East.)
As well we talked about the character of the other proposed development in the study area - the StudioCentre with it's retention of the Film Studios - but also adding 1,100-2,400 parking spaces stack in three stories above glass facades that will serve a 10 story Hotel as well as a Big Box Store sized square footage of "Flex Space" --- which some interpret as a, 'WalMart by any other name').
In this "Liveable Cities" advocate's opinion, the idea of Filtering Access to Eastern Avenue is a great idea. Eastern could become a "Green Buffer" between the employment district and the neighbourhoods to the north of it.
We image lots of connections through the study area north-south to the new Port Lands neighbourhoods - and a 'Calmed' Eastern Avenue --- with Mass Transit, Green Spaces, Wider sidewalks, Narrower traffic lanes, Bump Outs at many corners, Pedestrian Crossings (especially at the chicanes at Rushbrooke and Woodfield), and Separated Bike Lanes from Queen/Kingston to Broadview ...
.. And then, east-west up and over the Don Valley Parkway and the Don River - either by a radical reconfiguration of the Eastern Avenue Bridge (re: Highway Overpass 'Death-Ramp') or via a Pedestrian/Cyclist Fly-Over Bridge at Sunlight Park Rd that uses the existing unused Bridge over the river as a landing point for a two-arc fly-over that will connect South Riverdale to the new Corktown Common Park - and the Lower Don Trail connection there (through the new tunnel under the rail right-of-way at the eastern mid-point of the Park ... The Corktown Common Park is gorgeous by the way - check it out!).
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