Cleaning up and greening the area's streets is making the Port Lands more visually appealing and welcoming.
In April 2005, Waterfront Toronto along with the three orders of government announced a $10.5 million investment and plans for greening the Port Lands and improving public access to the area’s lakefront. This project includes work to improve the key gateways in the area such as Unwin Avenue, Leslie, Cherry and Commissioners streets, all of which are the major corridors that connect the city with the Port Lands and the primary routes that lead to a future Lake Ontario Park.
Cleaning up and greening these streets is making the Port Lands more visually appealing and welcoming, and is helping to improve air quality and reduce noise from local industry. The work includes creating better and safer pedestrian and cycling access. In addition to improving public access, making it more welcoming and drawing more people to the waterfront, these investments in the Port Lands “green infrastructure” will ultimately enhance the overall value of the area and make it more attractive for future investment.
The Leslie Street Greening project is creating a generous green corridor connecting the neighbourhoods to the north of Lake Shore Boulevard to the Port Lands and its emerging park system including Tommy Thompson Park and the future Lake Ontario Park. The improvements to Leslie Street will run from Lake Shore Boulevard to Unwin Avenue, and include rebuilding the existing Martin Goodman Trail, the introduction of continuous sidewalks along both sides of Leslie Street, the addition of trees, shrubs and ground cover to create an attractive and safe, landscaped corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists and in-line skaters. The enhancements also feature bio-swales - landscape elements designed to remove sediment and pollution from surface runoff water for the drainage of the roadway.
Completed in 2007, phase one of the work included the west side of Leslie Street between Lake Shore Boulevard and Commissioners Street and the eastern frontage south of Commissioners.
Completed in July 2010, phase two of Leslie Street Greening consisted of infrastructure works on Leslie Street from Commissioners Street to Unwin Avenue at the entrace to Tommy Thompson Park, including improvements and extensive landscaping to Martin Goodman Trail, new sidewalks and stormwater management with bio-swales.
Phase two also included the redesign of the Commissioners Street intersection with new traffic lights, the redesign of City Works yard frontage and improved fencing and entrances to the Allotment Gardens.
Unwin Avenue is the main east-west street south of the Ship Channel and is the northern edge of the future Lake Ontario Park. Currently the street is characterized by derelict buildings, garbage and chain link fences. Improvements to Unwin Avenue include demolishing buildings and storage tanks, moving fences back from the street edges, tree planting and additional landscaping. Additionally, environmental cleanup work is being undertaken.
In 2009, improvement were made to the intersection of Cherry Street and Commissioners Streets to improve the safety of the crossings and to improve the appearance of the intersection. The project included the installation of traffic signals and a pedestrian-only signal crossing of the Martin Goodman Trail across Cherry Street. Medians were added at the intersection and landscaping was undertaken on the publicly-owned corners, and on the Cherry Street medians.