The revitalization of Queens Quay requires not only a great vision but an extensive and rigorous environmental assessment process to test alternatives and obtain feedback.
A truly great waterfront begins with the transformation of Queens Quay, the waterfront’s main street. As the connecting spine for the waterfront, it spans 3.5 kilometres from Bathurst to Parliament streets.
The vision for Queens Quay that stemmed from the 2006 Central Waterfront Innovative Design Competition was bold and transformative. Realizing a project of this scale and importance required an extensive environmental assessment (EA) process to test alternatives and obtain public feedback.
In September 2007, co-proponents Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto initiated a Municipal Class EA to revitalize Queens Quay. The Queens Quay Revitalization EA focused on the stretch of Queens Quay between Bathurst and Yonge Streets.
A companion Transit Environmental Assessment was undertaken by TTC to assess opportunities for extending transit east from Union Station to the waterfront.
The technically recommended alternative for Queens Quay reduces the number of lanes of traffic on the street from four to two. It provides two lanes of east-west traffic on the north side with transit in the centre and an extended Martin Goodman Trail and pedestrian promenade on the south side.
Extensive traffic studies show that reducing traffic to two lanes along Queens Quay is feasible and that it will be able to accommodate current and future traffic demands. In addition, it allows for dedicated transit on the south side of the street with a continuous off-street Martin Goodman Trail to fill in the current gap in the Waterfront Trail along Lake Ontario.
This approach also allows for wider pedestrian boulevards (approximately six metres on the south side of the four-metre Martin Goodman Trail and three metres between the Martin Goodman Trail and the streetcar tracks). These pedestrian spaces feature a vastly enhanced landscape including a double row of trees along the waterside and improvements to the sidewalk and landscaping along the north side of Queens Quay. Currently, there is approximately two to three metres of sidewalk along the north and south sides of Queens Quay.
Public outreach for this project far exceeded the Municipal Class EA statutory requirements. Public consultation was a critical part of the decision-making process. Over the course of the project, three public meetings and one drop-in centre were held with between 250 – 500 participants attending each. Stakeholder meetings were conducted at key milestones and more than fifty focused landowner meetings were held as specific site issues arose.
During the EA, the project team solicited ideas and feedback from stakeholders and the general public and worked diligently to address concerns and issues. As the project moves forward, public consultation will continue to be a key part of the process.
The Queens Quay Revitalization EA was conducted under Schedule C of the Municipal Class EA process. It followed a formal process which included data collection, the development of a problem statement and the identification and analysis of several different alternative planning solutions and design concepts. The assessment of design alternatives was undertaken jointly by the project proponents. Throughout the process, the potential environmental, social, cultural, and economic impacts and benefits of each alternative were assessed.
The Environmental Study Report (ESR) documents the evaluation and decision making process used to reach the recommendations of the study. Read the ESR report.