Metrolinx will be conducting a vibration test to see if the tracks should be padded to reduce rumbling in the neighbourhood. Seven tests of about five minutes each will be performed over the next week in three locations around Weston.
Mount Dennis will be getting “ballast mats”—rubbery mats that line the track bed to absorb some of the rumbling. Perhaps if I can get than nincompoop who parks outside my house with his stereo on to head down to Church Street at the right time next week, we’ll get ballast mats too.
In other construction news, Metrolinx will be undertaking another series of ‘continuous pours’. The pours are required to ensure the concrete sets as one slab. More cement trucks than usual will be entering and leaving, and some construction will be taking place during the night
The Kodak lands at Black Creek Drive and Eglinton have sat empty for many years. Speculation regarding the future of this property has been a constant since Kodak sold it to developers Metrus for $19.5 million in 2006. Metrus sat on the property until 2012 then sold it for a cool $48 million to Metrolinx (yes, we’re all in the wrong business). When an announcement finally came about developing the property, many residents were dismayed to learn that plans were to make it the home of a maintenance and storage facility (MSF) for light-rail vehicles that will (Ford brothers permitting) be using the Eglinton LRT Crosstown Line.
The Kodak recreation building.
Metrolinx sees Mount Dennis and specifically the Kodak lands as a future transit hub that will provide links to GO, the U.P. Express and the crosstown line. Their vision includes an LRT line incorporating the old Kodak Recreation building and the Scotiabank building at Weston and Eglinton as well as new parkland and the contentious storage facility. The Toronto Star has an article that dwells on the heritage aspects of the site.
Once citizens heard of the new plans for the site, many were dismayed by the stark vision offered by what seemed to be a marshalling yard. Instead of generating jobs and perhaps providing parkland and a retail component, the site seemed destined to have a grim future. Protests were registered resulting in Toronto’s Executive Committee updating a series of ‘principles’ that were passed by the full council yesterday (October 8th). These principles can be summarized as follows:
Consider a broad range of uses for the site rather than just an MSF.
Minimize the land used by the MSF while maximizing development elsewhere.
Seek further input from a broader section of the community.
If future MSF needs decrease, explore appropriate alternative uses.
Preserve existing ‘employment lands’ especially along Industry Drive.
Use innovative ways of accommodating grade differentials of the site.
Create seamless transitions between the site and adjacent areas.
Employ professionals to use excellence in design throughout.
Preserve and incorporate the Kodak recreation building and the Scotiabank premises at Weston and Eglinton into plans for the site.
These changes have been effected through direct citizen involvement in the political process. With a civic election due next year, now is an ideal time to keep applying the pressure. Although Metrolinx is fond of telling everyone they are a provincial agency and not obliged to listen, the Liberals are in no position to have another contentious issue on their plates.
Metrolinx will be doing two more of its big pours over the next two days. The continuous concrete pours are to create a one-piece foundation for the Weston tunnel, and are, surprisingly, quite low key affairs considering the scale of the procedure. Still, there will be increased traffic of cement trucks and gawking boys around Windall and John streets.
The pouring began around 1 in the morning today and will end tomorrow at 7 pm.
A landmark at a familiar and painful bottleneck is gone. The old Weston Road bridge dated from 1924 and was a familiar sight for generations. According to Metrolinx, it was demolished because of its ‘age and poor condition’. It certainly won no prizes for architectural beauty. Watch the Metrolinx time-lapse video of its destruction which took place on September 7th and 8th.
The proposed noise walls along the rail corridor are generating a lot of opposition further downtown. Some opponents, such as NDP MPP Rosario Marchese, say the noise walls wouldn’t even be necessary if the trains were electric, citing the example of other cities. Others say that ‘green walls’, which would include living plants, would do.
Residents and groups say that Metrolinx is not engaging in real consultation. InsideToronto got a astonishingly tone-deaf comment from one of the architects of the proposed walls:
“There’s no public opposition, we have been on this project for six months and the majority of people really love the designs,” said Kovacevic, a landscape architect, following the meeting.
“You only heard one view tonight.”
The walls Kovacevic has designed will be huge: 5 metres tall in most places. Except in highly trafficked areas, they will be, well, plain old ugly, too: big concrete slabs, as the video says, not unlike the Gaza or Berlin walls.
Awesome photo from the good people at InsideToronto.
Weston tunnel continues to progress and is remarkably deep as the size of the workers in the photo shows. This view is looking north, just west of King. A layer of trademark Weston shale can be seen on the sides and floor of the tunnel.
Looking further down, the finished floor on which the rail bed will be constructed is visible.
Looking east down the tunnel. King Street is closed at this point.
Metrolinx staff at the community office (44 King Street) conduct regular walking tours. The next one is scheduled on September 19th at 5pm, although groups can arrange tours at other times and dates by calling Rawle or Loretta at 416-241-2300. The starting locatioon at 44 King is easy to miss – it’s the trailer next to the tracks on the south side of King.
King is expected to be put back together again partially (for south-west traffic) at the end of September and completely later on in the fall. More details here.