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City

New pedestrian bridge to connect PATH to waterfront

Posted by Derek Flack / August 15, 2014

pedestrian bridge PATH TorontoThe PATH is about to get a major southbound extension, connecting it to the city's waterfront for the first time. The second section of a pedestrian bridge, which has already been assembled, will be installed over Lake Shore Blvd. this weekend as progress continues on the development it will link to, RBC WaterPark Place. Designed by WZMH Architects, the understated structure will extend from just south of the Air Canada Centre under the Gardiner to 1 York Street. A third section spanning Harbour St. will be installed in September.

pedestrian bridge PATH TorontoThe bridge is yet another example of the development push southward in Toronto. A decade ago there wasn't even such a thing as "South Core," and now the area along the Gardiner is flush with high rise buildings. While long a home to condos, the strip to the north of Queens Quay is in the midst of a commercial boom with major retail space currently in the works as well. This pedestrian connection is ahead of the curve in part because RBC insisted that it be in place before it would move its Toronto operations southward was that the complex feature a PATH connection. That's good for everybody.

What do you think? Will infrastructure help make the waterfront more accessible or will the massive developments further block the city from the harbour?

Discussion

54 Comments

Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:41 am
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Would prefer to see that money go to building a bridge to Toronto island Airport for vehicular traffic.
gdot replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:45 am
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Yeah, no thanks!
TJ replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:47 am
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I believe the most (if not all) the money is coming from the developers who want the path to connect to their retail.

A bridge for vehicular traffic would cost 100 times more and it would be public money.
Al replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:48 am
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A retractable footbridge over the Eastern Gap would be nice, but we don't need vehicles on the Island.
W. K. Lis replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:50 am
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By "vehicular traffic" you mean bicycles, strollers, wheelchairs?
AS replying to a comment from Al / August 15, 2014 at 08:53 am
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I agree - a foot/bike bridge over the Eastern Gap would be amazing.
Mark replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:03 am
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Not a bad idea would make it easier to get to and from the airport as well as making it more accessible for people with disabilities
Bubba replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:04 am
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I would prefer to see that money go to burying the island airport in lake ontario,

yeah that's right, sink that sucker right to the very bottom.
Dan replying to a comment from TJ / August 15, 2014 at 09:06 am
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I am sure that this would be a project that westjet and porter would be happy to fund. Also think about the jobs we would create for people who would be constructing and maintaining the bridge as well as help out our local taxi drivers who are losing business because of the train which will start running to Pearson
Dan replying to a comment from Bubba / August 15, 2014 at 09:10 am
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I dont understand you airport hating folk.... the island airport is a great asset to the city and we should do what we can to help expand it. This city needs another major airport
Neca replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:28 am
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haha thats actually such a good idea, i never understood why we dont have a bridge to get there its so close to shore. I am sure we could actually just fill in the space between the land and the airport
McRib / August 15, 2014 at 09:28 am
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I hate to go against the grain here and actually comment on the subject of the article, but its a great idea for a pedestrian-only bridge that spans Lakeshore. Crossing underneath the Gardiner and across 8 or so lanes of road sucks. With the move of more businesses to the south core area, it will be doubly needed in a couple years as pedestrians will rival cars for numbers.

now you may continue discussing the fucking airport.
Marc replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:31 am
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They're already building a tunnel to the airport. Can't you just park on the other side and walk?

Do you hate walking? What's with the hate-on for walking, dan?
iSkyscraper / August 15, 2014 at 09:33 am
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Hot stuff. PATH is one of the city's best assets, good to see it continue to expand. This connection is a big deal. Not sure how it with weather under the Gardiner (and one hope it does not fall on it), plus skywalks are sort of a no-no in urban planning these days, but there is a need and it will be appreciated. And no cost to the city to boot.

MoMo / August 15, 2014 at 09:35 am
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connect it to ripleys aquarium and let the fish swim to the lake through it so the can be free and everyone will be happy
hoc replying to a comment from McRib / August 15, 2014 at 09:36 am
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Awesome McRib, well put!
Ginger / August 15, 2014 at 09:38 am
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I wonder if by building these pedestrian bridges we can increase the speed limits on and get rid of some lights on lakeshore to get traffic moving
Angela / August 15, 2014 at 09:50 am
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good thing they built this now i wont get dirty crossing under the gardiner and i hate going outside there is bugs, rain and its cold in the winter.

Airport might not have the space to have cars driving up to it so i am not sure it would work unless they built some sort of parking lot - just my 2 pennies
greatsandwich replying to a comment from McRib / August 15, 2014 at 09:54 am
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Great comment, as someone who crosses all of that traffic daily for work I agree fully.

With poorly timed traffic lights at Lakeshore and Bay there are at most times between 10 and 30 people standing on a tiny little plot of sidewalk while traffic on 4 lanes whizzes by. Last year there was a terrible accident at this location that took out a few pedestrians.

The city in the interest of public safety until this project is complete should adjust traffic light times - but I guess with the Gardiner above being a mess they have tried to throw drivers a bone and let that light be extended. Pedestrians be damned.

I welcome the new bridge and streamlined connection to the PATH - when its -20 I'll be even happier.
SteveM replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 09:56 am
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Personally, I'm pro-Island airport, but I don't think a vehicle traffic bridge to it is what's needed. A pedestrian bridge/tunnel? Absolutely.
BlogTOrules / August 15, 2014 at 10:07 am
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I tried to predict in advance what the complaint would be about this - wow didn't see the airport link discussion coming - well done BlogTO commentors - thanks for keeping it fresh.

Very cool bridge - I thought it was years away - Amazing!
KW / August 15, 2014 at 10:19 am
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Terrible design. Another pimple on the face of TO!

Oxford should up their design standards... but I guess this glass tunnel goes with their "Understated"/cheap design for Waterpark Place II. Another lost opportunity by the City to push for something interesting/icon. See Calgary's Calatrava Peace bridge.
Todd Toronto replying to a comment from KW / August 15, 2014 at 10:43 am
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Toronto architecture is hardly ever good - that ship has sailed. We should celebrate the functionality of the bridge instead.

For nostalgia purposes, I wish it were orange (CN Tower/Weber's bridge).
Don / August 15, 2014 at 10:44 am
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It's great to see the push of the PATH to the south of Lakeshore. There aren't any real routes to the waterfront by PATH.

This is obviously being developed by private dollars, too - very little of the PATH was/is constructed or maintained with public dollars (except maybe City Hall).

Looking forward to seeing it open.
Don / August 15, 2014 at 10:46 am
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And on the subject of the Island Airport: I'm a big supporter of the downtown airport. But we've buried the bridge over and over again - and now literally, with a pedestrian tunnel. A bridge for cars wouldn't serve the airport's passengers, it better serves the air ambulances that can't land at downtown hospitals. Even then, that's not a crisis that's really real. There's no room for parking lots on the island, anyway. A tunnel - like the one being built now - is the best we're gonna get. Frankly, I'm OK with that. #PorterRules
neilson replying to a comment from KW / August 15, 2014 at 10:47 am
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it's just a coat of white paint on the webers bridge, what’s not to love?
milo / August 15, 2014 at 11:00 am
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this is SUCH a great thing.

I can't believe the number of turds here complaining about something FREE and GREAT.

I actually think everyone complaining is a bitter turd from sticks (places like Mississauga)
the lemur / August 15, 2014 at 11:10 am
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There's no real need to have a bridge for vehicles to the island airport and besides that, the western gap is still a functioning waterway, so any bridge across it would have to be movable.
Canadianskeezix replying to a comment from KW / August 15, 2014 at 11:10 am
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I actually think the design is decent. The portion already constructed looks good. Sometimes good design means blending in, and this glass bridge seems to accomplish that.

As for the comparison to Calgary's Peace Bridge - wow, talk about apples and oranges. That's a highly visible span at a key location crossing the Bow River. This pedestrian bridge in Toronto only extends over the road allowances (it is interrupted, and incorporated into buildings, at 90 Harbour), it extends under an elevated highway (and needed to be designed quite functionally to be able to be shifted sideways to enable work to be done on the underside of the Gardiner) and is rapidly being surrounded by new buildings. I don't disagree that we should always be looking for opportunities for iconic design, but this is not the place to be expending our efforts in that regard. They've done a nice design, without public money, and resources should be focused on other locations with way more bang for the buck that underneath the Gardiner.
Mike / August 15, 2014 at 11:17 am
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Great idea if the crumbling Gardiner wasn't such an issue. Fix that first, then build this bridge!
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Mike / August 15, 2014 at 11:37 am
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Mike, they actually anticipated the crapitude of the Gardiner in this new bridge. The whole thing slides over when the time inevitably comes to make further repairs to the roadway above.

Toronto: Where our infrastructure acknowledges our other awful infrastructure
Suicide_Boi / August 15, 2014 at 11:39 am
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Will this bridge be full of homeless people/charity beggars?

They have to go somewhere.
Canadianskeezix replying to a comment from Suicide_Boi / August 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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No more than any other portion of the PATH.
Moaz Ahmad / August 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm
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Good improvement. Anything is better than crossing Lake Shore at street level. The polluted air under the Gardiner is visibly brown.

South Core is why the DRL will probably run under Wellington and Front rather than King St.
Jedalus / August 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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I think the pedestrian bridge is great. It would have been nice if it went over the gardiner instead of under it, it would just make for a nicer walk. Though it would have costs more and require more climbing on either side. I just find on a nice day walking under train tracks then under the gardiner is enough to put me off making the hike from the core to the lake.
Teach your minds to multitask / August 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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What the hell does this have to do with the island airport? People who say: "I'd prefer to see that money spent on blah blah blah" have absolutely no idea how the real world works.
This is NOT tax money, and why should these developers divert their money to the airport? Toronto is a big city. More than one project can happen at a time. All other projects do not have to be cancelled in order to get something done. This isn't a village of 100 people wondering whether to spend the town's money on a stop sign, or a new swing for the school playground.

Learn to celebrate advances in this city instead of carping and complaining about every initiative. Old habits are hard to break, but as much fun as habitual complaining is, try and broaden your minds a bit.
GRAARG / August 15, 2014 at 01:10 pm
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Is nobody able to detect sarcasm? Is everyone actually German or something?

You may now continue to discuss Dan's opening remark.
The Shakes / August 15, 2014 at 01:11 pm
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Toronto could definitely use a few more pedestrian bridges. Shit i don't even care if they're not all covered and pretty like this one.
Spike replying to a comment from Teach your minds to multitask / August 15, 2014 at 01:18 pm
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That's ONE thing (among others) that people don't know how to do on this blog.
Spike replying to a comment from Jedalus / August 15, 2014 at 01:19 pm
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I walk under the train tracks to the Loblaws Queen's Quay location just fine, and without any problems.
@ GRAARG / August 15, 2014 at 01:43 pm
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Hey Dan, ermmm... I mean "GRAARG". Feeling a bit silly now about your opening remark, and hoping to pass it off as "sarcasm"? Nice try, and hang in there. You're Special! :)
Evan replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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A successful city is a city that is walkable. So I think this new project is a step in the right direction. It also acts as a link between our beautiful waterfront and the downtown core. People are going to find it easier to travel between the two all year round now!
TJ / August 15, 2014 at 02:37 pm
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What is wrong with people? Stop complaining about something that would improve pedestrian flow, convenience, choice and would be free to the taxpayer/City!
KW / August 15, 2014 at 05:59 pm
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Cudos to RBC for demanding the bridge as part of their lease. Great idea. But Oxford dropped the ball on the design.

Also, if people think this will improve public walkability your are kidding yourself. This is meant to serve private interests and will have limited positive impact on access to the waterfront or island ferries. This bridge is meant to protect suits from rain and snow not shuttle the general public to the waterfront.
judith replying to a comment from Dan / August 15, 2014 at 08:56 pm
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traffic to our little island. really. btw we have an international airport 20 min away from the island ... one that isn't contributing to traffic congestion, air & noise pollution and the destruction of neighbourhoods.
d replying to a comment from judith / August 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm
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judith - Well not to YOUR neighbourhood anyway! :)

I think this is a great idea ... I wonder if the glass will turn Gardiner-black though? But hey, it's a new way to walk, walk, walk ...
w-hat / August 16, 2014 at 08:16 am
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I walk under the Gardiner pretty regularly and this is fantastic news. Now all they need to do is finish those damn bike lanes on Queens Quay and we'll be in business!
judith replying to a comment from d / August 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm
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hey d - point taken. but the island airport has overtaken actual neighbourhoods that grew before the airport did. actual daycare centres and playgrounds along the quay from bathurst to york (and north) are disabled by lineups of traffic trying to get close enough to drop off porter passengers, idling and polluting, kids unable to cross the streets .... that 's just a snapshot. pearson at least is built in an industrial area. and that beautiful, one-of-a-kind, right in our very city little island .... becoming a two way street to an airport that is projected to become bigger than heathrow if the expansion goes through .... ? what is the point.

the walkway on the other hand i think is a bonus for our city.
R-A / August 16, 2014 at 03:31 pm
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This is pretty good idea - especially for all of the car-lovers. Now you don't have to deal with pedestrian crossings at this intersection. The only people who'll be slowing down traffic in this area will be the other dumb-ass drivers who probably shouldn't have a license.
airport / August 18, 2014 at 09:45 am
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Judith, you greatly exaggerate the inconvenience of the airport with your claims of traffic congestion, etc.. Let's be honest, this is mostly about people who have moved into the area, and then complain about the airport which was there before they were.
the lemur replying to a comment from judith / August 18, 2014 at 10:34 am
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If you think Pearson doesn't contribute to traffic congestion or noise pollution, I can only assume you have never been to Rexdale.
BN replying to a comment from Dan / August 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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We don't need nor want cars on the Island. No thanks.
stonerjoe / August 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm
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the PATH should extend to the islands
the islanders should have easy access to jugo juice and shoeshines too, it's just fair
HK replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / September 29, 2014 at 03:18 pm
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Pedestrian skywalks in urban areas = no-no ???

No way! They're so successful in a lot of urban areas. Best example would be HK. With the large population the separation between pedestrian and vehicular traffic proves to be a success. Less traffic accidents involving pedestrians.

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