This should be invisible

Queens Quay East LRT extension

Toronto could get heated sidewalks along a section of the waterfront

A virtual community consultation for the new Waterfront East LRT Extension is set to take place next Wednesday, and a presentation deck for the meeting includes a number of interesting proposals for the transit line — including futuristic heated pavement.

The 74-slide presentation features an overview of the Waterfront East LRT Extension Project, a study on potential streetcar portal locations (what allows them to transition between an underground and surface alignment) and more, but the most interesting details of all just may be the street design proposals for the above grade section of Queens Quay East between Parliament and Yonge.

This section of the presentation includes a proposal for heated pavement between TTC stops, building entrances, and on TTC platforms on Queens Quay East, because we truly are living in the future.

Potential benefits of using the technology, according to the report, include improved access to transit during winter months as well as reduced salt use and improved efficiency of maintenance.

But a number of considerations must also be made before coming to a final conclusion, including comparing the cost of installing and operating heated pavement with typical snow clearing practices.

Other necessary considerations include the ease or ability to repair or maintain the areas where melted snow will run off to and eventually freeze again, how drainage will work, the effect of heating adjacent to plant roots, and whether insulation detail would be required.

The presentation also proposes a flexible layby design concept for Queens Quay East that would allow an outdoor space to either be used for parked vehicles or for expanded public space and patios thanks to moveable bollards. 

Other interesting proposals for the stretch include installing Digital Wayfinding Beacons for people that are blind or partially sighted, widening Martin Goodman Trail by 5 cm, and mindful tree planting design to increase diversty of tree species in the area for greater resilience to site challenges. 

The community consultation is set to take place on Feb. 17 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and anyone interested in participating can find more information on how to do so online.

Lead photo by

Jim Cagney

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