Toronto Parking Authority wants to put 3-level garage under new downtown park
The City of Toronto recently acquired the property at 229 Richmond St. West for $100 million. And while the space is occupied by a parking lot at the moment (and served as a giant patio this past summer), current plans designate that the property is set to become a public park.
The years-old news of new green space slated for the downtown core has been welcomed by many who say the city is in desperate need of more room for individuals to get outside, and particularly more space that isn't dedicated to vehicles, but now it seems the Toronto Parking Authority wants to put a three-level 144-space parking garage underneath it.
The parking garage proposal is outlined in a report from the president of TPA, set to go before the TPA board of directors, and it recommends that the board direct TPA to work with CreateTO to produce a preliminary design for the garage and a cost estimate.
"The subject property is located in a high demand area for parking, but is underserved with municipal parking," reads the report.
"Strategically located within the Entertainment District and one of the highest growth areas in the City of Toronto, an investment in parking in this area would fill an identified need."
According to the report, a conceptual design has already been created for the 2,245-square-meter future park, which "is envisioned as a 'high profile' urban park that will include unique components to serve the growing downtown," and below grade parking with vehicular access off of Nelson Street is included.
The report also assures that sufficient soil depth will be prioritized to ensure that park programming is available at grade.
"Once a preliminary design and cost estimate have been completed and TPA can confirm project costs, a report will be brought to the TPA Board of Directors to recommend next steps related to this project," reads the report.
But while TPA argues that both the density of the area and limited supply of public parking exemplify the need for the garage, those concerned with the city's carbon footprint are less than impressed with the idea.
RLT: In Toronto the city parking authority wants to take a new downtown park - which councillor @joe_cressy - has fought for - and put a three-level 144-space garage underneath it. No. https://t.co/mwbHdmoVzc… #topoli 1/ pic.twitter.com/VkMpCSoCl8— Alex Bozikovic (@alexbozikovic) February 3, 2021
"Providing (subsidized) car parking – especially here in perhaps the most walkable place in the country - is not something government should be doing. Huge expense and carbon footprint," wrote Globe and Mail architecture critic Alex Bozikovic on Twitter Wednesday.
"If the city climate policy means anything at all, this - building a large concrete structure to make it easier for people to drive - is a non-starter."
I've reached out to @TorontosMayor and @joe_cressy to suggest some climate- and #ActiveTO #VisionZero mobility-forward alternatives for this site. It's situated between two of the busiest cycling corridors in Toronto, so bicycle parking makes way more sense.— Mick Malowany (@malowitzki) February 3, 2021
Another nearby downtown parking lot, located at the southeast corner of Spadina and Adelaide, is also slated to become parkland within the next couple of years.
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