Toronto to get urban park above active railway

Published on : Thursday, August 4, 2016

Toronto's Rail Deck ParkInfluenced by Chicago’s Millenium Park, Toronto’s mayor John Tory has planned to build a downtown park above an active railway track, connecting the Rogers Centre and Bathurst Street. The Millenium Park in Chicago has been built above a rail yard and bus lanes, costing about US$ 490 million.


The park, known as the Rail Deck Park would occupy an area measuring about 21 acres. It would be built above the railway with an aim to connect the waterfront with downtown and support high-rise development in an area that is densely populated.


Councillor Joe Cressy and mayor John Tory had announced the plan for this project on Wednesday.


Mr. Tory told the mediapersons that the discussions with the owners of the site namely, Toronto Terminals Railway, Canadian National Railway Co. and transportation agency Metrolinx have been positive.


This project actually belongs to the TOcore project that has been created to counter the rapid developments of downtown of Toronto that has been draining its social infrastructure.


Joe Cressy said that the rapid development in cities urgently require creative ways of building public spaces thereby making way for new infrastructure facilities.


According to a report published in 2011, about 8,30,000 people travel to Toronto daily, and the current numbers are likely to increase steadily. Moreover, the population of the adjacent neighborhoods of the proposed park, particularly CityPlace and Kind-Spadina have expanded to 40,000 from 1,000 within 20 years. Following the development of brand new office, retail and residential space, an additional 30,000 people are estimated to start residing in this area.


Cherise Burda, executive, director, City Building Institute at Ryerson University said that downtown Toronto is gradually undergoing a vast amount of development that is dwindling its public spaces and therefore the area requires more amenities to support this massive growth.


The proposed park would be an addition of an already planned $25 million-worth public space that would be built under the Gardiner Expressway. Ms. Burda said that such an extreme level of creative planning suggests that Toronto lacks adequate space and development is leading to this shortage of space.


On 22nd September, a report on the proposed railway park would be submitted to the mayor’s executive committee.


It is expected that the proposed park would be completed in about four to five years.


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