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Is Queens Quay Going to Be Done in Time?

May 12, 2015

“I look at this and I think, ‘there is no way you’re going to be done in 84 days,’” said CityNews' Cynthia Mulligan in an April 17 interview with our Chief Operating Officer, David Kusturin.

By Mira Shenker

I might have shared Cynthia's sentiment, had I visited Queens Quay three weeks ago, before joining the Waterfront Toronto team. On my first day at Waterfront Toronto, I walked the 1.7 km Queens Quay Boulevard revitalization site amid the construction fences and partially closed intersections. To me, it didn’t look like a street that would be fully open in less than two months.

The reality is, the remaining work is not extensive. In fact, with the opening of Queens Quay so close, we’re ready to start showing off our new street. On May 30, you’ll have a chance to see firsthand how the revitalized waterfront street has changed at our public site walk. Learn more about how pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and transit riders can navigate the newly configured street safely once it reopens in June. This is a rain or shine event! RSVPs are not required, but we encourage you to sign up online. Having your contact information will help us update you as event details become available.

What's left to do?

The complex upgrading and replacement of underground infrastructure networks is complete and crews are now laying the remaining granite and pavers. Some areas are still behind fences while crews work on final landscaping and small fixes for any deficiencies they discovered; others are still fenced off while the polymeric sand used to seal the seams between pavers dries.

While intersections like Bay and Queens Quay have opened, you’ll notice a few temporary bumps where the street is waiting for its final coat of asphalt.

Speaking of asphalt, I’m excited to report that the new Martin Goodman Trail between Spadina and Bay only needs two more coats before lines get painted and it opens in June. Cyclists like myself will come to recognize the blue boxes and painted maple leafs at our new “mixing zones” as a signal to slow down and look carefully for cars or pedestrians before sailing through. These mixing zones are one of the new elements introduced on Queens Quay. At certain intersections, the Martin Goodman Trail shares real estate with the pedestrian promenade. Special cycling signals are synched with traffic lights on the street to coordinate with car traffic – but even with a green light on your cycling signal, it’s important to watch out for pedestrians. In the same vein, pedestrians entering the mixing zone will take their cue from the dotted white lines along the red granite – those lines mean, “You’re in a cycling zone; look left and right for cyclists before crossing.”

Two-way traffic resumes along Queens Quay Boulevard West during the first two weeks of June, moving west from Bay as new traffic signals and controllers are installed. Trees are being planted throughout this entire month, and benches and wooden signature light poles are being installed as well. Astral crews will be installing trash bins in the coming weeks. This morning on my walk in to work, I noticed that another fence just came down as workers finished up another section of granite pavers. By the time we take members of the public through the site on May 30, the street will be visibly closer to completion.

After Queens Quay’s grand opening, some crews will be back briefly. Why?

We will be finished on schedule. However, we have had to manage the many challenges that come with almost all construction adjacent to the Toronto Harbour and older areas of the city: particularly unstable soil; high water levels; outdated and inaccurate as-built drawings (the technical drawings of the locations of services and infrastructure underground); buried obstructions; and failing infrastructure. This has led to unforeseen work that had the potential to delay the construction schedule unless measures were taken to manage these issues. For specific details about our project challenges and budget, you might be interested in this Queens Quay Budget and Schedule fact sheet

Here's what will need to be completed after June 19th:

  • Toronto Hydro will return after the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to complete work on a small area around Queens Quay and Rees
  • A small number of paving stones along south side of the roadway next to Queens Quay will be installed after the Games – 139 m² of a total of 1,948 m² of the total paving stones
  • Of the 240 trees we’re planting on the south side of Queens Quay, three will remain to be planted after our June 19 opening
  • 20 of the 56 streetlights along the new Queens Quay will be installed with temporary aluminum poles and overhead power. Those will be replaced with our signature wooden poles once the Toronto Hydro system is energized.

If you have questions about the street, join us on our May 30 site walk. We’ll start with an open forum, then walk the street, explaining along the way how cyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and motorists will safely use the dramatically redesigned Queens Quay.

Share your thoughts, comments and feedback – follow us on Facebook and Twitter – and join the conversation about the opening of the revitalized Queens Quay Boulevard using the #NewQueensQuay hashtag.

post contributor

  • Mira Shenker

    Mira Shenker is a project communications manager at Waterfront Toronto. She has worked as a journalist and executive editor at industry and business publications. In this role, Mira collaborates with project stakeholders and the public, and is lucky enough to be part of creating the type of city she is proud to call home.