|The second phase of construction began this week on Roncesvalles Avenue.
With watermain and sewer work finished at the beginning of the summer season, streetscape and TTC track improvements could commence, announced Parkdale-High Park Gord Perks in an email newsletter to his constituents.
Thanking the community again for its "leadership" on the Roncesvalles Village reconstruction project, Perks conveyed his pride for his neighbourhood's ongoing transformation.
"As many of you know, the streetscape design has gone through many iterations, but I am proud to say that after much input from the community and careful technical design, the final plan reflects a new understanding of how a street can function," said the councillor, highlighting its features, including wider sidewalks and TTC boarding platforms.
Crosswalks will be revamped while vehicles will be permitted to park on either side of the street and cyclists will be able to travel safely up Roncesvalles Avenue.
Residents, merchants and customers can expect all that is involved in a construction site, according to Roncesvalles BIA Chair Tony Cauch. Track beds will be dealt with first, he said and Sanscon Construction Ltd., which was awarded the tender for the second phase, will pave the street block by block.
"The process is not expected to take too long, about three-and-a-half months. Then, the sidewalks will be done," said Cauch. "We're hopeful this part will be done by early December. We've received assurances it won't be as difficult as the first go around. Issues arose there because you're dealing with plans from 100 years ago. Sewage pipes that were supposed to be in certain locations weren't and other things were exacerbated by gas line breaks and water leaks."
Fortunately, said Cauch, the local residents' associations "rallied around us."
"Absolutely, we've been getting a lot of support from residents," he said.
They recognize it's not a one-way street, said Cauch.
"They recognize that the BIA has gone out looking to increase the public domain with better accessibility to transit, bigger sidewalks," he said. "We're losing eight per cent of parking, but Roncesvalles Avenue has been designated for intensification."
The BIA and the local community is interdependent on each other, said Cauch.
Cauch has been involved in the streetscape improvement plan since its initial community consultation meeting in 2003.
"It's evolved because of groups like Roncesvalles Renewed. They've been coming together to put something together we believe will be fantastic, state of the art in terms of urban streetscape, absolutely," he said.
Cauch credits Perks for a pilot project that will promote the healthy growth of trees, one that to his knowledge is the first of its kind in Toronto. Tree trenches will be dug along Roncesvalles Avenue to support approximately 100 new trees, according to Perks. This tree trench technology allows trees to grow to maturity instead of the average seven years, said Cauch, because of increased soil volume and improved water and air circulation. All street trees will be planted at grade and grated; TTC platform areas will be delineated by large elevated beds.
"Councillor Perks rolled up his sleeves and has really gotten behind it and we appreciated it," said Cauch of pilot project.
Representatives from the city's technical services will continue to meet with the BIA and local residents associations on a bi-weekly basis to provide construction updates, the councillor assured. A community liaison from Sanscon will be available on site each working day to answer any inquiries and address any issues that may arise. Households along Roncesvalles Avenue will be kept informed of what's going on in a monthly update, said Perks.
Roncesvalles Village is open for business as usual, stressed Cauch.
"I want to invite people to stay in touch with us, check in with our website and use their village," he said.
Parking is free in legal spots, Cauch pointed out.
Perks thanked his constituents for their patience.
"I know that construction can be disruptive to a neighbourhood. I will continue to work closely with the community, staff and the contractor to minimize impacts," said the councillor.