As of September 12, the City of Toronto is beginning construction on College Street, between Manning Avenue and Bay Street, to replace TTC tracks. The City has noted that completing this project in 2022 will allow better coordination for the completion of various other construction projects it has planned throughout the city. Additionally, the project presents an opportunity to make various other improvements on College Street, including for pedestrian safety.
In a statement to The Varsity, a spokesperson for the City of Toronto wrote, “For [U of T] students, the main impacts will be that cyclists will need to either share travel lanes (where possible), or dismount and use the sidewalk.”
The City will close off traffic on College Street east of Spadina Avenue, and reduce traffic to one lane west of Spadina Avenue. Meanwhile, the 506/306 Carlton streetcar will be diverted both ways around the construction zone and replacement buses will run through the construction zone. As construction continues and the distance between two active construction zones east and west of Spadina Avenue increases, TTC customers will need to walk to Dundas Street to access services.
However, College Street will remain open to pedestrians and dismounted cyclists.
North-south travel on Bathurst Street, Spadina Avenue, Avenue Road, and Bay Street will not be impacted.
The City spokesperson wrote, “This major construction project bundles a number of construction needs into one project to minimize overall disruption to the traveling public by completing all of the work in one coordinated project.”
The spokesperson added that the City had consulted U of T in the early stages of planning to coordinate the construction with other construction projects on campus. Planned improvements include replacing aging streetcar tracks from Bathurst Street to Bay Street and upgrading existing bike lanes to separated cycle tracks.
The City also intends to improve pedestrian safety at various locations. Specifically, the construction will involve extending the curbs at Lippincott Street, Manning Avenue, Euclid Avenue, Augusta Avenue, and Palmerston Avenue. These extensions will improve pedestrian safety by shortening the street crossing distance and improving sight lines for drivers. They will also slow the turning speed of drivers and provide more space for pedestrians.
The project will also raise crossings at Brunswick Avenue, Bellevue Avenue, Major Street, and Robert Street. The City hopes that the raised crossings will encourage drivers to slow down and yield to pedestrians.
Additionally, the City will install tactile warning indicators at all intersections from Manning Street to Bay Street. These indicators will be detectable underfoot, and are designed to make people with vision impairments aware of their proximity to moving vehicles.
In addition to these pedestrian improvements, the City plans on increasing the number of bicycle parking spaces and installing physically separated cycle tracks in order to improve safety conditions for cyclists.
The City will also improve the growing conditions for existing trees with the expansion of tree pits.
The Varsity has reached out to the City of Toronto to get information about the cost of the project and the noise levels.