Toronto, we have some good news and some bad news.
First the good: three days ago, Mayor John Tory tweeted the launch of 'Toronto's busiest construction season ever, with more than $1 billion in work planned for roads, bridges, expressways, sewers, and watermains. This is the largest investment into a City of Toronto construction season yet.'
After a decade of significant dissolution in the city's infrastructure, a major cash injection will not only boost the economy in the short term, providing well-paying jobs, it'll help in the long term too, improving flow of movement.
Now the bad news: three days ago, Mayor John Tory tweeted the launch of 'Toronto's busiest construction season ever with more than $1 billion in work planned for roads, bridges, expressways, sewers, and watermains. This is the largest investment into a City of Toronto construction season yet.'
Translation? Get yourself some comfortable sneakers or ask your boss for permission to telecommute, because it's going to be an unprecedentedly slow summer in the Smoke. If you thought traffic was bad here before—
Some $590 million of that billion-plus is going towards pasting and duct-taping the Gardiner Expressway ('Express
way'? Sue them for false advertising) once again, plus towards more cycling infrastructure and Tory's wobbly Vision Zero, the traffic plan that aims to prevent any more pedestrian or cyclist deaths by drivers.
Not that walkers and riders have much to fear about speeding automobiles this summer. According to the Torontoist
, 'A whopping 600 roads (or more) are going to be under construction this summer, equalling up to 140 kilometres in road paving'.
The natural reaction is to flip out, especially if you're unfortunate enough to live or work beside one of these hundreds of projects and simply can't avoid its inevitable time-consuming and frustrating consequences.
But that's the unfortunate reality of all city life. Construction is a by-product of success.
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A city is better compared to an organic, aging body that needs maintenance and care than a suite of lifeless engineering projects you complete and leave for posterity.
Remember any of the scenes of the Eternal City in that mid-2000s HBO show, Rome
? The creators very wisely depicted streets with chaotic construction abounding. Rather than the pristine paintings of a fully formed and idealized Rome that you'd see in, say, Cecil B Demille movies, wide sweeping vistas were constantly interrupted by wooden cranes and scaffolding. Noisy, living chaos. That's how cities work until they don't.
Ponder that while you review the following. Again, from the Torontoist
, here's just a soupçon of the improvements coming to our roads, bridges and highways this summer:
Kipling Avenue, Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West, Six Points Interchange Reconfiguration;
Four bridges over the Don Valley Parkway, rehabilitation of Don Mills Road, Spanbridge Road, Wynford Drive and Lawrence Avenue bridges;
Gardiner Expressway Strategic Rehabilitation from Jarvis Street to Cherry Street, first phase;
Bloor Street West from Bathurst Street to Spadina Avenue, watermain replacement, streetscaping, bike lane construction and road resurfacing;
Richmond Street from York Street to Bathurst Street, watermain replacement;
Jarvis Street from Dundas Street to Queen Street, road resurfacing (resuming from 2018);
Don and Central Waterfront, first phase, Coxwell Bypass Tunnel boring;
Queen Street East and Eastern Avenue, TTC track replacement;
Birchmount Road from Eglinton Avenue East to Lawrence Avenue East, road resurfacing;
Midland Avenue from Danforth Avenue to Lawrence Avenue East, road reconstruction;
Old Weston Road from St. Clair Avenue West to Rowntree Avenue, road resurfacing;
Royal York from Dixon Road to Summitcrest Drive, road resurfacing;
York Mills Road from Leslie Street to Don Mills Road, road resurfacing;
Willowdale Avenue from Empress Avenue to Finch Avenue, road resurfacing and bike lane installation; and
Bayview Avenue over the west Don River, bridge repairs
Having trouble cheering up and thinking of the long-term good that's coming of all that work?
Well, it seems that every day lately the city learns about more subtle budget cuts from the province to countless other aspects of city life; maybe tomorrow the mayor will announce he's canceling all this work instead, to save money.