Sydney Street: whose vision will prevail ?

The Dark CDP plan for Sydney Street is as follows. Sydney, a short, dead-end street on the  east side of the OTrain track, immediately north of Carling,  would be extended westwards, then turned north to join Adeline, turning both when combined into a sort of suburban “crescent” that would facilitate motoring, people running through residential streets looking for parking spaces, access to high rises that would be otherwise impossible to build on the dead ends,  etc. Sydney is the L-shaped gray arrow shown below. Right now, only half of the horizontal part of the L is actually a street:

dark plan dow motor site

Going north from  its intersection with Adeline, there would be a “mews” street, which remains under-defined to this day, but seems to be a sort of one-way narrow street that is possibly carved-out from  adjacent developers’ lands but more probably would be carved out of the public green space corridor along the east side of the OTrain, where the new MUP is under construction. This mews would extend to Beech, and maybe reappear intermittently at each of the other dead-ends, as far north as Somerset Street (more on that, in a subsequent post).

(the contrast between the “mews” and what is proposed for Sydney makes me question just how narrow the mews really will be)

The new Sydney street, with traditional city walks glued to the curb, would provide access to the OTrain Station at Carling Avenue.   Dark also proposed a parkette at the western end of Adeline, albeit separated from the larger green space of the MUP by the new road. Adeline would, in the Dark vision, be extended as a motorist’s street westwards, across the OTrain cut, interrupting the new MUPs on both sides, and connect to Hickory.

The City has accordingly relocated the pedestrian overpass promised for the same site, a bit further to the side, so that a straight road bridge can be built later. (Construction of the ped bridge starts next month).

Thus far, there has been abundant community opposition to the mews road, and the selective (as in, missing all the developer’s sites) extension of dead-end streets across the OTrain and linear park. Strangely, though, I think the Councillor’s comments on the plan only opposed the mews north of Adeline, and not south of Adeline.

The Dow Motors site is as follows; and you can see Sydney Street starting at the T of PresTon, and ending just as it hits the bright line of the site:

dow motors site


I think this is the largest development site in the CDP. It also includes the lot north of Adeline (more on this bit, later). The Arnon site, on the west side of the tracks, currently a parking lot, doesn’t include the trapezoid bit of non-parking-lot at its north end abutting Hickory Street.

The Dow Motors site is about 2 acres, or 70,000 sq feet. If Sydney Street is extended through the lot, it would reduce the developable area by 45%.  This of course also reduces the City’s future tax revenue from the site, reduces the development fees that are already committed to pay for the LRT and OTrain infrastructure,  affects the amount of development possible on a key Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) site, and increases public expenses for the construction and perpetual maintenance of a street.

It also gets started the “mews” street along the east side of the MUP, so beloved by Dark and despised by the neighbourhood. And the first block of the mews would be one wide street.

There are other consequences too, that are a bit more subtle. Bisecting the current land assembly into two portions separated by a public street means that separate parking garages would be required for each building. With separate garage doors, and ramps. Personally, I’m undecided if an abundance of garage doors enhances the streetscape. Actually, on second thought, I’ll opt for a design with a more-active street frontage and fewer garages.

Recall that extending Sydney Street to the edge of the OTrain cut means access to the OTrain station would be similar to what is there now. Not opening Sydney, which Richcracft proposes, means that the space can be developed into an urban public space. Here are the developer’s artist’s concepts — which are always nicer than reality — which the City has decided the public doesn’t need to see before Council decides whether to make the space an asphalt street just like the other dead ends, or available for a public square.

I dunno about you, but I have some definite preferences for which version of Sydney Street I prefer:

central courtyard between towers

above: the space between high rises that Richcraft proposes to make a 18,000 sq ft urban piazza. The current stub-end of Sydney is shown in the distance, where the cars are. The architects are currently working with a wind-consultant to figure out how to temper the winds that normally gust between high rises. All the ground floor spaces of the development would be retail businesses facing the pedestrian mews.

A bit to the left of the above picture is another tower, in which there would be an OTrain Station (more on that in a bit). In the first pic below, the view of the same square is from a pigeon flying over the Otrain cut, looking east toward Sydney Street.

OTrain central courtyard


The public piazza space would be owned and maintained by the developer, but public access deeded to the City (which hopefully has learned from some revoked access lessons from past agreements which were not iron-clad). The space is significantly larger than the parkette Dark proposed on Adeline Street. I think it potentially integrates better into the urban environment, but a lot of that depends on the details, none of which the City planned to show you.

If you want to tell Council which urban environment you prefer (typical road vs plaza) then you’ve got about a week  to do so.

Mext: the overall site plan

2 thoughts on “Sydney Street: whose vision will prevail ?

  1. Given your enthusiasm on these issues I had to wait until I got to the second reference to Dark to realize the first was not an adjective 😉

  2. Shocking. Is this a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing? Were Richcraft not involved in Dark Vaders charade?

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