Category Archives: MVTG comments to City Planning regarding the Westbank proposal

* Traffic ? – MVTG letter to Councillors Layton and Cressy regarding community concerns

Update: April 4, 2018. Request submitted by councillors to TEYCC directing city staff for a traffic and public realm study in and around Mirvish Village : http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2018.TE31.105

 

 

25 February 2018

Mike Layton, City Councillor, Ward 19,

Joe Cressy, City Councillor, Ward 20,

Dear Mike and Joe

Subject:  Urban Design and Transportation Study for integration of New Mirvish Village Development with the Neighbourhoods

 Context:

This letter is to follow-up with you after MVTG’s meeting with City Planning, Transportation Services, Westbank, and your Executive Assistants on January 30th, 2018.  This meeting was the third time that MVTG had met with City Planning and Transportation Planning or Services to discuss our concerns and provide community input on transportation-related issues around the Mirvish Village Project. The first meeting occurred as part of Graig Uens’ Discussion Group at CSI, which both of you attended. The second meeting took place at City Hall with a smaller group which included Mike. Prior to the January 30th meeting, MVTG reasserted our Guiding Principles and Focus Areas in a one page document (attached for your quick reference).  To date we feel it has been largely ignored.

Our view continues to be that community concerns are not being addressed by city staff. We have repeatedly stressed the importance of understanding how the traffic created by the new development will fit into the existing neighbourhoods. Despite our efforts, city staff appear to have limited their scope of work narrowly on Mirvish Village, specifically Markham between Lennox and Bloor, the Bloor and Lennox intersections, and Lennox from Markham to Bathurst. There is no plan – or even a “plan to get to a plan” – to address how the larger geographic area will be affected. The functional design issues of managing the increased traffic created by the new development in order to minimize the impact on the neighbourhoods remain unexplored and undiscussed. We find this unacceptable.

However, we were very pleased when Stephanie Nakitsas and Lia Brewer agreed during the January 30th meeting that the City undertake an Urban Design / Transportation Study of the area.

The following are our initial suggestions on the scope of the study.

Geographic Scope:

  • The area bounded by and including Bloor Street West to Harbord Street and Manning Avenue to Borden Street, including all streets and alleys within that area
  • Bathurst Street from London Street to Ulster Avenue

Project Scope and Objectives:

  • Lay out all possible vehicle routes into and out of Mirvish Village Parking Garage
  • Lay out PUDO along Markham Street including the daycare, the new east-west laneway between Markham and Bathurst, Honest Ed’s laneway, and along Lennox Street including the Randolph Academy
  • Develop a framework to evaluate which routes are expected to carry the most incremental volume through the neighbourhoods
  • Develop options to address the most problematic routes with the goal of protecting the neighbourhoods from excess traffic penetration and disruption, and identifying pros and cons of each option.
  • Develop an integrated plan to extend the functional design and public realm across Lennox Street, as part of the south end of Mirvish Village
  • Facilitate choices which balance the needs of both new and existing neighbourhoods

This study would ensure a smooth transition and sympathetic fit between the new and existing neighbourhoods so that impacts created by the new development will not overwhelm or degrade the existing historic neighbourhood.

Community Consultation:

  • MVTG will fully engage with this study; options for broader community input could be considered

We look forward to meeting with you as soon as possible to further define the scope, objectives and timeline for the study.  We would like to see a motion brought to Council as soon as possible so that significant progress can be made before the summer with a working plan in place by September 2018.

The Mirvish Village Task Group believe this to be an absolutely urgent undertaking to address growing community concern. The community engagement process during planning of the Mirvish Village redevelopment has been seen as a model of progressive and imaginative city-building. We believe the credibility of this process is now at risk.  More broadly, as Toronto proceeds with redevelopment along Bloor Street and other major corridors, we believe that creating a successful, co-operative example of integrating a new, large development within an existing neighbourhood could provide a model process that would be to everyone’s benefit.

Sincerely,

Mirvish Village Task Group

***

 

Attachment

Mirvish Village Task Group – Transportation Work Stream

4 November 2017

Document Purpose:

Section 37 of the OPA secured a consultation process with the four Resident’s Associations during the Site Plan process and prior to Site Plan approval.

This document outlines MVTG’s guiding principles for ongoing consultation of Westbank and City Transportation’s integrated transportation plan.   MVTG also identifies a number of discussion focus areas for the consultation process.

Guiding Principles for evaluating Transportation related proposal(s):

  • Traffic impact from Mirvish Village on the surrounding stable neighbourhoods’ streets should be minimal
  • Vehicle access going to and from the Mirvish Village Parking Garage is to be exclusively via the Bathurst and Lennox intersection
  • Internal vehicle circulation within the site should facilitate access to Mirvish Village businesses and services. PUDO design should consider the needs of small children, the elderly, and the disabled
  • Safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in and around Mirvish Village is a priority; potential zones of vehicle conflict should be addressed proactively

Discussion Focus Areas during the consultation process:

  • Optimizing performance of the Bathurst and Lennox Intersection
  • Plans to physically isolate Lennox Street west of the Parking Garage and the Markham Street Laneway from Parking Garage traffic
  • Mirvish Village Parking Garage design as it enables efficient vehicle flow, efficient entry and exit from entrance on Lennox, and options for technology enablement
  • Delivery vehicle allowed routes and times
  • Treatment of the Palmerston Laneway
  • Integration of Transportation related plans with other Site Plan work streams such as Landscape, Public Realm, etc.

***

 

To view the supporting documentation about traffic and transportation click hereviewSupportingDoc (30)

To view U of T Engineering students’ study click here: http://www.mirvishvillagetg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MVTG_Lennox-Street-Project_Final-Design-Specification.pdf

*For the Record : Westbank proposal adopted at TEYCC

On April 4,  Westbank’s third proposal to develop Mirvish Village and Honest Ed’s was adopted by Toronto East York Community Council.

You can read MVTG and PARA’s deputations here: Presentation to TEYCC 04.04.17 HVRA’s deputation here: TEYCC Westbank final  SVRA’s deputation here: SVRA Deputation WB TEYCC April 4 2017

To watch the full meeting, which includes a ten minute presentation by Graig Uens summing up three years of work on this project by City Planning, comments from the councillors and deputations from a diversity of citizens, click here and move the time marker to 1:02.29, Item 23.6 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2kPIOBxLE0

To review the full documentation of the adopted motion – including reports and amendments, click here:  http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.TE23.6

*City Planning Heritage Recommendations – Mirvish Village Buildings – MVTG response

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.PB21.1

This item was adopted without amendment at the Toronto Heritage Preservation Board, March 23. 2017

To see the letter of support from Harbord Village Residents’ Association, click here : Mirvish Village heritage designation

MIRVISH VILLAGE TASK GROUP

a coalition of four local residents’ associations

REGARDING: Toronto Preservation Board – March 23, 2017.

 The Mirvish Village Task Group – a coalition of the four, local residents’ associations that border on the intersection of Bloor and Bathurst Streets – would like to thank Heritage Preservation Services for their extensive work and attention to detail on this file.

The conservation of 585 Bloor Street and the buildings on Markham Street, in situ, in full volume including the roof-lines, is commendable. The recognition of the historic value of the adaptive reuse of vernacular, domestic architecture is encouraging. We hope that this sets a higher standard for any future development proposals.

On Bathurst Street we are heartened by the preservation of the group of five buildings constructed by T.W. Wilson in 1891. However, we would also like to see the three other Wilson buildings – 760, 758, 756 Bathurst – designated and protected to ensure the rhythm, scale of the storefronts and historic context of the block. As one of the earliest commercial intersections in our area, we think the heritage buildings along Bathurst Street warrant more recognition and conservation.

Preserving these twenty-four buildings out of the twenty-seven buildings cited as having heritage value by the Four Corners Study is very much appreciated and goes a long way to honouring this much-storied and beloved part of Toronto.

Best Regards,

Donna McFarlane

 

* Westbank’s third proposal Viewed from Street Level

The three images above are of Markham Street, facing north, as viewed from Lennox Street. (Note the mature trees in these renderings don’t exist.)

 

above: Corner of Markham and Lennox, facing east (towards Bathurst Street) from ground level on Lennox Street

above: the proposed east-west lane viewed from the opposite side Bathurst Street (B streets condo building) 

above: Corner of Bathurst and Lennox as viewed from the sidewalk on Lennox  east (in front the Central Tech swimming pool)

above: the Corner of Bloor and Bathurst as viewed from street level, looking south. B Street condos are on the left.

above: the corner of Bloor and Markham as viewed from the north side of Bloor

above:  the view from ground level in the backyards on Palmerston Blvd.

above: the view from street level on Palmerston Blvd. 

NOTE the renderings above were contributed by Roy Sawyer and are based on Westbank’s. Only the view point has been altered. 

FOR COMPARISON to Westbank’s renderings from an aerial view point click hereviewSupportingDoc (5) (1)

* MVTG response to City Planning regarding Westbank’s third proposal.

On January 25, 2017 the Mirvish Village Task Group met to assess the third submission from Westbank. This is a summary of the group’s comments, which were sent to City Planning and are now part of the public record.

Paul MacLean, chairperson.

Heritage:

  • What is the position of Heritage (department of City Planning) on this application?
  • Is WB retaining the full volume of Bathurst St buildings, or just the facades?
  • We believe that the full set of 5 buildings running north from Lennox should be retained in order to preserve the symmetry of the block. It is not impossible to retain at least the façade of the 5th building as an entrance to the tower.
  • We would prefer that the ‘3rd sister’ be retained (at least in its façade), while appreciating the issues created by the parking ramp below this building. (The 3 sisters are the block of heritage buildings on Bathurst to the north of ‘Trainers’. As with the 5 buildings to the south, they form a unique heritage block. The heritage is diminished if the integrity of these two blocks is not maintained.)
  • To retain all 8 heritage buildings on Bathurst would enhance the street wall and provide a sense of unity along the street.
  • We recommend using brick for the lower walls so as to fit in with the existing on- site heritage and adjacent heritage buildings.
  • We are in favour of preserving as much of Markham St as possible as the charm and feel of the street depend upon maximum retention. We will be losing some heritage on the west side in favour of the park. However, it should be possible to retain the building on the east (northernmost heritage building) if the proposed east/west laneway is narrowed into a pedestrian walkway. Narrowing the laneway would also assist retention of the endangered heritage building (3rd sister – façade at least) on Bathurst (see comments under ‘Traffic’).

 

Park & green space:

  • We need to think through the use of the park in order to create a design that will work effectively.
  • Any design should relate to the public space along Markham.
  • We understand that WB will be required to convey land along Palmerston Lane to the City, ostensibly for widening the lane. We think there is no longer a valid reason to widen this lane, and we recommend that this conveyed land be developed as green space to enhance the park.
  • We note that the park will probably see a lot of usage as a place for people to eat food purchased in the market. This can create a lot of garbage. We recommend that WB agree to maintain the park, given the lack of City resources to do so.
  • We like the idea of retail facing the park on the north side.
  • Lennox should be kept to 2 lanes. In addition to benefits for traffic management, this would also allow for tree planting along the street.
  • This project offers a great opportunity for tree planting along all the streets. Extensive tree planting (& retention where possible) would enhance the development itself and also tie it in with the heavily treed neighbourhood.
  • When the site plan comes up for discussion, we would like to see a design competition for the public realm on Lennox and Markham, the streetscapes and the park.

 

Towers and built form:

  • We note that the tower heights are the maximum allowed under the new zoning. We believe that these heights will be strongly opposed by residents. Tower heights have a strong symbolic element, which will be resistant to argument, and they will be seen as unsuitable for the neighbourhood.
  • The northern tower to the east of Markham St has an improved podium. However, this building still needs improvement. At 24 stories it will have a major impact on Markham and dominate the street. Also the street wall presents a sheer face to the street, which detracts from the overall ‘village’ effect the design is trying to achieve on Markham. The building itself is calmer, which is an improvement. We would like to see the tower set back deeper than the current 3.5 meters above the podium base.
  • The southern tower to the east of Markham is 19 stories, whereas City Planning had recommended 12 as an appropriate height. There are pros and cons to the new design of this building, but we still think that the height should be reduced and the design of the building reconsidered.
  • The street walls are for the most part an improvement.

 

Traffic management:

  • We are opposed to widening Lennox. Traffic can be managed by signaling and a ‘left turn, right turn only’ at Lennox and Bathurst (proceeding east, which means that traffic could not enter Harbord Village from Lennox). See also comments under ‘park & greening’.
  • Preventing traffic from entering the neighbourhood remains a key issue that needs attention. We request a meeting with the relevant City Traffic staff to discuss further.
  • There is no longer a reason to widen Palmerston Lane. The conveyed land provides an opportunity for additional green space. (see above)
  • The proposed east/west lane from Bathurst to Markham is very problematic if it is vehicular, not least of which would be the access and egress onto Bathurst. We do not see that is serves a useful vehicular purpose. On the other hand, it is a very important pedestrian entry to the site, and creating a narrower pedestrian-only lane is a much better plan.

 

Retail:

  • The bylaw forbidding restaurants on the west side of Markham needs to be retained in the OPA. Given the amount of grief caused to residents by the Victory and its patios, we recommend that a similar restriction be added to the north east corner of Markham and Lennox.
  • There are no Markham entrances to retail in the northern tower to the east of Markham. (see comment above). This should be changed.
  • There are many improvements to the retail structure: omitting loading bays, increased market, reducing large retail units, getting rid of dual entrances.
  • What is planned for the large underground commercial space? Is there just one entrance from ground level?
  • If there is to be a delivery service as part of the market, space should be allocated on the plan.

 

Usage:

  • We would like to see a diverse usage of the site, which will contribute to its vitality and success. In addition to the planned residential, retail and commercial usages, would WB consider non-retail daytime small businesses such as a digital media company or small architectural firm? These small to medium sized offices could replace some of the residential and provide daytime activity.