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Langstaff Gateway, at Yonge and Hwy. 407

jaycola

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This is from this weeks Liberal, The local community paper. It is a brief outline of plans for the Gateway at Yonge and Hwy 7.

http://www.yorkregion.com/News/Thornhill/article/84109


Thornhill
November 08, 2008 09:50 PM

By: David Fleischer

Markham has unveiled a plan for a community that could set a new standard across the GTA and the continent.

The devil, however, is in the details.

It was a packed house Thursday afternoon at Markham town hall where the design for the Langstaff Gateway, at Yonge and Hwy. 407, was unveiled.

“The pre-eminent notion is that this is a singular site in North America,†said Peter Calthorpe, the American smart growth expert developing the plan for the town.

“We can demonstrate the best practices in green infrastructure and green technology on this site.â€

The convergence of transportation options, including the roads, highways, GO and local transit lines, makes the site uniquely suited to revolutionary planning ideas, he said.

The idea is to create a walkable, transit-oriented community of the future.

“It’s an interesting site in that it has all these barriers around it. It’s got the (407) on one side, it’s got a cemetery on the other, then you have two high-volume roads on either side . . . It needs to become a destination and an asset to the community, and yet there are these separations,†Mr. Calthorpe said.

Currently distinguished by low-rise industrial sites, the 116 acres are expected to house as many as 30,000 people once developed fully.

That density will put it in the same league as downtown Toronto and not like anything else in the suburbs.

At the same time, designers expect to reduce and recycle water run-off, generate power on-site and otherwise have a minimal environmental impact.

Key to the design is a green spine of parks, extending across the site’s length. They would be lined by mid-rise buildings, creating an allée, like those in Paris.

They would be augmented by a mix of towers and townhomes with two retail “main streets†near the current GO station and Yonge Street.

Pomona Creek will be naturalized and the woodlot at Bayview Avenue will be preserved.

Not ready for last week’s meeting was a crucial transit study that will give a sense of how many people and how much movement in and out, the site can handle.

There were a lot of big ideas on the table and not everyone was thrilled.

Mike Everard, representing the neighbouring Holy Cross Cemetery, wondered how the development and such a large population would impact the site and the services there.

More generally, he questioned whether development charges could fund such ambitious plans.

DISNEYLAND - WHO WILL PAY?

“This is Disneyland. Who is going to pay for this?†he asked.

Representatives from York Region Transit and Viva wondered if roads were wide enough for buses and whether there were too many residential buildings.

Vaughan resident Jeffrey Stone wondered how much the other side of Yonge Street was being taken into account in regards to all the traffic sure to hit the intersection, particularly with a park-and-ride lot planned for the new subway.

HERITAGE CONCERNS

Councillor Valerie Burke expressed concerns over light pollution and bird-friendly design, while local ratepayers president Evelin Ellison wondered what would happen to heritage buildings on the site.

She also asked what would happen to the 25,000 people now in Markham’s side of Thornhill, when they get 30,000 new neighbours.

Mr. Calthorpe acknowledged all the concerns and said many of them are already on his mind.

A meeting set for February will unveil a more detailed version of the plan, incorporating the traffic studies and comments.
 

adma

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Yeah, a real goof
goofy01.jpg
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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Mike Everard, representing the neighbouring Holy Cross Cemetery, wondered how the development and such a large population would impact the site and the services there.

More generally, he questioned whether development charges could fund such ambitious plans.

So you want a subway in your 'hood eh?

DISNEYLAND - WHO WILL PAY?

“This is Disneyland. Who is going to pay for this?” he asked.

Representatives from York Region Transit and Viva wondered if roads were wide enough for buses and whether there were too many residential buildings.

There's more than enough room there to accomodate the buses.

Vaughan resident Jeffrey Stone wondered how much the other side of Yonge Street was being taken into account in regards to all the traffic sure to hit the intersection, particularly with a park-and-ride lot planned for the new subway.

HERITAGE CONCERNS

Councillor Valerie Burke expressed concerns over light pollution and bird-friendly design, while local ratepayers president Evelin Ellison wondered what would happen to heritage buildings on the site.

Typical NIMBY response. Suddenly we're concerned about light pollution, birds, and heritage buildings when there's a massive movie theatre on one side and a power center on the other?

She also asked what would happen to the 25,000 people now in Markham’s side of Thornhill, when they get 30,000 new neighbours.

Mr. Calthorpe acknowledged all the concerns and said many of them are already on his mind.

A meeting set for February will unveil a more detailed version of the plan, incorporating the traffic studies and comments.

Hopefully they'll make some new friends.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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The Disneyland quote was a bit NIMBY but it was a fair point to the extent the plan is super-ambitious. He was talking, I gather, about things like the personal rapid transit system.

He was right that things like that are a bit elaborate and there's an implication that it could become an "elite" neighbourhood with no affordable housing.

Nonetheless, if they can make it work it will be something to behold, I think.

As for the road width - they are trying to keep roads at 3m and YRT says it needs 3.5m for the buses. Even for small shuttle buses they said they'd need 3.25m, IIRC. The sidewalks will "bulb out" at intersections as part of the pedestrian-friendly stuff; also not great for buses. It's stuff that can be ironed out, I imagine.

The issue with the heritage buildings wasn't entirely NIMBY. There are a few scattered buildings and they wanted them incorporated into the plans rather than - as suggested by Calthorpe- being moved to a preserved woodlot/park at one end.

The movie theatre and power centre won't be there forever. I expect them to go the way of the dodo when this redevelopment starts going in and the subway opens.
 

canarob

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smuncky

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thanks for the link canarob!

very ambitious plan with many good things going for it. knowing what the place looks right now, i'm very excited to see this get started and finished.
 

BMyers

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I am just amazed at the land assembly that had to go on here, so many industrial properties. Good work by the guys at Country Wide Homes and Kylemore Homes - I wonder if they plan on building the whole thing themselves or sell off the blocks when they are approved?
 

taal

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Hopefully people won't mind views of the cemetery :)
 

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