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Rail Deck Park (?, ?, ?)

pman

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I’m not sure what the fuss is all about. Toronto is truly World Class (tm) in its ability to generate transit plans that are never implemented. Why shouldn’t we apply our plan-writing expertise to rail deck parks?
 

rbt

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I’m not sure what the fuss is all about. Toronto is truly World Class (tm) in its ability to generate transit plans that are never implemented. Why shouldn’t we apply our plan-writing expertise to rail deck parks?

Section 37 funds from downtown haven't been sitting in a trust account since early 2000's, perhaps even late 90's. IIRC, they were up to $300M or something like that. Step #1 is ensuring Metrolinx builds their new Spadina stop with a roof you can walk on but that requires having a bit of an idea how the rest will go.

Planning a rail deck park that can be built in several stages gives Section 37 funds from downtown buildings a useful cause.
 

Jaye101

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I'm aware that John Tory is opposed to the construction of any buildings over the rails through this section, but it remains a real option to fund much of the costs. With office vacancies at historical lows it should at least be considered.
 

crs1026

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I'm aware that John Tory is opposed to the construction of any buildings over the rails through this section, but it remains a real option to fund much of the costs. With office vacancies at historical lows it should at least be considered.

This is the most likely outcome. $300M in accumulated Section 37 payments won’t cover the cost of a $1.7B park....but a scaled back park, combined with development on the sections that are taken out of the plan, will achieve a compromise.

Let’s just hope that the City negotiates well, so we get the most park and don’t subsidise the developed parts.

- Paul
 

jaybe

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Meanwhile the TTC has billions in important unfunded projects, I really hope developers who will profit immensely from a new park like this will be picking upo the bill.

This is an exceptional idea that should be built. If we leave the build of this park solely to development fees then it will never happen. Some developers will benefit more than others and perhaps they should be paying more related taxes to help subsidize this build. But it isn't just the developers who will benefit from the park All citizens of Toronto will benefit from this park in the same way that all citizens of Chicago benefit from Millennium Park.

Governments need to make the hard decisions on what to purchase and how to spend money. This doesn't need to be a choice between TTC unfunded enhancements or a Rail-Deck park.
 

ponyboy

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It would be unfair to spend all the section 37 funds on a single project, given the many needs throughout the city. We have so many unfunded plans already, some for essential infrastructure. It makes more sense to invest in the quality of the central waterfront/waters edge parks, making them truely linked and beautiful. The lake and the waters edge will always be a bigger draw than any park over a raildeck. Also, the maintenance of any raildeck park would be a complex and expensive burden, and the city has a bad track record of taking care of infrastructure, much less one with a dozen trains below.

Having multiple developments finance the decking makes the most sense. We should consider ourselves lucky to have a consortium willing to build something like ORCA -- it would be a great addition to the area. The CIBC building to the east is offering one example of bridging the rail corridor with a park. Public officials should focus on motivating and coordinating private sector development and linkages of various rail deck parks spanning east to west. The age of mega public sole-funded projects of nonessential nature is over. Wait until you see what is coming for Ontario Place.
 

rbt

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It would be unfair to spend all the section 37 funds on a single project, given the many needs throughout the city. We have so many unfunded plans already, some for essential infrastructure. It makes more sense to invest in the quality of the central waterfront/waters edge parks, making them truely linked and beautiful. The lake and the waters edge will always be a bigger draw than any park over a raildeck. Also, the maintenance of any raildeck park would be a complex and expensive burden, and the city has a bad track record of taking care of infrastructure, much less one with a dozen trains below.

Section 37 funds raised must be spent nearby; without looking I believe the law states that if ward X raises the funds then they're spent in ward X. They're intended for local community improvement as a way of offsetting negatives of the development; they cannot be transferred very far from the project making the payments.


Also, after a bit of hunting, the $300M number I used above is actually $309M raised city wide between roughly 2005 and 2015; it's not the current downtown surplus (or even a surplus at all; some is spent). So yeah, 90% of the rail-deck park is unfunded.
 

rbt

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Wouldn't this project be using Section 42 funds?

Good point. I keep forgetting about those.

Spacing did a decent writeup. Section #2 has dollar amounts raised (2011 through 2014).
spacing.ca/toronto/2015/04/15/parks-crisis-sidebar-section-42-works/
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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The lawsuit really isn't about the park. It's more like a Supreme Court case in that what is at issue are the fundamental, underlying legal principles. The fact that it's such a complicated LPAT case to begin with doesn't help but it's only barely about the park and the air rights and all that stuff.

But, yeah, it's not surprising that it's a mess one way or another.
 

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