CIBC SQUARE | 241m | 50s | Hines | WilkinsonEyre

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unimaginative2

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As I am obliged to periodically mention, I have a copy of a CP study from the mid-80s in which they look at the feasibility of completely burying the rail corridor and building above. This would have been the ideal, though it's now made much more difficult by the lower level shopping at Union. It would be an expensive project, but in the long run I think it would be quite worthwhile. That was the conclusion of the study as well.

There was also the Union Plaza study that looked at building over some of the trackage including a big plaza where the train shed is today. The problem was the grade differential. Anything built above the tracks would be at a very awkward elevation compared to surrounding streets. That's why, at the end of that study, they said that it would make more sense to just look at lowering the rail corridor. Unfortunately, we're building a huge number of projects right now but none of them are working together. We're redeveloping the convention centre, digging under Union, changing the train shed, reconfiguring the tracks, building an office district south of the tracks, building a huge office building on Bay Street, and even looking at building a tunnel under the rail corridor for the Lakeshore line. If we did this more comprehensively, it would become obvious that burying the tracks would provide much better building lots and allow Union Station to reconfigure its tracks and platforms into the ideal arrangement for today's operations, rather than the current obsolete configuration.
 

interchange42

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Well, there's not a chance that the rail corridor would ever be buried, and there never was: that was never anything more than an option which had no traction. So here's hoping that we get something good at 45 Bay that includes the whole raft of mixed uses hinted at in this thread - office, hotel, condos, bus terminal - but with better architecture than the sketch we've seen so far.

I'm not convinced we need all of the tracks decked. A deck makes sense in the convention centre area, but here? They should be able to make all the necessary connections under the tracks for the bus terminal on this site. I'd rather that rail passengers arriving in Toronto have a reasonably good view of the skyline. I'm glad the shed is having its middle ripped out and replaced by a glass atrium. Montreal's Central station is so dreary to arrive in because of the Place Bonaventure coverings, and arriving in New York at either Penn Station or Grand Central is all tunnel too. We should not make the same mistake here and cover too much of it. All of that said, I'm not too worried. There's not enough money floating around to do all of it.

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unimaginative2

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What I was saying was that if you look at these plans in their totality, the piecemeal development means that many or most of the projects aren't really reaching their goals. Burying the tracks could allow that. Of course it wasn't ever seriously looked at, but many other cities worldwide are doing similar projects (the controversial Stuttgart 21). It's not beyond our imagination.

I agree about decking. Deck over when it's below grade, but when the tracks are above grade, I'd rather see improved connections beneath them and maybe use of the space in the viaduct under the tracks.
 

pw20

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"I'd rather that rail passengers arriving in Toronto have a reasonably good view of the skyline."
- this to me is the difference between aesthetic city-building for the sake of aestheticism versus practical city-building that works. How many people arrive into Toronto via rail, versus how many tourists walk down Front Street versus how many people visit the convention centre in a year? Not sure the way our skyline looks like for Via/Go Passengers should really trump the business of actually running a city.
 
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This project is by far my favourite one I really hope that something gets built here and we can cover the train decks all the way from liberty village to the site of 45 bay st! Maybe a park or something along the lines of millenium park anything but what we have now !!
 

isaidso

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Not sure the way our skyline looks like for Via/Go Passengers should really trump the business of actually running a city.
Agree. The existing rail corridor creates so many problems that far out weigh having nice city views for a few minutes for people arriving by rail. The city needs to cater to the people using. Burying the rail corridor seems like the best option, yet we keep avoiding the issue and making the job more difficult each passing year.
 
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isaidso

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I'm assuming because it's just a half assed solution that doesn't solve the problem like so many other things in this city. Why not do it properly? We're ending up with the patchwork of a city because we're not willing to spend the money to do things right.
 

Tony

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Why not build a deck over the tracks and flood it, creating a river? Then we'll have our very own Chicago River! We can even name it 'Chicago River'! We'll be World Class!

All joking aside, this would be awesome.
 

RC8

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Burying the trains would be such a ridiculous idea with the Gardiner where it is. I live in between the 2 and the railways are scenic and quiet for the most part, while the Gardiner is a noisy eye-sore which also throws significantly more pollution around in the area.

If we'll bury something please let it be the expressway.
 

CapitalSeven

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Rather than bury it at the cost of billions, why not just build right over it?
Because spending billions of infrastructure dollars that could be used to build new transit on turning a twenty-foot-high barrier into a hundred-foot-high barrier would be no less of a fool's errand?
 

Ramako

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Because spending billions of infrastructure dollars that could be used to build new transit on turning a twenty-foot-high barrier into a hundred-foot-high barrier would be no less of a fool's errand?
I'd expect that developers would bear the cost (and profit) of building towers over the rail corridor.
 

ahmad.m.atiya

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Because spending billions of infrastructure dollars that could be used to build new transit on turning a twenty-foot-high barrier into a hundred-foot-high barrier would be no less of a fool's errand?
I'd expect that developers would bear the cost (and profit) of building towers over the rail corridor.
That, and it would no longer be a barrier if it had development on top. It could be North-of South Core.
 

khristopher

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Burying the trains would be such a ridiculous idea with the Gardiner where it is. I live in between the 2 and the railways are scenic and quiet for the most part, while the Gardiner is a noisy eye-sore which also throws significantly more pollution around in the area.

If we'll bury something please let it be the expressway.
You do realize that even if you buried the expressway, you'd still have the pollution, right? They have to vent underground highways. And the trains are pretty noisy with their squealing, etc.
 

isaidso

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Because spending billions of infrastructure dollars that could be used to build new transit on turning a twenty-foot-high barrier into a hundred-foot-high barrier would be no less of a fool's errand?
Building a tunnel usually insinuates that it would be underground not 100 feet in the air. It doesn't matter anyway, we'll get the mess of working around the rail lines, and transit that won't meet our needs but will get built anyway to make it look like the problem is being tackled.
 

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