Etobicoke, former Township then Borough then City, and now Toronto's western flank, has long had a pocket of high-rise development along Bloor and Dundas streets near Islington subway station, while the last two decades have seen another high-rise cluster develop along Dundas war Kipling subway station. In between the two, however, has long been a no-mans land, hostile to pedestrians and cyclists at least, land sacrificed to the car in something called the Six Points interchange.
In the 1950s as suburban development mushroomed in the area, and in Mississauga further to the west, traffic built as more and more people poured along Toronto's gridded arterial roads—Kipling and Bloor—plus along Dundas, a wandering former trail that has always bucked Toronto's gridded order but which slips neatly into Mississauga's grid where it vaults over the Etobicoke Creek. With the three main streets crossing each other at virtually the same spot, and with further increases foreseen with the opening of Islington subway station—drawing many people to its commuter parking lots, kiss'n'ride, and multi-bay bus terminal—an interchange was built, starting in 1960, to handle the expected traffic.
If all you wanted for the area was smooth traffic flow, the interchange worked. Cars got through the area more quickly, and traffic accidents decreased. In 1980, however, the subway was extended to Kipling, plans to move Mississauga buses to Kipling were also considered, and plans to improve the land between the two stations began to slowly percolate. Many notions were considered over time, including using much of the area for a subway yard, but that was rejected as Toronto got more serious about a new downtown for Etobicoke without an interchange carving up the land.
Years worth of planning finally began to be realized when construction started in the summer of 2017, preparing the land for new roads. Lane diversions have been in place for over a year and a half now as the first phase of new road work has proceeded, but this Sunday, February 24, the first big result of the reconfiguration will change traffic patterns here forever as the newly constructed alignment of Dundas Street West opens.
Jogging south and east of the original Dundas alignment, the newly built stretch of roadway will transfer traffic off the bridges that have carried it over Kipling Avenue for the best part of six decades. Above, the view west all the new alignment, with towers clustered near Kipling Station in the background. Below, from beside those towers, the view east showing traffic cones diverting vehicles away from the new Dundas alignment during its construction.
Wth Dundas Street traffic diverted off the bridges, work will start on dismantling them and their associated ramps. Part and parcel of the phase, Kipling will gradually be regraded as will Bloor Street, preparing it to be connected straight through again as its pre-interchange alignment is restored. Many lane diversions for Bloor and Kipling and associated side streets are still to come over the next couple years, along with temporary sidewalks for pedestrians as more pieces of the puzzle are put in place.
The configuration as of Sunday will be as shown below, with several turns restricted, particularly at the intersection of Kipling and Bloor. You can get more information on all the specifics from the City at its dedicated webpage for the project.
The new street configuration will be much better suited to serve a growing pedestrian population and several upcoming development projects that will create a new Downtown for Etobicoke; the former borough's offices will be moving into a new Civic Centre at the southeast corner of Bloor and Kipling—more on that in the next story to appear on UrbanToronto—and much of the area is among the City of Toronto's sites that are being fast-tracked for new residential construction, including a significant affordable housing component. The new roads area being designed as "complete streets", offering separated bike lanes, trees, wide sidewalks with street furniture, and easier access to Kipling Subway Station.
Additional information and images can be found in our dedicated Forum thread where you can join in on the discussion, or you may leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.
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