Residents weigh in on Fort York bridge designs
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Jun 03, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Residents weigh in on Fort York bridge designs

Three companies seeking to build Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge

Parkdale Villager

Designs for the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge were unveiled to the public Tuesday evening at the Fort York Visitor Centre and attendees were impressed.

“I thought they all had redeeming qualities,” said Corrie Galloway, a resident at Bathurst Street and Queens Quay. “I liked all of them, it’s a tough decision.”

About 60 community members showed up June 2 to get a look at the three short-listed designs and help decide which bridge best suits the neighbourhood. With a budget of $19.7 million, designs ranged from simplistic to detailed and provided attendees with three distinct bridges from which to choose.

The bridge itself will be in two parts. The first spans from the southeast corner of the South Stanley Park Extension, which is a new creation stemming from this project, over the north rail corridor onto the northern portion of the Ordnance Triangle Lands, within the new Ordnance Park.

A second bridge will span from the south side of the Ordnance Triangle Lands over the southern rail corridor onto Fort York Garrison Common. The two bridges will be connected by a trail within the new park in the Ordnance Triangle.

The City of Toronto, directed by Build Toronto, is working with the city’s Waterfront Secretariat on this project while MMM Group facilitates the meetings.

The three companies chosen to battle for the hearts of the Fort York community were EllisDon, the Dufferin Construction Company and Landmark Bridge Builders. Each team was allowed 15 minutes to present their bridge design to the crowd and highlight its uniqueness and their vision for the bridge.

• EllisDon created a bridge that is a hybrid between the Bathurst Truss Bridge and the Strachan Girder bridge that they call a Truss/Girder combination. This bridge would be constructed with the same dark rust rail material as the Bathurst and Strachan bridge, while the pathway would be concrete. This design included a curved seating area, with a portion that doubles as stairs at the south end near Garrison Commons. It also has two lookout points at the north end by Stanley Park and the south end by Garrison Commons.

“For our bridge design, we’re combining these two classic bridge types. We get the benefits of both,” said Marc Ryan, the lead architect. “We get the low compactness of the Girder and the framed views of the Truss.”

• The Dufferin Construction Company’s design proposed creating a completely stainless steel bridge called Garrison Crossing. It would be the first one in North America, according to Juan Sobrino, design lead for the company. The shape of the bridge itself mimics the original curvy and shifting alignment of Garrison Creek. Each bridge would have an arch made of stainless steel with stainless steel mesh on either side of the bridge with a concrete path.

According to Sobrino, stainless steel has higher corrosion resistance, would require less maintenance by the city, and would have a longer service life than the required 75 years as stated in the design criteria they received.

• Landmark Bridge Builders came up with a simple S-shaped bridge design that creates a continuously curvy creek-inspired fluidity. Both bridges in this design mirror the Humber bridge with the same white finish. According to Robert Davies, the lead architect on the project, this is the company’s third attempt at designing this bridge. The first concept was scraped by the city because it was between $6 million and $8 million over budget.

“We wanted to go back to basics to see if our instincts were still strong,” Davies said, referring to the new design.

Out of the three, audiences appeared to be the most receptive to Davies design for its simplicity and unobtrusive qualities.

“Of all three designs I found this one by Landmark bridge was the best, it had the smoothest path, which is a lot safer for cyclists,” said avid cyclist Robert Zaichkowski, a Liberty Village resident.

“I like how they had the arches on both bridges, which is similar to what they did with the Humber bridge.”

But Walnut Avenue resident Elizabeth Quance, who lives near Stanley Park, preferred the Dufferin company’s vision. She said it was “low-key and unobtrusive,” but added any one of the three designs would be a good choice for the neighbourhood because each design kept the neighbourhood’s character in mind.

“I am just so impressed,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing this project completed. I think it’ll be wonderful for our neighbourhood.”

Now that the designs have been revealed and residents have given feedback to the design teams, a selection committee consisting of citizens who know the area will choose the final design based on price, project management, overall design and construction.

The winner is expected to be announced in August and construction of the bridge is expected to begin in the fall with a projected completion date of spring 2017.

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