Beginning late July 2016, the City of Toronto will be preparing for the construction of a new off-ramp from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway to Lower Simcoe Street. This project will also include the removal of the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp as well as improvements to Harbour Street. Construction of the off ramp is expected to begin the week of July 25, 2016 and continue until January 2018.
A new ramp to Lower Simcoe Street and improvements to Harbour Street will:
- Continue to accommodate high volumes of traffic flow between the Gardiner Expressway, the downtown core and the waterfront.
- Create an enhanced public realm for the increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists living and working in the area.
- Improve public safety by including well-signalized, well-lit intersections and better signage for all users
- Create new park space (within York Street ramp site) to help revitalize waterfront lands
Improvements will help support all modes of travel.
An Environmental Assessment study was completed in 2013 recommending the reconfiguration of the eastbound off-ramp from the F.G. Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay and Yonge Streets.The City is now moving forward with the reconfiguration.
The study recommended the removal of the existing long elevated ramp that leads from the F.G. Gardiner Expressway to Bay Street and removing the ramp at York Street. They will be replaced with a shorter, wider ramp to Harbour Street at Lower Simcoe Street. A new park will be created at York Street following the looped ramp removal that will further enhance the waterfront area.
Harbour Street will be widened from three to four lanes from Lower Simcoe Street to Bay Street. Streetscape improvements will be made along Harbour Street and will include the addition of sidewalks decorative pavers and planters.
The study was completed in a manner that best addressed the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan, the first principle of which is to remove barriers and reconnect the City with Lake Ontario. Other policies of the Plan explain that Waterfront streets are to be remade as "places" with high quality amenities for pedestrians and cyclists, and that parks are to be designated to enrich waterfront communities.
York/Bay/Yonge Ramp will be CLOSED starting Monday, April 17 to January 2018
Efforts have been made to manage traffic in the area for the safety of workers, road users and residents. Advanced notice about major road closures or restrictions will be communicated to stakeholders, the surrounding community and other road user groups.
- Motorists will still have full access to downtown by exiting the eastbound Gardiner Expressway at Jameson Avenue, Spadina Avenue, Jarvis Street.
- Motorists exiting the Gardiner Expressway at Spadina Avenue will be able to access Lake Shore Boulevard to travel eastbound. A locked gate along the ramp exit will be opened to allow motorists to move onto Lake Shore Boulevard. Bollards will be placed on Lake Shore Blvd ahead of the locked gate to provide a lane of traffic for motorists to move into. (Northbound/left turn lane at Spadina Avenue will remain open).
- Traffic signal times will be adjusted to reduce congestion.
- Full access to all westbound Gardiner ramps from Lake Shore Blvd West will be maintained.
- Orange and black advance traffic advisory signage will be placed at key locations.
- Road closures and restrictions will be managed in coordination with local events.
- Laneways and driveways that serve businesses will remain accessible for deliveries or service.
- Access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times.
During Demolition: April to July
- Eastbound on-ramp at Rees Street will be closed Monday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from April 17- May 31, to allow demolition to take place during the day and reduce overnight demolition work.
- Eastbound Harbour Street between Lower Simcoe to Bay Street will be reduced to 2 lanes.
- On weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. from May 1 to June 15 the contractor will intermittently use the centre lane on Harbour Street - to permit demolition of the existing ramp which will reduce traffic to one eastbound lane.
- Intersections along Harbour Street at Lower Simcoe and York Streets will be closed on select weekends to safely remove the overhead spans of the York/Bay/Yonge ramps (dates to be confirmed).
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