The City of Toronto's Design Review Panel met yesterday on April 5, 2016 to discuss the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project. This is the first time that this project has been reviewed before the Panel and this initial review was meant to be an information session for the Panel. I have been advised that this project will be before the Panel at least one more time for a more full commentary. Once I have those details I will be sharing them with you.
Unfortunately we were unable to get the meeting recorded on video but my office was able to audio record the meeting and you can listen to that recording by clicking here. You will have to turn up the volume on your computer in order to fully hear the discussion.
The City presented first and went through the general background of the project from the City perspective and some of the City Council decision history. The City then highlighted some land use and urban design considerations for the area impacted by the project. Based on our notes, some of this includes but is not limited to:
- The need for a station at Bloor St W and Lansdowne Ave.
- Some development in the area was not originally intended to be so close to the overpass.
- Restoring Dupont St at grade.
- The need to connect to the West Toronto Railpath.
- Issues of focus for the City are the relationship of the overpass to Bloor St W, Dupont St, and adjacent parks with a need for a larger cycling and parks focus.
Following the City's presentation, Metrolinx presented on the project and gave an overview of their public realm plan and preliminary design strategy. After the presentations, the Panel asked questions of both the City and Metrolinx. At the end of the meeting, the Panel then provided their initial comments on this project. All of this is included in the audio recording. Urban Toronto also wrote about the Panel meeting and you can read it by clicking here.
To view the slides from Metrolinx's presentation, please click the image below to download the PDF.
The Design Review Panel is comprised of private sector design professionals – architects, landscape architects, urban designers and engineers – who provide independent, objective advice to city staff aimed at improving matters of design that affect the public realm. This includes matters such as preserving the uniqueness of place, maintaining vitality, ensuring comfort and safety, and making new development compatible with its surroundings. The Panel provides advice for both private development and public projects, including advice on new urban design policy. Advice is based on professional judgment, understanding of good design principles, conformance with the Official Plan and other related documents (design guidelines, secondary plans etc.), and the design quality of the subject project.
Design Review Panel meetings are open to the public, however there is no opportunity for members of the public to ask questions or to make a deputation during these meetings. The public nature of the meetings is intended to ensure a transparent process, while also contributing to public education about design of the public realm. To find out more about the Design Review Panel, please click here.