Toronto Mulls Plan to Expand World's Longest Underground Shopping Complex
Carys Mills (Globe and Mail)
More than a century after Toronto’s first underground pedestrian walkways were built, the city is finishing off a master plan that calls for the PATH system – the world’s longest underground shopping complex – to extend south toward the waterfront.
As more people start living and working south of the traditional financial district, the PATH will have to be able to get them there, said Michel Trocmé, a partner in Urban Strategies Inc. He helped develop the draft plan, expected to be voted on by city council in 2012 and which will also influence the city’s official plan review in the fall.
But it may not be through those typical underground tunnels.
“Continuing with an underground system is just not really that viable,” Mr. Trocmé said, noting that topography drops close to Lake Ontario. As well, the Gardiner Expressway limits aboveground tunnels so developers would need to find a way to go over or under it. The answer, Mr. Trocmé said, is at least one major pedestrian bridge crossing over Lakeshore Boulevard but under the Gardiner.
“It’s really tough because there are all these on and off ramps but there’s a few places where you could actually do that,” he said.
The draft plan suggests a southern extension from the Air Canada Centre, connecting by bridge close to Harbour and York streets. Andrew McAllan, Oxford Properties managing director of real estate management, said his company plans to have that bridge joined from the ACC to a new office complex in the area, WaterPark Place III, by 2015.
“This opens up the whole waterfront to the PATH,” he said, noting thousands of employees will be working out of the building.
As well, the plan suggests there should be access from Union Station to waterfront development east of Yonge Street.
The report also says the system be extended west from Yonge Street toward University Avenue, where there are a cluster of hospitals near part of the University of Toronto campus and Queen’s Park.
(source: Globe & Mail)