The Prince Edward Viaduct, more commonly known as the Bloor Viaduct, could soon look very different if a proposed redesign moves forward.
Architecture firm Farrow Partners recently released a proposal that recommends turning the 103-year-old viaduct into a pedestrian-friendly space with a promenade, market pavilions with stalls, and plenty of greenery and seating.
The project, Farrow says, would follow the lead of other cities around the world that have reimagined existing infrastructure to create pedestrian-centred destinations such as New York City’s High Line or London’s Camden Highline.
“As Toronto becomes denser, obtaining land for community uses and open space have become more and more challenging,” a press release reads. “Finding imaginative ways to create community much beloved civic spaces has never been more important-by transforming single use infrastructure into new urban multi-use assets-creating enlighten infrastructure.”
Under Farrow’s proposal, the Bloor Viaduct would become a vibrant, bustling space with what is calls “micro market retail” selling fresh produce, flowers, food, and more. There would also be space for live music performances, and a variety of seating options. Public washrooms would be on either end of the viaduct.
A proposed elevator and staircase on the viaduct’s eastern pier would allow Bloor Street to connect directly with the valley trail system down below.
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Of course the viaduct still needs to accommodate vehicles, but the proposed plan recommends a few changes. The road would be reconfigured to three lanes of traffic, one of which would be for parking during off-peak traffic times. There would also be two bike lanes on either side of the roadway.
The plans have not yet been formally considered by the City, but with Torontonians always wanting more useable outdoor space, it’s likely to garner some attention.