The Boulevard Makes its Comeback Along Toronto’s Waterfront

“Despite long ago having fallen from favour among North American city planners and traffic engineers, the multi-lane, multi-use, tree-lined avenue will soon return to our fair burg,” writes Christopher Hume.

November 24, 2012, 11:00 AM PST

By Erica Gutiérrez


Thanks to Waterfront Toronto, the tripartite agency responsible for the transformation of Queens Quay, “[w]hat’s now a messy and dysfunctional downtown thoroughfare will become an elegant street shared equally by cars, public transit, pedestrians, cyclists — and trees,” reports Hume. The project has been in the pipeline for years, but is finally breaking ground and will be under-construction for at least two years. “From a larger civic perspective, the transformation is also a milestone” asserts Hume, stating that “[s]ince the 1930s, traffic engineers have avoided boulevards because they are thought to be at odds with their preferred 'functional' approach.”

Dutch landscape architect, Adriaan Geuze, who’s firm West 8 won the international redesign competition for Queens Quay in 2006, will transform what he refers to as “the waterfront boulevard” in Toronto, from an "dangerous" place full of potential and in dire need of improvement, to one that is still bustling, but friendlier for all users. “In North America,” Geuze says, “people are totally dependent on the car. So they’re used to the car being prioritized. We’re not against cars, but we do want to make more space for pedestrians and cyclists. We want transit to be totally integrated. We want pedestrians to hang around. We have to live together. These things should be celebrated.”

“Though Queens Quay won't become a boulevard in the classic sense, it will look and act like a boulevard. There will be two traffic lanes, down from four, and the remaining space will be given to bicycles, streetcars, walkways and several rows of trees.” writes Hume. He lauds Toronto for not shying away from complexity in its land use policies, but instead embracing it, something he sees as critical as thc city continues to grow.

Friday, November 16, 2012 in The Star

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

3 hours ago - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

4 hours ago - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

5 hours ago - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.