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.

2 minute read

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

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

View from back of BART Police SUV driving down street in San Francisco, California.

Podcast: Addressing the Root Causes of Transit Violence

Deploying transit police is a short-term fix. How can transit agencies build sustainable safety efforts?

17 minutes ago - Streetsblog USA

Sunset view of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skyline.

Minneapolis as a Model for Housing Affordability

Through a combination of policies, the city has managed to limit the severity of the nationwide housing crisis.

1 hour ago - Brown Political Review

Row of yellow Pacers Bikeshare bikes at station in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indy Bikeshare System Turns 10, Expands to E-Bikes

Pacers Bikeshare riders logged over 700,000 rides since the system launched in 2014.

2 hours ago - Indy Today

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R 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.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.