Having taken a look at the new plan, there's a lot to like in the materials (finally getting scalloped glass somewhere in this city is exciting) and the POPS connections, but I'd like to share an idea on how I think the dedicated park space could be better integrated and activate the area as a whole to make it vibrant and exciting. Please keep in mind this is wishful thinking! I'm not taking into account the complexities of the idea.
Next to the public park is the blank wall of 38 Elm street, circled in red:
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Obviously this isn't really ideal, as the park will feel darker and built over. It's also unfortunate that neither side provides any type of retail activation and just generally box in what should be pleasant park space. Of course neither site was conceived with the idea a park would be going here; but I feel there is a really important opportunity to give this space life over just being another boxed in park like the YMCA park nearby.
Let's start by saying, I share your concern about darkness/narrowness; It's not how I would have chosen to site a park here (errr, I wouldn't have, given a choice, I would have taken the park off-site, but hey, not my choice!
I would note though, as opposed to the YMCA, this park will at least be open on two sides, with the POPS directly to the north.
With the owner of the land at 335 Yonge (the lot with all the food stalls) currently looking to build a condo/sell the land, those businesses face an uncertain future. I believe this space would make a perfect permanent place for them to relocate to. The businesses there do quite well, and I can foresee the huge outcry in the future when they are forced to move, so I think it'd be best to plan a move early.
With Elm street being an already well known food street off Yonge, and the disappointingly small amount of retail space provided in the current plan here; that space feels perfectly suited to not only upgrade things for the current tenants of the lot at 335 Yonge, but also allow for more seating and provide more space and opportunity for up and coming restaurateurs like them.
If anyone else feels like this is a good idea let me know, I'm tempted to email some councilors about it, as I think it's an entirely valid use of the park space as it's not only enliven the food culture of Toronto but providing the spaces for those already established in the current market at 335 Yonge. This isn't even saying some space can't be left for some greenery either, it's quite a wide space that I think shouldn't be left to waste.
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I like the gist of your idea............but it won't happen here.
That food stall site is ~6000ft2; the proposed park is ~8000ft2
So to replace all or most of it here would be to make the park 75% commercial space and hardscape.
I not only can't envision Parks agreeing to it; I don't believe they could legally (I don't think that would pass muster under the Parks/Openspace zoning, in which commercial can be an ancillary use)
But I like your proactive thinking.............here's a notion............the Toronto Coach Terminal is about to come up for redevelopment. It's also very nearby.
The City could ask that space be provided within the new building's storefronts; and mandate retail along Edward Street, the sort of street that normally wouldn't get any retail; which would mean the possibility of lower rent.
Keep in mind the City is the owner of the site, and so can dictate terms of sale.
Also, the current Edward Street frontage is set up to allow inter-city coach buses (it's abnormally wide); I would normally advocate for wholesale narrowing of about 2-3M.
But you know you could mix some narrowing with some food truck stalls, without impinging on room for 2-way traffic at all.............
Just a thought.
By comparison, Elm Street is a bit less than 11M curb to curb.