With a newly designed fleet of streetcars set to begin taking over from the older vehicles in early 2014, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is currently progressing on a storage and maintenance location for the new, low-floor cars. The facility, named Leslie Barns, is being erected at the corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East in the city’s east end. The project will include a new green roof, a stormwater management pond, streetscaping along Leslie and Queen St, new lighting, newly widened sidewalks, and hundreds of new trees and plantings.
The location for the project was picked from a group of six possible sites, and its acquisition was approved by City Council in late 2009. The site was chosen based on its proximity to the existing Queen St Line; its vacancy; its size; its existing industrial and commercial land uses; and because it was favoured by the surrounding community.
In fact, community feedback has played a significant role in the design of the Leslie Barns project throughout. For example, in the fall of 2012, meetings were held with City of Toronto Cycling Staff to study possible improvements to the links between Queen St and the waterfront, as well as to make Leslie St safer for cyclist. In June of 2013, the Leslie Barns Community Office was opened to ensure easy and frequent communication between area residents and the TTC.
The inclusion of the connection track from Queen Street to the storage facility will necessitate the replacement, relocation, and rehabilitation of several pieces of aging infrastructure. The existing storm culvert on the south side of Lake Shore will be replaced, while the culvert on the north side will be rehabilitated with glass-reinforcement plastic (GRP) Liner. Sewers will be replaced, watermain extended, and all sanitary and water services to businesses and residents along Leslie St within the existing road right-of-way will be replaced.
In short, the TTC is painting Leslie Barns as not only a vital addition to the city’s streetcar system, but as something of a facelift for the entire surrounding neighbourhood. Enhanced streetscaping and plenty of new trees will make for a safer, more walkable area, at the same time as providing a maintenance facility for more efficient and accessible streetcars.