Tuesday, September 25, 2007

'All aboard' call for railway bridge restaurant - CBC News

'All aboard' call for railway bridge restaurant
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | 7:37 AM ET
CBC News

The developer behind the restoration of Toronto's midtown railway station and Summerhill clock tower wants to build a 100-seat restaurant spanning the Canadian Pacific Railway overpass, right over Yonge Street.

Diners would look south through the heart of the city, while sitting right next to passing freight trains.

Canadian Pacific has signed on and Woodcliffe Development Corp. hopes to get city approvals for a 2009 opening.

"We're proposing to build on an active railway bridge, over Yonge Street, and that doesn't occur every day," said developer Paul Oberman as he showed off a model of his glass-walled restaurant.

He said the restaurant will be "somewhat reminiscent of the original canopies that were there when the train station was in use back in the teens and 20s."

Oberman said it's taken the railway, neighbours and the city some time to warm up to the idea of putting diners on a working rail overpass.

"You see down this corridor of buildings straight down Yonge Street to the lake on a clear day, and at night you see a ribbon of lights in both directions."

Jennifer Ayres of the Summerhill Residents Association is skeptical.

"I just couldn't understand someone spending $200 a plate to be shaken to bits sitting on the top of that platform there.

"My house shakes, especially in the wintertime, and I cannot see any kind of engineering that would change that type of vibration when you are actually on the bridge," she said.

To receive final city approval Oberman still needs to address zoning, safety and parking issues.
I must say that this is an interesting proposal and can't think of another location in Toronto where its been done at this scale, but this is an example of where the public and private interests are in conflict. One cannot blame Mr. Oberman for wanting to develop the property - he's a developer and that's his job. However, North Toronto station has the potential to become an important transit centre.

Railway corridors radiating from it reach the northeastern and northwestern corners of the city, which are currently some of the most difficult to access by transit. Under my GTTA transit proposal, trains from no less than five services would call at the station. The station will be used under Move Ontario 2020. This location is too important to be developed in a way that prevents its use as a railway station, and the city and provincial government should do everything in its power to protect it for this purpose.

A diverse collection of restaurants is important for a city to be vibrant, but what's the point if its not livable?

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4 Comments:

At 9/27/2007 11:57 AM , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

In response to Don Verbanac's comments:

Yes, dampers could be used to lessen the vibrations from the trains, but that doesn't change the fact that you'll be five feet from a railway line.

 
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