By Amaan Jabbar
After years of consultation with residents and local businesses, the City of Toronto has released its preferred transportation master plan for Highland Creek Village. With the goal of addressing many transportation issues, the master plan aims to improve the public realm by creating a pedestrian-friendly environment and implementing changes on the roads to improve traffic flow. This would create a community with less automobile dependence and higher walkability levels.
To establish the long-term vision of Highland Creek Village into a mixed-use, revitalized community, lots of investment and time is needed. There are five main projects proposed for this community.
Project 1: Military Trail Traffic Signal
The improvements for this project include a new signalized intersection at Military Road and Highway 2A, which involves closure of the Military Trail accesses and ramps. It also includes streetscape improvements to enhance the character of the village and the inclusion of parallel parking on Military Trail. Cycling connections between Military Trail and Lawson Road will also be created. This phase is expected to happen in less than 10 years, with an anticipated cost of $1.12 million. The new T intersection will allow drivers going eastbound or westbound on Highway 2A to access Highland Creek Village. Transit users, cyclists, and pedestrians will benefit from these changes.
Project 2: Old Kingston Road Streetscape
This section of Highland Creek Village will see streetscape improvements which include replacing the current angled parking on Old Kingston Road with parallel parking on Old Kingston Road and Morrish Road. This will allow more room for pedestrians and will address safety concerns. Also, a reconfiguration of the intersection of Kingston Road and Old Kingston Road is proposed to allow people going in either direction on Kingston Road to access the Highland Creek Village. The anticipated timing for this is about ten years and will cost about $2.94 million.
Project 3: New Laneway
A new laneway is proposed between Military Trail and Morrish Road. This will provide rear access for service and delivery vehicles away from Old Kingston Road. This will be done in approximately10 years at a cost of about $530,000.
Project 4: Re-Alignment of Kingston Road and Morrish Road
This project involves a road realignment that will result in the closure of Kingston Road and Morrish Road ramps/accesses. Drivers on Morrish Rd south will meet a loop connection to Kingston Rd. through to Old Kingston Rd.. This phase involves streetscape improvements, like lights, trees and benches, and parallel parking on Kingston Road on and Morrish Road. This project is expected to take 10-20 years and cost about $2.77 million.
Project 5: Highland Creek Overpass
This project includes the removal of the Highland Creek Overpass and the regrading and improving of surrounding lands to develop an at-grade intersection with traffic lights. This will replace the existing on and off-ramps to/from Highway 2A eastbound and westbound. Highway 2A will be converted to an arterial road near Military Trail and near the former overpass. This project’s anticipated timing is 10-20 years, costing approximately $10.56 million.
Projects may overlap
This is an ambitious project for the Highland Creek Village and will bring about significant changes to the community. It takes into account the growing future of Highland Creek Village. This plan will open up existing highway lands for redevelopment, implement changes to accommodate traffic demand, take into consideration the influx of people and jobs, and create a complete community supportive of transit, pedestrians, and cycling infrastructure.
Transportation Engineer Philp Morse says phases of these projects may overlap depending on how developments are advancing in Highland Creek. He notes the overpass currently has a lifespan of ten years or more and removal will depend on how quickly the bridge deteriorates.
The plan is available for review at www.toronto.ca/hcvtransportation.ca.