Category Archives: Construction

Construction Update November 17

Here’s the latest construction update for Roncesvalles Avenue. Please remember that schedules are subject to change.

==Enbridge==

As we’ve reported before, Enbridge Gas needs to come to Roncesvalles to do some work on the gas main from Howard Park Avenue south to Geoffrey St. The BIA had been very concerned that Enbridge would be coming on site during December, creating disruptions for our retailers during this very important shopping season.

We are happy to report that Enbridge will not be coming to Roncesvalles before January 10, 2011. Their work is not expected to take longer than six weeks.

We would like to thank Daphne Wee and Councillor Perks for intervening on behalf of the BIA to preserve the holiday season for our members.

Because Enbridge’s work might involve some work on the east side of the street, sidewalk and road work on the east side of Roncesvalles between Howard Park Avenue and Grenadier will not proceed until after Enbridge’s work is complete.

The BIA is requesting that Enbridge accommodate two-way traffic and transit during their work.

==Sanscon==

Sanscon is in the process of temporarily regrading the west side of Roncesvalles between Geoffrey and Grenadier and between Marmaduke and Howard Park Avenue. These sections of road will receive a temporary asphalt patch and will be open until Enbridge is working on them.

Additional crews are expected to come on board soon to speed up the work. Sanscon is determined to complete as much of their work as possible before December 3.

Businesses north of Howard Park Avenue should expect sidewalk and road replacement to begin within a week, possibly within a few days.

Today Sanscon began excavation south of Fermanagh Avenue, and will continue working in the south end over the next few weeks. We cannot predict how much they will manage to get done before wrapping up on December 3.

Sanscon has committed to not break up sidewalk or road that they cannot complete by December 3. This means that every business on Roncesvalles should have sidewalk and unobstructed access to their store from December 3 on.

Two-way traffic and transit is expected to resume on Roncesvalles on December 3 also.

We have requested that any road paving that needs to be done be timed to avoid our busy weekends in December. There is a possibility that some paving may be done over a few days during the week of Monday December 6.

If you have special requests or needs when Sanscon is working on your block, please don’t hesitate to ask the workers for your help. Sanscon has been very responsive to individual requests with respect to schedules, wider ramps, and so on.

==Work Through December==

There will be small scale work occuring on the street in December. This may involve things like: laying interlocking bricks, repairing private walkways on the west side, installing some street furniture and bike posts, and the like. None of this is expected to cause significant disruption to the street or to traffic flow.

==Completion of Work==

As mentioned above, Enbridge’s work will delay the completion of road and sidewalk in the north end. Additionally, it is likely that a few blocks in the south end of Roncesvalles will not be completed by our deadline of December 3.

Because concrete cannot be poured in very cold weather, and asphalt is difficult to obtain in the winter, Sanscon will not likely return to Roncesvalles for heavy work before April 2011.

Construction Update November 8

Hello everyone:

Here is the latest update for construction on Roncesvalles. Please remember that schedules are subject to change.

==Enbridge==

The BIA, the City and the contractor have been putting significant pressure on Enbridge to complete their work on Roncesvalles, and to limit the scope of their work to only what is necessary for safety’s sake. They have completed their testing and should be starting shortly.

Enbridge will be doing gas main work on the west side of Roncesvalles from Howard Park Avenue down to Geoffrey Street over the next while. They have limited their work to the west side. There will be no gas main work occurring on the east side of the street.

==West Sidewalk Work==

Sidewalk work is now substantially complete on the west side up to Howard Park Avenue. All that remains is the completion of two platforms at Grenadier and Howard Park Avenue. These will be completed after Enbridge finishes its work.

==East Sidewalk Work This Week==

Work began last Wednesday on the sidewalk from Grenadier down to Geoffrey and continued today down to Westminster.

There have been a few delays on the Grenadier to Geoffrey block that have been admittedly frustrating. One involved a subcontractor who was not ready to complete his work. This work should be finished imminently, if it is not already done.

Work on the Grenadier to Geoffrey block is further complicated by the complexity of the layout. The sidewalk here includes a platform and a tree trench and therefore will take somewhat longer than normal to complete. The BIA is pushing for quick completion of sidewalk here to ensure easier access to stores.

Sidewalk replacement is expected to continue south to Fermanagh Avenue as the week progresses.

==East Sidewalk Work: Next Steps==

Sanscon will either continue south of Fermanagh or start from Howard Park Avenue and work south to Grenadier starting next week. Which work gets done will depend on outside contractors and their schedules. We will make every effort to keep you informed.

Some blocks on the east side are expected to take longer to complete than others because of the complexity of the underlying work.

==Bike Rings==

Sanscon will begin the installation of new bike rings in the next few weeks.

==What Is Expected To Be Complete By December 4==

Sanscon is still on target to get the vast majority of the street complete by December 4. This should include all sidewalk, road bed and paving south of Howard Park Avenue. Extra crews are on site to finish work in a timely manner.

Completion of sidewalk and road work north of Howard Park Avenue will likely be a few days beyond that.

New garbage cans and TTC shelters are expected in early 2011. Other street furniture will follow, like new lamp standards, and trees are expected to be planted in early spring 2011.

Small scale final details, like fine concrete work around planters, will also occur in spring 2011.

==Damage==

There have been a few instances of minor damage to storefront walkways (cracked tiles, for example) and one instance of a slightly damaged overhead sign, as work has progressed on the east side of the street.

Sanscon is keeping track of this (as are we!) and they have committed to repairing such damage to private property over the coming weeks and months.

Thanks very much,

Keith Denning

Coordinator, Roncesvalles Village BIA

(416) 537-2701

Construction Update October 6

Here is the latest construction update for Roncesvalles Avenue. Please remember that dates and schedules are subject to change.

Howard Park Intersection

The Howard Park Avenue intersection opened up on schedule this morning at 5:00 a.m. Buses now run all the way up Roncesvalles with no diversions.

TTC is continuing to restring overhead wires for streetcars along Howard Park and is expected to finish this work Friday and open the intersection completely on Saturday October 9. On Friday they will start running test cars along Howard Park Avenue, and normal operation of the 506 Carlton car to High Park should resume shortly thereafter.

North of Howard Park

All track work here is complete, and Sanscon has paved the gap between track and road and cleaned up. Southbound traffic restrictions from Dundas should end on Friday October 9 with the completion of TTC wire work in the Howard Park intersection.

Completion of Track Work

Track work is proceeding well. TTC has brought in the final section of rail, and Sanscon has made track completion a top priority. They are aiming to have their concrete work on track completed around October 18, which is roughly a week ahead of their earlier projections.

The block from Grenadier to Constance should open in the next few days, and from Constance to Marmaduke in about a week.

Gas Main Work

Enbridge has expressed concerns about the gas main that runs up the west side of Roncesvalles between Marmaduke to Howard Park.

Apparently the main here is quite shallow and there are long term safety concerns because of this. Shortly after October 18, Enbridge will come in to replace that section of gas main, lowering it and making it safer. Early estimates are that the whole process should take roughly a week.

At this point, we are expecting only very brief interruptions to gas service on this block as services are switched from the old main to the new one. We are working with the contractor and Enbridge to make sure that gas service interruption is minimal, and is timed to meet the needs of businesses, particularly the seven restaurants and the laundromat on this block.

We are told that Enbridge will have staff on site to relight pilot lights promptly after the service switch.

Sidewalk and Road Work

Sidewalk work is resuming this week.

While we do not yet have a detailed schedule, we do have a general idea of what you can expect when sidewalk work resumes in earnest:

1) Several crews will be at work. Work will proceed as follows: sidewalk removal, grading and forming, pouring, road regrading and refinishing.

2) The work zone will be several blocks long but will move quickly. For sidewalk, each block is expected to take roughly three to four days to complete, and they will be working on several blocks concurrently.

3) Sanscon has changed their plans for sidewalk work to a faster, more efficient model. They will be going up the west side of Roncesvalles and then down the east side. This should get the work done more quickly.

4) Road work will follow behind sidewalk work. This will involve regrading and pouring the concrete road base. Once the road base has cured, you will be able to drive and park on this.

5) Asphalt crews to do the final road resurfacing will not follow immediately behind other work, but rather will come in intermittently to resurface a number of blocks at once.

Buses and Streetcars

Buses will continue to run until TTC is ready to resume streetcars, which they tell us will be December 19.

Construction Update September 20, 2010

Here is the latest update on Roncesvalles construction. Please remember that this information is subject to change.

==Howard Park Intersection Closure==

As has been reported a number of times, the intersection of Howard Park and Roncesvalles was closed late last night (September 19) and will remain closed until the morning of October 6. During this time Sanscon and TTC will be replacing the complicated track work there and replacing the overhead wires.

Howard Park Avenue will be largely closed from Dundas to Sunnyside. This closure will provide a staging area and work area for the work. Access to the Howard School parking lot will be largely maintained, both for use of school staff and (evenings and weekends) the public.

Roncesvalles Avenue will be closed to all but local traffic from Grenadier to Howard Park Avenue. Northbound access to Roncesvalles from Ritchie Avenue will be maintained.

Northbound 504 buses will divert along High Park Boulevard, up Parkside, and along Bloor to Dundas West Station. Southbound 504 buses will be unaffected.

The 506 Carlton car will divert up to Dundas West Station.

Pedestrian access through the intersection will be maintained, although there will be likely diversions around the work zone.

The important pedestrian crossing at Marmaduke will be maintained as much as possible. The City, contractor and Howard Public School staff have met and have made arrangements with respect to crosswalks and student safety.

TTC is storing prebuilt track panels on Roncesvalles between Constance and Marmaduke beginning Sept. 19, and panels will also be stored on Howard Park Avenue, both east and west of Roncesvalles.

Northbound access to Roncesvalles from Ritchie will be maintained. All other affected sidestreets (Boustead, Hewitt, Marmaduke, Neepawa, Constance) will have no access to Roncesvalles and will be two-way.

The Howard Park intersection is expected to be open on Wednesday October 6.

==Scope and Progress of Work==

The main focus of this work will be the replacement of track at the intersection. Track will also be replaced along Howard Park Avenue for a distance of approximately 60 meters east and west of Roncesvalles. This will replace somewhat worn track on Howard Park caused by braking streetcars.

(The whole run of track on Howard Park Avenue was last replaced in 1995, but in areas where there is frequent braking the track wears down more quickly.)

Track north of Howard Park Avenue on Roncesvalles is nearly complete and will be finished along with the intersection.

==Completion of Track Work==

As reported earlier, the final piece of track work will proceed south from Howard Park Avenue to meet the completed track just south of Constance Avenue.

Track work began on July 13 and is expected to be complete in late October, which meets the original projection for the duration of track work of roughly 3 to 3 ½ months.

Again, once track work is complete, two-way traffic and transit will resume on Roncesvalles Avenue.

==Sidewalk Work==

Sidewalk work between Marion and Pearson on the west side of the street was completed this week. West side sidewalk from Queen to about 50 meters south of Marion is also complete.

The contractor acknowledges that they are behind their initial schedule with respect to sidewalk work. The BIA has expressed its concerns about this, as well as the concerns of businesses and residents in the neighbourhood about this delay.

At our latest meeting, Sanscon reported that once track work was substantially done they would put all their efforts into sidewalk and road repair. They have stated that they expect to be able to catch up and complete the work by their initial deadline.

Again, should Sanscon not complete sidewalk work by December 3, they will clean up and leave Roncesvalles for the winter, providing us with a good holiday shopping season. This was written into the contract at the request of the RVBIA to protect this important shopping season for the retailers of Roncesvalles Village.

==Street Sweeping/Cleaning==

Sanscon continues to flush the street regularly. While acknowledging this, the BIA has expressed dissatisfaction with the results. Sanscon has since put in an asphalt patch which now runs up the east side of Roncesvalles between the new track and old road. This substantially cuts down on dust and gravel, and a recent sweeping has helped in parts of the street. We note that there are still sections of the curb lane that are very gravelly in the south end and we will continue to request more sweeping until this situation is satisfactory.

Sanscon has also indicated that they will continue to flush the street regularly and also put an asphalt patch along the west side of the street, which should help more.

==Questions==

A few questions have emerged about certain features of the work.

1) Why is the new track at a different grade in places compared to the old track?

In order to accommodate the new transit platforms, and also to get the height of new curbs right (that is, about 6 inches), the road will have to be regraded in certain areas of the street. The new grade of the road will meet the new grade of the track.

2) Why does the track move in and out, and not just in a straight line?

The track moves slightly towards the curb to meet the transit platforms to allow for level boarding of streetcars. This maintains a proper width of road for

3) What are those green things sticking out of the ground?

waterhydrant.jpg These are the new BIA-operated watering hydrants (see photo), which will help us to maintain the new trees and flower beds that are coming to Roncesvalles Avenue. There will be one watering hydrant at each new transit platform, for a total of twelve up and down the street.

Thank you,

Keith Denning

Coordinator, Roncesvalles Village BIA

(416) 537-2701

Three Suggestions For Better Construction

Over the past few months, the Roncesvalles Village BIA has been contacted by many political candidates to get our view on construction in the City of Toronto.

The Roncesvalles Village BIA is staunchly non-partisan, and so we are offering the following recommendations regarding construction to anyone who cares to read them.

1) The City of Toronto must establish and enforce deadlines on all City contracts with meaningful penalties for late completion.

One of the most disruptive elements of construction is the uncertainty that it brings to a community. When a contractor faces no penalty for not completing work according to a schedule that they agree to and often set themselves, the only people who suffer are the residents and businesspeople in the community. This appears to be the case in Toronto, all too frequently.

Many other municipalities in the GTA do enforce late penalties in their contracts, and contractors frequently have simultaneous jobs with several municipalities. Logically, contracts without enforced late penalties take a back seat to those that do. Toronto’s neighbourhoods deserve to be on an equal footing with other communities in southern Ontario. The City of Toronto must establish and enforce deadlines on its contracts.

2) The City of Toronto must take responsibility for damages done to properties as a result of construction.

It is unfair in the extreme that small businesses be required to navigate difficult legal waters to redress damage done to their properties by as a result of City contracted work. After all, the contractor is hired by the City!

Often a small business owner cannot afford expensive legal help, and must pursue compensation alone. Often a claim can take years to settle. For a property/business owner suffering loss of business due to construction, delays in compensation can be financially devastating. The City of Toronto is in a better position to hold contractors to account than individual business or property owners.

The City of Toronto can and should quickly assess all claims for property damage, promptly compensate the property owner for damages resulting from City contracted work, and, if need be, pursue the contractor for damages itself.

3) The City of Toronto needs a construction czar.

A construction czar would oversee construction in the City of Toronto, avoiding disruptive overlap of projects, such as currently affect Roncesvalles Village at large. At the same time as Roncesvalles Avenue is undergoing significant construction, many smaller construction projects are affecting side streets and arterial roads throughout our neighbourhood, creating tremendous and unnecessary disruption. In our view, this can be and should be avoided in Toronto’s communities.

A construction czar should also oversee the several contracts that a single contractor may have with the City at the same time, with the goal of concentrating a contractor’s efforts on a single job at one time to get it done quickly. In our view this would help to reduce the length of construction jobs everywhere.

We know that construction is an unavoidable part of life in Toronto, and that many contractors and City staff do fine work. As our neighbourhood’s cheeky shop local posters say: “Construction Sucks, but we totally understand, it needs to be done.” We believe in collaboration, not conflict. In general, Roncesvalles Village has benefitted from good collaboration between the City, various contractors, the BIA and our local Residents’ Associations. We are convinced that the trials of construction in Roncesvalles Village would be much worse without the good relationships we have helped to foster.

Nevertheless, we believe that these three points should be taken to heart by any City administration that seeks to create policies that would minimize the disruption that construction brings to its neighbourhoods. 

Tony Cauch

Chair, Roncesvalles Village BIA