Category Archives: Construction

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

Construction On Roncesvalles Moving Quickly

A little more than a month into the second and final round of construction, residents and shopkeepers in Roncesvalles Village are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Track work is proceeding quickly. Comments like “Wow, they’re moving fast!” are commonly heard.

Track is in place on nearly half the street, and sidewalk replacement and road repair has begun in the south end. Several blocks are open in the south end, with more opening soon.

The BIA, residents’ associations, City staff and Sanscon Construction meet biweekly and confer nearly daily to deal with problems as they come up.

While construction is never trouble-free, Sanscon has made significant efforts to accommodate normal life in Roncesvalles Village, opening up the street as quickly as they can, accommodating weddings and funerals, providing barricades and an extra-wide pedestrian bridge for the Polish Credit Union’s 65th anniversary party, helping with parking, garbage and delivery, and taking pedestrian access and dust control on Roncesvalles seriously.

To address concerns that the BIA had over parking and access to shops, Sanscon has made efforts to limit the extent of the road closure for track work while getting track work done as quickly as possible so that the street can open up.

Track work is at its very height right now, with active track work in five blocks in the south end and two blocks at the north end. But progress has been quick, and we are looking forward to the expected resumption of two-way traffic and transit on Roncesvalles in late September.

Construction inevitably brings its share of headaches; however, there is a growing positive attitude on the street. As Rob Rostecki, owner of Rostecki’s Pharmacy (313 Roncesvalles Avenue), quipped about the challenges of construction: “One year of suck is worth fifty years of awesome.” Echoing this, Sara Filmore of Planet Kid (87 Roncesvalles Avenue) said: “I’m excited that they’re finally underway. It’s going to be fantastic when it’s done.”

Construction Update, August 16 2010

Hello everyone:

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

Track work is proceeding well on Roncesvalles, and is currently on schedule for completion in late September.

==South End Track Work==

Track work is complete up to Galley, and the blocks from Marion to Galley are open for short term parking and deliveries. The contractor expects to be able to open up the blocks from Galley to Fern this weekend, and open the Garden and Fern intersections.

==North End Track Work==

At present excavation has stopped at Geoffrey. Beginning August 17, track work will proceed up to just south of Grenadier Road. Grenadier will remain open for the time being.

==Track Work North Of Howard Park==

In order to keep on schedule, the contractor has made a change to their original plans for track work. Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday August 17, track installation will begin north of Howard Park Avenue to Dundas. This should be complete in roughly one week. During this time, one lane northbound will be maintained. The west-side intersections of Hewitt and Boustead will be closed and these streets will be made two-way. The City has sent notifications to affected residents (see attachment.)

==Roncesvalles and Dundas Intersection==

On August 23, as we’ve already reported, intersection track work will begin at the intersection of Dundas and Roncesvalles. This is expected to last about two weeks.

From August 23 to 30: One lane northbound on Dundas through this intersection. No northbound from Roncesvalles, no southbound to Roncesvalles or Dundas. 504 buses will divert along Howard Park Avenue, Parkside and Bloor to Dundas West Station.

From August 30 to September 7: One lane northbound on Dundas through this intersection, one lane southbound on Roncesvalles through this intersection.

==Staging On Roncesvalles South of Howard Park==

Very early this morning three trailers loaded with pre-assembled TTC track were backed down Roncesvalles from Bloor to be stored on Roncesvalles between Marmaduke and Howard Park Avenue. This track is the southern part of the intersection track for Roncesvalles and Dundas. Installation of this track is to begin this coming Monday, August 23.

These trailers will be stored on Roncesvalles for about ten days.

Of course, the BIA has tried to find alternatives to this inconvenience. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any. These pieces of track need to be south of the excavation in order to be installed, and the loaded trailers are too long to safely make tight turns, according to TTC staff. Also, the loaded trailers are too wide to come up Roncesvalles through the construction zone.

==Final Track Work==

Track work at the Howard Park Avenue intersection is expected to begin after September 16. The final run of track on Roncesvalles will be from Grenadier to Howard Park Avenue.

Once track work is complete, two-way traffic and buses will resume on all of Roncesvalles.

Construction Update, August 7 2010

This is day 24 of construction, and we have a few updates. Please remember that schedules and timelines are approximate and subject to change.

==Work Progress==

Harvard to Marion: track is complete. West side sidewalk work begins next week.

Marion to Pearson: the final layer of concrete is done. Opening up soon.

Pearson to Galley: the final layer of concrete is done. Opening up soon.

Galley to Garden: track is laid in and the second layer of concrete is being poured

Garden to Fern: the first layer of concrete is poured and track is ready for placement

Fern to Westminster: excavation and grading

Westminster to Geoffrey: sawcutting in preparation for excavation

You can expect the track work zone to expand a bit more before it starts to contract, but it will start shrinking soon. Each stage of track work requires nearly a block: sawcutting, excavation, grading, initial layer of concrete, track installation, second and third concrete layers. That’s about six blocks in total.

==Opening Up Roncesvalles==

People have expressed concern about the progress of the work, because right now there is no street parking from Harvard up to Westminster and the work zone is getting longer and longer. We have had a conversation about this today with the president of Sanscon, and stressed the importance of opening up the street wherever possible. Here’s where we stand:

The block from Harvard to Marion will remain one lane northbound for about three weeks while Sanscon does west side road repair and sidewalk work. (Sidewalk work will start there next week.)

As track work is completed north of Marion things will start to open up. Sanscon has poured the final layer of concrete from Marion to Galley, and as soon as the concrete has cured (about two days after pouring) they will open up those blocks. So we expect parking to return to Roncesvalles from Marion to Galley early next week, and as track work is completed north of there the street will continue to open up. We expect that the track work zone will be roughly five to six blocks long as it progresses up the street, sometimes longer, and sometimes shorter.

Parking restrictions will return to limited areas of the street where sidewalk and road work is occurring.

==West Side Intersection Closures==

Marion Street: open

Pearson Ave. will open in the next few days

Galley Ave. will open in the next few days

Garden Ave.: will open in about a week

Fern, Wright, High Park: will gradually open over the next three weeks

As excavation proceeds north, you can expect the west side intersections of Westminster and Geoffrey to close. Residents and businesses will be notified by the City as this time approaches.

There will be additional intersection closures when the contractor is doing road repair, but these are expected to be brief.