Bring On the Condos and Construction

There is no shortage of Liberty Village “haters” out there. Take to Twitter or Facebook for enough time and you will stumble across a rant about there being “too much construction” or “way too much traffic” or “too little public transit” or “too few good restaurants”. There are times when all of these complaints might be true in Liberty Village, especially the traffic one.

I won’t lie, I used to be a Liberty Village “hater”. For years I lived on the edge of what I felt to be a poorly planned mix of a few townhomes, a single condo building (the first being 50 Lynn Williams St) and stripmalls. I lived across from it on King St W and would head over to the Metro (which used to be a Dominion) for groceries, but I was always thankful that I didn’t live in Liberty Village and swore that I never would. Well, I was wrong.

I do live in Liberty Village now and did move here from King West, a little over a year ago. Things have changed here quite a bit, mostly for the better and sometimes for the more difficult. There are currently 6 condo buildings in existence and about 467 stacked townhouse units in Liberty Village, housing approximately 2500 residents.

The construction complaints stem from the fact that there are no fewer than 6 new condo buildings currently under construction with at least 3-6 more buildings being marketed and planned for. Let’s add another 3000-4000 new residents within the next 2 years and see how things go with that pesky traffic!

Liberty Village is a great example of the importance of urban planning and an example of the challenges  a master-planned community faces. Currently, there are a limited number of ways in and out of Liberty Village, via Strachan/East Liberty Street or one of the small streets off King or Dufferin. Whether you are walking, driving, biking, or taking transit, you are probably on (East) Liberty Street coming and going from this area. The area is bordered on 2 sides by two rail lines and the Gardiner Expressway. Gridlock and traffic congestion is becoming a real issue in Liberty Village.

There has been talk for a few years now of plans to add a new road to Liberty Village, as well as a pedestrian/cycling tunnel or bridge across the train tracks. This will be something to watch in the years to come and there are significant challenges to overcome before these plans ever become a reality, most of this has to do with a cash-strapped City of Toronto and a lack of funds for these types of projects.

So, in truth, things will be tough for a while. There are a lot more people moving to Liberty Village over the next couple of years. I think that’s great. More residents should bring newer and better local amenities…this should equal more choice and better options. This should also put some pressure on the City to improve an infrastructure that was never designed to accommodate the volume we will be seeing.

I see good things coming…

Michael Camber (part of the Camber Walden Group) has been moving residents in and out of Liberty Village since 2003. For more info or to contact him visit the Camber Walden Group.

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