Bayview sidewalk to be torn up

[attach]5992[/attach]Merchants along Bayview Avenue are bracing for another round of sidewalk construction work set for later this year.

Following up repair work done in the fall of 2011, the city is preparing to replace the tree boxes currently lining the commercial strip from Parkhurst Boulevard to Millwood Road with permanent trees to be planted at street level with the goal of increasing the tree canopy.

“That sounds great,” says Brian Callahan who spoke to the Town Crier while walking along Bayview. “If it would make the street look good, I’d be for it.”

However, some aren’t pleased with the plan.

“Not everyone wants to enjoy a beer on a patio with a jack hammer in their ear,” says McSorely’s general manager Avery Barker.

And while Sal Badali of Badali’s Fruit Market says he understands construction is sometimes necessary and this project shouldn’t take long, he is still concerned with the impact on local business.

“It’s a great street but if people can’t get to it, it will hurt,” says Badali.

Badali and The Merchant of Tennis’ Scott Switzer say they’re also worried the project will make the existing parking problems on the street even worse.

“Construction exacerbates the issue,” says Switzer.

Badali says local businesses are also hit with a loss of patrons, as many people are leaving Bayview to shop at the big box stores on Laird Drive.

Elyse Parker, director of the public realm section of Toronto transportation services, says she doesn’t anticipate the project will have a negative impact on businesses along Bayview.

“This is not a large scale construction,” she says. “It’s quite simple.”

In addition to the trees, there will be a reorganization of the existing street furniture such as benches and garbage cans to make it easier for everyone to navigate around it. Currently the layout of the street’s furniture and trees is not wheelchair accessible, nor is it easy for large strollers.

The trees were originally intended to go in last year, but the sidewalk repair work in the fall of 2011 did not allow for permanent pavement and tree planting at that time, due to existing contract and time restrictions.

A timeline of the work has yet to be determined but it is expected to take place later in the year, says city staff. The street currently has asphalt patches where the trees will be going.

This is the first project of its kind on Bayview Avenue. A similar project took place in Ward 31 at Woodmount and Danforth avenues.