Subway lines spur Sheppard condo boom

Intersection with Bayview still busy, but many opt for transit

If you think it’s busy at Bayview Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East now, wait until the thousands of new neighbours move in.

With dozens of condo developments in the works and the planned extensions of the Yonge and Sheppard subway lines on track, the area is poised to become a hot spot for young professionals.

And the condos aren’t cheap, either. The starting rate for a one-bedroom in the neighbourhood is in the $400,000 range.

The sound of jackhammers is music to the ears of Stephen Dupuis, who represents the Building, Industry and Land Development Association.

“There are tons of condos going up, it’s brilliant, just beautiful,” he said.

According to the TTC, every day approximately 100,000 people use the Sheppard subway line that has been criticized as being a waste of tax dollars. And those numbers are only expected to climb with all the new development.

“It’s working, as it should, and it proves that if you build it, they will come,” Dupuis said, adding that the planned Yonge subway expansion up to Vaughan will have the same effect.

The city’s traffic department agrees. The director of the traffic management centre Robert Stopnicki says while the intersection of Sheppard and Bayview is one of the busiest in the city, traffic volume has remained constant over the last four years.

Stopnicki reports that traffic increased by about one percent since 2008, raising the total of cars passing through the intersection last year to 55,000. Stopnicki says it’s more than likely that the new traffic is coming from communities north of the city like Thornhill, which is undergoing its own intensification.

However, automotive traffic isn’t the only type that’s increasing in the area.

“Slowly, the non-vehicle mode of travel is going up,” Stopnicki said, referring to the commuting habits of condo dwellers.

The subway is a huge draw for potential buyers, says sale centre representative Monika Kollarova at NY Place, an eight-storey boutique condominium under construction near Bayview Station.

All the big Toronto-area developers, including Daniel’s, Tridel, Concord and Monarch, are planning projects in the area.

During rush hour, hundreds of cars trying to turn onto Highway 401 jam the intersection. But some residents fear that the new residents will keep driving and will add to the often-unbearable congestion.

Stopnicki isn’t on side with this prediction, pointing out that developers and the city work together to accommodate the influx of traffic by creating new roads.

One example, he says, is Esther Shiner Boulevard, just south of Sheppard. The four-lane road that connects to Leslie Street was created to provide condo dwellers easy access to the 401 without jamming up any major intersections.

“Plus, the public makes the adjustment themselves,” he said. “When development occurs near rapid transit, people take advantage.”

About this article:

By: Alexandra Bosanac
Posted: Jul 13 2011 11:52 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto