Nearly every day there are headlines occupying the front pages of newspapers around the city highlighting the growth that the downtown core of Toronto has faced. The recent announcement of a SmartTrack station coming to Liberty Village has meant that one of Toronto’s most dense and transit-challenged neighborhoods is about to get a major update.
Originally proposed by then-mayoral candidate John Tory in 2014, the concept of the SmartTrack system would be to approach public transit expansion with the purpose of connecting various parts of the city that may not have the most adequate transportation resources in place to the downtown core. As one of Toronto’s up and coming urban communities, Liberty Village has had its challenges trying to accommodate residents with as much public transportation as is needed. The city has faced criticism for not having the necessary infrastructure in place to accommodate Liberty Village property owners in this way. The Liberty Village SmartTrack station resolves all of these issues in addition to potentially bringing further transportation related and non-transportation related developments to the neighborhood.
The SmartTrack station in Liberty Village will help to reduce heavy traffic in key areas surrounding the neighborhood as well as offer more efficient transportation to commuters. Liberty Village, for all intents and purposes, is in a bit of a renaissance or at least, on the verge of one. The once industrial region continues to be re-branded and re-developed as a modern, urban inner city paradise. The Liberty Village condo market is strong, business development potential is high, and the neighborhood has shown significant growth across multiple categories.
Lack of public transportation in Liberty Village has always been a subject of conversation though. While nearly everything in Liberty Village has grown, including a large influx of job opportunities, the isolation of the neighborhood is a regular concern. Public transit is limited in the area, in remote locations, and is prone to over-crowding. This makes Liberty Village the exact kind of community where SmartTrack would be set to make the biggest impact. SmartTrack in Liberty Village would resolve a number of transportation-related issues and would grant relief to a region deprived of reliable, efficient public transportation to and throughout the rest of the city.
While the plans for SmartTrack continue to develop, Liberty Village is set to continue to grow in the coming years, just as it has been doing for nearly a decade now. Some of the largest economic and social developments in Toronto since 2014 have been seen in Liberty Village. Much of this development has brought in new residents and has instilled a renewed sense of life to the community. The unique design and operation format of the SmartTrack system is likely to bring with it additional transportation developments, only serving to further support the growth experienced in Liberty Village.
As a commercial hub, the neighborhood currently employs more than 11,000 people across sectors including customer service as well as high-paying, tech-based and creatively-minded jobs. The upcoming SmartTrack station in Liberty Village will have a very positive impact on these areas of employment as well. The urban intensification in Liberty Village is promising, growing its knowledge economy and continuing to spur Liberty Village condo developments. Throughout the past two years, Liberty Village has been #1 in employment growth in all Toronto city districts, and more office construction is underway. It has been estimated that on any given day, there are roughly 20,000 people attempting to get in, out, and around Liberty Village, that number growing every year.
Multiple reports published in this time have shown how Liberty Village’s current transportation system is overburdened and overwhelmed. The King streetcar is the primary public transit in Liberty Village, already serving more than 65,000 riders every day. The two train corridors that are stationed at the neighborhood’s borders offers limited service and high ticket prices. The establishing of a SmartTrack station in Liberty Village is yet another step towards rejuvenating, renovating, and re-establishing Liberty Village as one of Toronto’s proudest neighborhoods. While the exact details of a Liberty Village SmartTrack station remain somewhat undefined, this will surely prove to be a highly positive addition when it does come to fruition.