Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ridgewood South

I have waited a bit to comment on Charleswood's Ridgewod South development. There was a lot of noise but no substantial plans till now.

It is a thin sliver of south Charleswood inside of Wilkes as it widens out as a triangle to the Perimeter Highway. Altogether it is 800 acres (325 hectares) and has over 100 different owners, it is Qualico that is trying to shepherd the process through city hall.

The site potentially could have 2,400 to 4000 home and possibly as many 5,700 to 8,800 people along a 6 kilometer stretch.

There have been various hearings in the community and several assurances gives in regards to keeping the characteristics of Charleswood intact.

The timeline of the project is 15 years and done in 11 phases.

There is no budget for road expansion in the area. None of this will work if the Willian R. Clement Parkway is not expanded to Wilkes Avenue for between $60 and $80 million. There also needs to improvements all along Wilkes, Shaftesbury Blvd and a whole host of other streets.

Agreement seems to be in place about recreation use and the Harte Trail. The developers also agree to leaving 10% of land with outstanding natural features intact. Lots of walking and active transportation routes will be in place. There will be no additional schools.

The issue of water drainage and natural habitat is a difficult one. There is little doubt that further discussion will occur on this subject alone.

However, first and foremost if the traffic along Wilkes and through Charleswood will grow by a lot. And I mean a lot.

And so it goes...development planned and now approved in the last week and no logistics plan to connect the neighbourhoods to the main routes plus no budget for roads and infrastrcuture.

The site is one quarter the six of Waverley West but like its southern counterpart, the issue of Kenaston, Wilkes, Sterling Lyon continue to grow and grow. More and more traffic.

My initial impression of the development is that it is good. It fills a need, it looks to infill the backside of a neighbourhood, creates a little more density, will fed existing schools, preserve trail and character of the area, is near existing bus routes.

However...and it is a big however, Wilkes can't handle the traffic. Nor will Grant be able to handle more. Shaftesbury and Elmhurst are already under strain.

Something's gotta give.

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