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Track 1 Day 1: Vangjeli


Implementing Green Infrastructure in the Public ROW: Lake Shore East Public Realm and Pilot Project

Wednesday March 20, 2019
9:30 to 10:00 am


Sonja Vangjeli, Waterfront Toronto


The Gardiner-Lake Shore Blvd. East Public Realm and Pilot Project presents the interesting challenge of incorporating green infrastructure in a highly constrained public ROW to address high levels of stormwater from the elevated highway, while establishing a continuous landscape identity along the corridor.

Proposed public realm improvements include permeable pavers, soil cells under the sidewalk (to provide an expanded root zone and passive irrigation for trees), and a planting zone with street trees between the sidewalk and curb to detain stormwater from the roadway, avoid peak flows and improve stormwater quality flowing to the sewer system.

The project has been advanced to conceptual design, but a small portion has been further developed to construction drawings for early implementation as a pilot project. The pilot is intended to demonstrate approvability and constructability, and test the green infrastructure system (passive irrigation of trees and plantings in the ROW using stormwater from the roadway) before it is implemented at scale along the whole corridor.

The objective is to test the viability of plantings in the challenging environment of this transportation corridor, and the impact of salt from stormwater irrigation on street trees. The intent is to monitor the pilot to evaluate its performance, durability, and maintenance requirements to inform the greater Gardiner Public Realm design, and contribute toward the City’s Green Streets standards.


Learning Objectives

1. See an interesting example of incorporating green infrastructure in a highly constrained and challenging transportation corridor.

2. Understand the challenges to approvals and implementation process of green infrastructure in public streets in Toronto.

3. Hear about design strategies for low-maintenance green infrastructure in the public realm.


Sonja Vangjeli

Sonja Vangjeli

Sonja Vangjeli is a landscape architect and Project Manager of Planning and Design at Waterfront Toronto. She is interested in the potential of urban park systems and roads as vital green infrastructure, and works on urban design strategies that balance development priorities with site identity, conservation, and landscape performance.

Sonja is alumna of Harvard University Graduate School of Design and University of Waterloo, and has previously worked as researcher with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure.