Railpath Extension Design recap: Final public meeting June 23

Railpath Extension Design favours linearity
Final public meeting Monday, June 23 at Parkdale Community Centre on 75 Lansdowne Ave. at 5:30 p.m.
By Joey Schwartz

 

After reviewing the West Toronto Railpath extension at a City Hall meeting, it was clear to all stakeholders that the most cost effective plan was to extend the path south, in a linear manner. The meeting, held mid-May, included representatives and several members from  Cycle Toronto, Friends of the West Toronto Railpath, and The Toronto Bicycling Network (TBN).

Jeremy Craig from the Victor Ford & Associates architectural firm went over the proposed plans. In all cases, where there were issues of using side roads that skirted the railway corridor, it became obvious to continue in as linear a manner as possible.

With the extension in a linear direction, there will be extra land available in the railway corridor. This extra space will allow the project to more closely adhere to the rail corridor.

Because the extension will be included in their wards, Ward 18 and 19 councillors Ana Bailao and Mike Layton and members of their staff attended the meeting. 

Daniel Egan and Saikat Basak, from Transportation Services, helped guide some of the discussion by giving background information. Also in attendance was Metrolinx’s Manuel Pedrosa, manager and community relations for the Georgetown South Project. Pedrosa's input included details on bridges and land availability. 

The first piece of good news in the meeting was that more land is available than was previously thought on the south side of Dundas, including bay number two underneath the Dundas bridge for future track expansion.
This interfered with Metrolinx's recent realization  that they needed to use bay number two underneath the Dundas bridge for future track expansion. Therefore, the only option to continue the Railpath along its current corridor is to use the most eastern bay under the bridge bay one.
This means the alignment will climb a hill where there is currently  an urban junk yard and four retail shops on the south side of Dundas. The hill will provide the landing point for a bridge that is 7.2 metres above the CNR's Barrie line as well as the Metrolinx Newmarket tracks, which will connect to the No Frills parking lot.
Provision has been made to allow for a future bridge to Wabash/ Sorauren Park and will accommodate electrification of the Georgetown and Newmarket lines starting in 2017.
Since No Frills on Lansdowne Ave. is leasing the property that borders the railway lands, Metrolinx has been able to negotiate with them to allow the Railpath to occupy some of that land, currently used as customer parking.
The trail then goes over another bridge, this time across Lansdowne Ave. This areas will include three possible access points with a preference for one on Shirley St.
Further southeast, the path crosses Brock St. Due to the possibility that 50 Alma Ave. may be sold, the city can rezone a connection between the recently approved Argyle Street contra-flow lanes may eventually eliminate the dangerous jog up Dufferin St. to Florance Ave. The city envisions a time in the near future when cyclists will be able to cross Dufferin continuously along a new configuration along Alma Ave. to the Railpath.

At Dufferin, there is more land available than originally anticipated, allowing for an easier connection across Queen St. W.  A minor complicating factor is that Metrolinx will eventually be adding one more bridge at the Queen and Dufferin junction and this could be a few years after the Railpath bridge is built.

 

 

A further complication is that a new park is being built on the east side of Dufferin, north of the tracks. So the Railpath bridge must not impede Metrolinx's designed but not yet built bridge, while also not affecting or taking up too much space from the new park.

The city has a preliminary rough design that will resolve these issues making the linear path approach the easiest way to overcome these issues.

The Railpath continues along the south side of Queen St., where Metrolinx will include a crossing for its maintenance vehicles. This crossing will have asphalt treatments to designate this potential hazard.

Eventually, the rail corridor gets too narrow to continue the path in this area, so it exits onto Sudbury Street. The meeting determined linearity would be the simplest and most cost effective means to continue the path, as opposed to having it interfere with a bunch of side streets.

 

 

But the city will have to negotiate with the condo association that owns a parking lot that borders the corridor. The Railpath needs about a six-metre-wide stretch of the parking lot, which will allow the path to get to King St.

The final bridge that needs to be built, crosses King St. and connects the path to the  proposed bike lanes on Douro St.. The bike lanes will continue through a signalized intersection at Strachan and connect to a new pedestrian bridge that will connect to the waterfront trail, as well as the existing bike lanes on Strachan.

If everything goes as expected with the Environmental Assessment (EA), construction could start as early as 2016 on this project.

Metrolinx planned electrification of this corridor in 2017  will not interfere with construction or close the Railpath.

The last Commencement and Public Open House meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, 23 June at the Parkdale Community Centre, 75 Lansdowne Ave, just north of Queen St. W. The public can then see these plans, and make final comments and recommendations.

 

Related on dandyBLOG:

Railpath expansion coming soon

The City announces plans to extend the Railpath

Bike Spotting on the railpath

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2 responses to “Railpath Extension Design recap: Final public meeting June 23”

  1. jnyyz says:

    Thanks for the very detailed reporting Joey!

  2. Rhonda says:

    The Event Coordinator of Railpath Run (Sunday September 28, 2014) was present at the meeting too.

    Yes – shameless event-promotion. See you there!

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