Story by Cayley James
The Waterfront Trail is one of the best things southern Ontario has going for it. The trail hugs the coastline from Niagara Falls in the West to Whitby in the East. And SOON there will be low traffic OR traffic-free connections between eleven GO stations and the trail!
I grew up learning how to ride by criss-crossing, the Martin Goodman trail, Toronto's segment of the trail. It was my key to independence! As someone who still can't drive there are parts of the Waterfront Trail that aren't particularly accessible to me. So this is ideal. Hop on the train, pop off in Ajax or Bronte and ride back home (hopefully with a tail wind).
I mean you can navigate those wide suburban roads already to get back down to the lake. But with “Trail to GO” Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Metrolinx/GO Transit, as well as the municipal and agency partners in the region, are capitalizing on the parallel routes of the trail and Go Lakeshore's service. It's a no-brainer.
Metrolinx is very interested in changing the way people move throughout the GTHA. In last year's Cycling Report from Ryerson (Cycling Behaviour and Potential in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) they stated that 4.35 Million Trips Within the GTHA can be considered cyclable. Many of those are the first and last mile of commuters heading to the Go-Train. The researchers found that one in five trips involving the use of GO Transit could be cycled. So as much as this is for weekend warriors in the saddle, the low traffic routes are also aimed at commuters in the suburbs. In their promotional text they emphasize how much better riding your bike to station can be:
"While fellow commuters are still stuck in their cars in line for the car park, you’ll simply cycle in, park your bike in the sheltered bike corral, enclosed bike station or bike locker, and hop on your usual commuter train. No worries over parking spaces or costs, delays due to traffic, and you’ll use less fuel in your car too (if any!)."
This is sort of funny because Metrolinx is one of the wealthiest land owners in the GTHA. What with their sprawling parking lots at almost every station. But as our policy makers are slowly realizing, the times are very much changing in regards to transportation. You still can't take your bike on the train during rush hour, bike parking needs to increased, and there is a cap of four bikes per carriage. That being said as someone who actually did commute to Ajax from Toronto for the better part of 2016 I would have embraced this with open arms.
Dandyhorse has long been interested in the Waterfront Trail. We've featured stories from Alix Aylen about her rides out of the city - via the East and West portions of it. Editor-in-Cheif Tammy Thorne has chronicled her own adventures along the eastern edge. Both have noted that the signage can be confusing and the trails often stop abruptly like in the Beaches or in Pickering. So there is clearly room for improvement. So get in touch with your councillor to see if they can push to make the the trail complete. Until then hop on the GO and see how the trail fares across the rest of the GTHA.
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