Tonight, I had two bike related events on my agenda. The first was a public meeting about the possible extension of the West Toronto Railpath. (click on all images to embiggen)
It was quite well attended, and there were representatives there from the City, Metrolinx, and the architectural firm that is consulting on the project.
I was pleased to see that the study included the feasibility of extending the railpath all the way to Wellington St, with a connection to the Fort York bike trail. The total study area was split into three sections that had slightly different issues to deal with.
This shows the proposed alignment of the northern section (bold black line). It entails extending the railpath south underneath the Dundas St W bridge, at which point a bridge is necessary to cross the Barrie Go Line.
Here is a copy of the posted with solicited public input. Red circles mean “I do not want” and blue circles mean “yes, please”
Clearly, passing under the Dundas St bridge is a preferred option. Also, someone really wants a bridge that crosses west across the Georgetown line so that the Railpath is accessible from Sorauren Park. Unfortunately, we were told that such a bridge is beyond the scope of the present study. Sounds like a lost opportunity to me as such a bridge would make the Railpath accessible to Roncesvalles.
In the central section, there is less scope for creativity. Along this section, the main issue is to make the best possible use of the land that Metrolinx has provided to the east of the rail line. One of the decisions that has to be made is how to cross both Dufferin and Queen. A bridge for the railpath would be the most expensive option. The route sketched out here uses short sections of Peel St. and Gladstone rather than a bridge.
The southern most section is the most problematic as there are numerous issues with trying to route the path along the train tracks. At one point (99 Sudbury), a building leaves no room beside the rail right of way. The solution sketched here was to go along part of Sudbury and Douro Sts.
A slide presentation indicated that construction might start as soon as 2015. It would not be possible to start earlier as that was the timeframe under which Metrolinx would be finished with the Pearson Rail Link construction before railpath construction would start.
I was impressed with the questions that were raised after the presentation. One important concern was the prospect of greatly increased bike traffic entering the northern section without any safety enhancements to the Dupont-Annette-Dundas intersection.
I had to leave at this point to attend another event that was slightly more mysterious. All I was told was an address, and the fact that this event was run by a design/architectural firm, and that the theme was “human power”. The HPVDT was invited, so I wanted to check it out to support our students.
As it turns out, the address was the top floor of a seven story parking garage, and this was a fancy corporate party. The “human power” theme only went as far as using cyclists to power some decorative lighting and the sound system for the DJ.
They were parked beside this human scale hamster wheel that was also generating power.
Team members were good sports about answering questions about the speedbikes. At least there was free food and drink!