West Toronto RailPath

Hi Everyone:

Just wondering if there has been any contact/discussion with the amazing folks behind the West Toronto Railpath:

http://railpath.ca/

They would be strong and important allies.

BTW: Love the Random Images and people profiles. More! More!

Martin aka HugoDudes

(Edited on 2010-04-21 with updated railpath.ca link)

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Railpath expansion on the CBC

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/07/03/toronto-west-rail...

West Toronto Railpath extension planning begins
Project will extend popular bike path south of Dundas St. West
By Andrew Lupton, CBC News Posted: Jul 3, 2013 11:02 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 3, 2013 11:15 AM ET

Since its completion in 2009, the West Toronto Railpath has earned widespread praise, won design awards and become a busy route for cyclists in the city’s west end.

Running two kilometres along an abandoned railway spur, the paved, two-lane cycling and pedestrian path goes from Dundas Street West near College Street to just north of Dupont Street in the Junction neighbourhood.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/07/03/toronto-west-rail...

Railpath wins 2012 National Urban Design Award

The Railpath won a Certificate of Merit in the 2012 National Urban Design Awards:
http://www.raic.org/honours_and_awards/awards_urban/2012recipients/index...

Congratulations

Congratulations to everybody who made this project happen. I know many people have been involved in planning, advocacy, gardening, and clean up. Not to mention the events that help make this a magical place.

Railpath in The Globe & Mail

The Globe & Mail's Dave Leblanc has an article today about the West Toronto Railpath:

A forgotten finger of land now an important Toronto public space
DAVE LEBLANC
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 28 2012, 7:45 PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Jun. 28 2012, 7:58 PM EDT

"While much of the city wasn’t paying attention, something incredible grew alongside the west end’s dirty auto body shops, squat industrial buildings, warehouses and factories. Something snake-like, and with a rough charm that seduces young and old alike; something so long, it begins a few blocks north of Dupont Street and winds past Wallace Avenue, mighty Bloor Street West and, after a total of 2.1 kilometres, finally curls around to rest at Dundas Street West.

The West Toronto Railpath is more than a bike trail: it’s an after-dinner stroller’s paradise, a wildlife sanctuary, a “resilience ecology,” an art piece, and, lastly, a weaving of residential neighbourhoods into a forgotten finger of land that once contained a narrow-gauge railway line.

Because of all that, this linear park may be the most important public space the city has created in the past decade."

Read the rest here.

"Adventures on the West Toronto Railpath"

An article posted on the Transit Hub blog:
http://transithubto.blogspot.ca/2012/06/guest-post-adventures-on-west-to...

"Toronto is a city full of hidden gems; the more I explore it, the more I appreciate what each neighbourhood has to offer. Recently, I discovered the West Toronto RailPath (WTR), which—in addition to being a destination in itself—allows for leisurely travel between two areas of Toronto. The pleasant trail spans roughly 2 km, from The Junction to the northwest corner of the downtown."

Read the rest here.

Crime issues at the railpath entrances

I live right along the railpath and have found myself calling the police more often than ever. If it's not one of a few cars with occupants fine having sex in broad daylight, it's obvious drug deals. I'm sick of walking my dog around used condoms and drug paraphernalia.

I can't constantly phone the police. In fact, I phoned when there were two people having sex in a car at 8pm on Friday night infront of Solways with families all walking by and they called back two hours later to say they hadn't gotten there yet and wanted to know if I still saw the car. It seems they don't really care about issues like this but it perpetuates the impression that these are areas in our city where you can get away with this stuff.

How do we get something done about safety in our neighbourhood?

Dead End

Long time residents like Jack, or Darcy, Pat or Simone will tell you that there has always been issues on the dead ends; its the nature of dead ends where there are no eyeballs. Railpath has actually made things safer by creating more street traffic and more eyeballs along the dead ends. 10 years ago one rarely saw cyclists or late night walkers around here but now its rare to go more than a minute without seeing some and that is good. Some of those people have even posted stories on this site (like the plant thief). There is crime in every community and but the good news is that the rate in ours has gone down every year for more than the last decade as seen in the stats provided to me by our local Community Officer. I think it is good that you are diligent and making calls but be careful not to start assigning blame to things like Railpath, the problems existed already.

I don't assign the blame to

I don't assign the blame to the railpath at all. In fact, my point is more about how now that we have the railpath it feels even more than ever that something needs to be done about it. There's no reason that any neighbourhood should have to put up with these crimes but if it happened prior to the railpath there was less of a chance anyone would be affected (as someone else mentioned, the area was less busy). Now, it's very likely that if someone feels it necessary to have sex/do drugs in public at dusk there will be families walking by.

My comfort and safety in my own neighbourhood is far more important than my property value and I can't be alone in thinking that. It's good to know that things are taken seriously when reported and hopefully none of us will have to make many calls going forward.

If it's any confort I let the 11 div know

If it's any comfort I did let the Unit Commander know and he acknowledged my email. I didn’t ask the course of action they would be taken because I am not privileged to that information. However I will bet they will increase patrols

You reporting crime will help. All calls are recorded for stats, squeaky wheel gets attention, more calls more attention. I am hoping that this community is more then a place to make a profit/money, but someone's home and community.

Keep calling when you see, know or hear about crime.

Was a time when talking about crime in the JT, was taboo

I say continue to call the police and yes they do care.

There was a time in the JT were I was told by residents and by other residents from near by communities to be quiet and less boisterous about saying things about crime in the community, because it might drive down the price of the homes. One time someone found drugs at (Erwin Krickhan park) Rankin park at the kids play ground, but decided not to call because she didn't want to bring negative attention, wrong. We should always call the police and the police encourages us to call as well.

All calls are dispatched by the call centre, which I had a tour of. They are dispatched according to the type of calls, priority, unless it's a 911 call they always dispatched, unless otherwise, but the staff is well trained. Yes, it's a crime to have sex in public and it's also about quality of life for the neighbourhood. I will forward this email to the Unit Commander who takes all concerns from residents seriously, how do I know this because I was a volunteer member of the 11 division CPLC(community police liaison committee) for many years, as well a volunteer for Victim Services for about 10 years and yes police care, including the men and women of 11 div.

So continue to call and take notes, maybe licence plate numbers. Of course be careful, you don't want to be a victim. Don't be discourage to call you are doing the right thing. Jack

I have listened to the audio

I have listened to the audio recording many times and I hope I will be able to hear the mockingbirds create those beautiful sounds next time when I walk along the railpath. May I ask what time you happened to be there?
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Amazing Mockinbird

I have heard this little creature many times over the past couple of years. He/she is often singing away atop one of the wooden hydro poles just north of the Wallace footbridge. I think it's been in the morning mostly, if I remember correctly.

Roy made the recording

It wasn't me, but Roy Mitchell who made the recording. This is what he posted on Facebook:
"It's all the same bird! Incredible. When I first heard it, I thought it was an audio loop. I made this recording around 12:30 am - June 19,2012"

I'll have to slow down and listen for myself next time I'm down there too. I wonder if I've heard this bird before, but never really paid attention to it.

Audio recording of mockingbird on Railpath

This is kind of cool: An audio recording of a mockingbird at the south end of the Railpath. I also like the sound of the streetcars going by on the Dundas St. bridge.

http://soundcloud.com/royb50/mockingbird-on-railpath

A New Yorker's perspective on the Railpath

New Yorker Annik La Farge writes a blog about NYC's famous "High Line" trail. She recently and wrote about our West Toronto Railpath:
http://livinthehighline.com/urban-greenways/west-toronto-railpath/

National Post: Railpath Expansion

The National Post has an article about future expansion of the Railpath:
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/04/02/information-booth-will-the-west-...

No More Cars on the Railpath

Just back from the Railpath where the City has installed large boulders at the entrances to the park from the side streets. This should finally put an end to cars driving on the Railpath. I saw the rocks at the Ruskin, Wallace and Ernest entrances, but it appears that Randolph is still to be done.

Great news

That's great news, Kevin. Randolph will probably not be done with rocks, because there's a driveway crossing the Railpath to the GO station. But maybe they can put in some kind of lockable/movable barrier.

I noticed recently at Ernest Ave. that the metal "boulder" had been knocked off of its base, I'm guessing by a truck backing into it in front of Solways.

The rocks arrived at 6am this

The rocks arrived at 6am this morning. Randolph will have a lockable bar so that GO can access the station. For Ernest Avenue there will be a stronger barrier erected that can withstand the trucks. Sadly the Solways customers trucks don't respond to anything but brute force.

Look for more Railpath new cool stuff in the next month or so.

Railpath graffiti removal

I noticed this morning that the City (I assume) removed lots of graffiti from the Railpath. At least one of the benches is all cleaned up, the rusty metal signs were clean, and they even blacked-out the graffiti in the asphalt path itself.

Railpath Part 2 Detailed Update

Friends of Railpath met with Metrolinx recently and City officials to look over the plans and see where the trouble spots are.Building rail infrastructure is a massive undertaking so even getting a seat at the table is a big deal. Obviously there is a PR value for MX to be seen helping Railpath and frankly we will take it in this case. Going Electric is still a better idea than the current dirty diesel they are pursuing and the 407 style for profit airport link.

In discussions these are a few points that stood out and I present them just to inform: NOTHING HERE IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE so don't get worried. Things are at an early stage and there are many ducks to line up and finding problems is part of getting the job done. Remember that some people thought stage 1 would never happen and it did. With stage 1 done there has never been more interest and will to see stage 2 happen. So just for info sake......

Dundas Bridge (at Sterling Road)--- a hanging or suspended path will have to be built under Dundas to swing east and over the Newmarket line to get Railpath back on the East side of the tracks. (next to the No Frills parking lot).

Lansdowne Bridge- will need abutments from MX to allow City to build out from bridge for additional lane.

Northern Place and Delaney Crescent ---Fantastic opportunities exist for Railpath entrances here.

Brock Bridge---will need abutments from MX to allow City to build out from bridge for additional lane.

The Dufferin Street Overpass (being constructed as part of the Dufferin Jog) and the Queen Street Overpass (being constructed as part of the Dufferin Jog)----in both cases there is some confusion about how much space is available. The City insisted on space for Railpath but MX is saying they need more space. Everybody is trying to figure the exact dimensions of everything going on here. Screwing this up would be a major embarrassment for the City and MX so look to see a solution here.

From here southeast things get crowded in the corridor but there are many possibilities which could work in different combinations.

Sudbury Street----will be extended a bit west and form an entrance. In the worst case scenario if Railpath cannot squeeze over the King bridge then there would be the option of:

A) running a bike path along Sudbury (on the road) and then starting a separate Railpath again on Douro Road just south of King. This option uses streets to bypass a tight spot.

B) Same as above but instead of crossing King on street level a Railpath bridge over King is built just east of the existing King rail bridge allowing Railpath to start again at the east end of Sudbury. Think of a bridge from Sudbury over King just east of the existing rail bridge.

C) Similar as the above ideas but instead of using Sudbury the Railpath would travel through the south part of the parking lot behind the townhouses on Sudbury and then cross in the same spot as above. This idea would still use about one block of the new west end of Sudbury.

D) In a perfect world...Find a way to keep Railpath right next to the rail corridor AND find space on the King Rail Bridge. Expanding the rail bridge would be more expensive than building a purpose specific bridge to cross King so this seems unlikely.

Western Battery Road or Pirandello Street---these two street are under consideration by the City as locations for a pedestrian/bike bridge up to Douro Street. This opens some possibilities in terms of heading to Strachan Ave.

Douro— this last stretch over to Strachan seems to have room for a separate Railpath.

East of Strachan--- may be too crowded to get Railpath further east than this.

Railpath Stage 2 General Update

I am a member of the Railpath Group. Currently there is general agreement between the stakeholders (Metrolinx, City, Railpath) about making stage 2 happen and talks have been going on.

1.There are some issues in terms of space south east of Sudbury Street that may not be solvable which means that the exit point south would be at the west end of Sudbury. This is outcome would still be far better than no stage 2. Anything is possible but getting all the way downtown looks unlikely.

2. Room was left in the Dufferin Jog (underway) so that Railpath can get over the bridge at Queen and Dufferin and that there is access at Queen and Dufferin.

3.Metrolinx has agreed to do what they can to make stage 2 happen and in some cases may be of great assistance especially in terms of cleaning the soil. The work that Metrolinx is doing is subject to 2 EA's plus a fair amount of public protest relating to diesel plus the actual reconfiguration and addition of rail lines. Railpath stage 2 may have to wait for all of Metrolinx's stuff to be done before the City can go ahead. That could be a few years.

4. As always there could be City issues but Stage 1 took over 10 years and the success of it is so obvious and people can now visualize stage 2 easier, so I think the political and public will to make this happen is there.

The short answer is that Stage 2 looks good and is moving slowly and surely along.

Great

Thanks for the update, Scott.

State of Phase 2 for the Railpath?

Does anyone know what the current state is for further planning and construction of Phase 2 and beyond for the Railpath, and what any particular outstanding issues are to have this path continued further south towards downtown?

On the Railpath, being awesome is easy

Check out this amusing poster I saw on the Railpath yesterday. It's a fun way to remind people to keep the Railpath tidy, right down to the smallest pebble. :)

railpath

Very funny. Great community spirit!

Level of Ignorance

Not sure what can be done to prevent it, but the goofs who are spray-painting the everything on the Railpath are out of control. Last night a number of the light standards and the art installations south of Bloor Street were tagged. The place is beginning to look pretty rough before it's even finished.

YES THIS MUST STOP!!! MY

YES THIS MUST STOP!!! MY STORE WAS TAGGED LAST WEEK. I SPENT A FORTUNE TRYING TO RENEW IT AND THESE PUNKS SEEM TO GET AWAY WITH IT!!!!!WE SHOULD HAVE A NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH OR SOMETHING.

Something seems amiss...

I'm suspicious that things have been so quiet for awhile in the petty vandalism department, now in the last few weeks there seems to be a sudden spurt. I wonder if it is because school is out for the summer and the youth doing the tagging are bored and unemployed? Don't have any answers other than the more eyes just looking out for one another, and a greater sense of community pride, *not* just reminders that problems exist, may help discover who the people are doing the deeds. It's interesting that the tagging are on places that are beginning to show signs that our 'hood is changing from the "Junction's" poor cousin to something with more self respect. Just say'n...

RailPath Letter

Here is a sample letter from a local resident that really captures what is going on....

"I understand you are Metrolinx' executive lead on the environmental assessment of the GO rail-link to the airport...
 
I live along the route of the proposed Westend Railpath Park - in fact, I reside along the nearly-completed Stage 1 section between Dundas and Dupont. I wanted to send you a note from a citizen's perspective regarding the positive impact of these two plans (both excellent, by the way) co-existing - in particular, regarding the proposed Stage 2 Railpath development south from Dundas to the City's core.
 
I'm in full support of the too-long-awaited rail-link to Pearson. For me, it goes without saying that any major urban centre requires vital infrastructure (especially "green" initiatives) like rail transportation to its major airport...
 
In the meantime, the Railpath also represents a "link" for Toronto west-end citizens. While rail-lands are important transportation arteries, communities like mine (South Junction Triangle) have historically been "cut off from the rest of the city" by rail-lands. This neighbourhood is a prime example.
 
That's why I'm delighted by the near-completion of Stage 1 of the Railpath project and just as excited about the proposed Stage 2 extension. It represents an opportunity to connect citizens, neighbourhoods and communities with each other. It represents an opportunity for progressive, sustainable (pedestrian and cycling) travel routes to and from the downtown core. It represents an opportunity to improve urban livability and aesthetics in the form of always-welcome green-space.
 
In short, The Railpath Park is, much like your project, an opportunity to extend sustainable travel options for people. It seems to me that the two systems should (and indeed MUST) co-exist in the spirit of each other's complementary goals toward the fulfillment of citizens' sustainable travel-needs.
 
I hope your environmental assesment considers thoughts like these... and I hope that the Pearson-link project and the Railpath extension(s) are planned and executed simultaneously.
 
Thanks for your consideration."

Help RailPath Stage 2 Happen

Hello Everybody,

I wanted to pass on some important information regarding the West End RailPath and ask you for a few minutes of your time. The great news is that stage 1 should open on June 20 and we are planning a party or something. The even better news is that already people are using the path. If you don’t know what Railpath is then head to Railpath.ca . In a nutshell Railpath is the conversion of old Weston Rail Corridor land to a linear park that will have a bike path, indigenous plants, and seating---stretching from north of Dupont to the lake near the CNE.

In terms of stage 2 which would take the path south from Dundas to the Lakefront by the CNE there is some work to be done and Railpath Volunteers are very busy in this process. As you may know there is currently a public consultation and an Environmental Assessment (EA) being done by the MetroLinx that entails plans for an rail link to the airport and expanded GO service in the rail corridor that runs along side Railpath. Many people were startled to discover that Metrolinx seemed to know nothing about Railpath (!) and there was some alarm about seeing stage 2 built if there was going to be new rail traffic in the corridor.

To its credit Metrolinx has quickly met with Railpath and City officials and there are more meetings coming up. To keep the story brief, there has been a good exchange of information and it seems a real interest on the part of Metrolinx to see stage 2 of the Railpath built. Yes there are a few technical problems that exist in the last few blocks of stage 2 but at least the plans are out and people are trying to find solutions. It may turn out that we can only get stage 2 to Sudbury street which is still pretty good but at this point everybody is working on a full to the lack solution. Metrolinx has become very receptive to Railpath issues and is trying to make sure room is left for completion to happen.

Here is where a few minutes of your time would be of help. Metrolinx got a fairly large amount of feedback from the community in the stage 1 AND in stage 2 areas stating that people wanted completion. It would still be good for them to hear from as many people as possible about how valuable people feel a COMPLETED Railpath would be to the entire West End of the city. Remember, a completed Railpath and expansion of the use of the rail corridor are NOT exclusive of each other; they should and can co-exist. In fact Railpath augments or compliments the increased use of rail instead of cars. It will just take them making sure that some space is left for stage 2 to happen. The City has already sent a letter expressing the importance of a completed Railpath so there is “official” support in place. If you could, could you take the time to send an email, even if it is brief, to Brian Peltier the Executive in charge of the EA for Metrolinx to let him know that you feel completion is important and that you would like to see Metrolinx be part of this completion. All emails to him will be noted and recorded as part of the EA and remember that Metrolinx has been receptive and helpful. THIS MUST BE DONE BY MARCH 15. (Include your address in the email)

Brian Peltier, Executive Lead
brian.peltier@metrolinx.com
416-874-5959

Metrolinx has a very detailed look at the EA and what they want to do on their website ( http://www.metrolinx.com). Railpath.ca is not the best website ever made but you can find some good info and pix if you dig deep. As we get closer to opening stage 1 look for the site to finally get revamped.

If you have any questions let me know and the whole West End will thank you for helping completion happen. We are really close and every email will help. If you know people who live in the stage 2 area (think Dufferin and Dundas/Queen/King Dovercourt, Lansdowne, Parkdale) pass this email on and encourage them to email as well.

Encouraging news

As cyclist, runner and new resident on Edwin Avenue, I am pretty excited to learn all about this - I cannot wait. I would love to hear how I could be a part of helping with this project in the future!

Railpath Meeting November 27

There was a Railpath volunteers meeting today which was more of a catchup and refocusing exercise but there will be lots of news in the spring to get excited about and obviously eyes are now turning southward to get the next stage done regardless of other activities in the rail corridor.

I wanted to remind readers that the Dufferin Jog (at Queen) DOES have space allocated for Railpath south to go through and that building Railpath south is not exclusive to intensification of the corridor. Railpath and increased rail activity can exist together; both being part of a healthy environment.

So stay tuned next year folks as Railpath kicks off with a bang and looks south for stage 2.

Dufferin Jog Anticipates Railpath

From Giambrone’s Current newsletter, note the mention of Railpath. Obviously there are many issues about getting the south part done but at least we can see that the City is keeping Railpath in mind and that is a great victory.

Construction of Dufferin Jog Elimination Project Begins Next Week

After years of planning and preparation, construction of the Dufferin Jog Elimination project is finally set to begin. Contracts have been finalized, the contractor has begun staging on site and they are expected to begin construction next week.

This $32 million dollar project will finally see Dufferin Street be connected straight through at Queen Street by building a new tunnel under the railway tracks. The design for this project was finalized after extensive consultation with residents in the Queen and Dufferin area. The project will include trees and green space, modern lighting, public art, and provisions for future pedestrian and cyclist connections to phase 2 of the West Toronto Railpath Park, which will run along the north side of the tracks. Once completed, the project is expected to significantly improve traffic flow in the Queen and Dufferin area as well as improve service on the TTC's Dufferin bus and Queen streetcar routes. It is estimated that construction will be completed by the end of 2009.

Railpath Update November

From Dave Nosella at Parks, an update on Railpath construction .....

"If you're in touch with the rest of the group, you can let them know to expect to see the following work completed by Christmas:

- The steps north and south side of Bloor,
- Cleaning and painting of Dupont Street bridge, Bloor bridge is probably next year,
- Light poles and fixtures between Dupont and Dundas installed,
- The inside concrete wall and the ramp fine graded up to Dundas Street,
- Two of the metal sculptures installed for sure, the other two will be installed by March, and
- hoping for the base course of asphalt south of Bloor (Not for certain yet)

Also, I have seen the bollards and signs sitting in the metal shop ready to go for next spring. They look great."

I would add that Solways metals still cant seem to understand that the public owns the land at the end of Ernest Avenue not them but Dave has assured me that the contractor will put the rocks that have been stopping Solways trucks from driving over Railpath land back in place.

THere will be a spring meeting with Friends of WestEnd Railpath, parks, and other interested citizens regarding setting up a community stewardship group for WERP.
sd

New staircases to Railpath

This morning I noticed that the staircase up to the Railpath from Dupont St. has been cut out, and there were workers milling about working on it.

I think the same will happen soon at Bloor St., where they had driven those re-enforcing piles into the ground.

There has always been a fence

There has always been a fence component to it. It will take a few seasons for the plants and vines to do their work and make the fencing vanish. But when it happens it will be really good.

Railpath Photo's

No worries, consider it done. I will forward them once I have taken a few shots.

Ran

Railpath photos

Hi Ran,

I still haven't had a chance to check out much of the railpath construction yet myself. If you take photos, feel free to email them to us and we can post to the site (if you don't mind!).

Cheers,
Vic

Railpath Update

Just noticed yesterday they are putting up a chainlink fence (7 feet high) to separate the path from CN Rail and GO tracks

Under the original plan it was proposed that the trees planted alon the path would produce a natural barrier. I guess the natural barrier of trees wasn't good enough for GO and CN.

Just an update, I'll see if I can take some snapshots of the progress.

Cheers,
Ran

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