Having safe, connected and convenient cycling routes in the city is important, but it is equally as important that we properly consult with the local communities. Due to COVID-19, we have been unable to adequately consult on this project to move forward for the 2020 year. There have been a number of concerns raised by the community that we need to address before construction. We will be reaching out to the community again about consultation soon.
Metrolinx Plans for the West Toronto Railpath and Adding a Fourth Track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor
January 30, 2018 Update - I have obtained a copy of Metrolinx's conceptual design and layout which outlines the existing and new corridor, pathway and parkland. Please click here (large PDF) to download it.
Metrolinx recently hosted a community meeting to share their plans to add a fourth track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor, which forms the western border of Ward 18. As part of the meeting, they also outlined impacts and proposed improvements to the West Toronto Railpath and Bloor GO Station.
In order to accommodate the fourth track, there are sections of the Railpath that Metrolinx is proposing to narrow, with the most significant section from just north of where the Henderson Brewery and Drake Commissary is to Ernest Avenue. The pavement width of the trail would remain the same but would have to be shifted in places, resulting in some areas with less green space. Please click here (large PDF) for a copy of their presentation from the meeting.
As Metrolinx was developing their plans, the City worked together with Metrolinx to ensure that they significantly reduced the amount of land needed.
The Railpath is a cherished asset in our community and disruption from construction will never be easy but there are also some positive aspects of the plan. Some of these include:
- A land swap so that the City can acquire the necessary land to extend the Railpath southwards;
- Green Walls that our community has been advocating for years;
- An underground connection via an elevator and stairs to Bloor GO Station and Dundas West TTC Station from Randolph Ave;
- A new park and other features.
Throughout this process I will be vigilant and work with the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath and stakeholders to ensure that the impacts are as minimal as possible and that there is a long-term benefit for the West Toronto Railpath and our community as a whole.
I'm pleased to let you know that I moved a motion at the December 2017 City Council meeting to include integrating the future north-west extension of the West Toronto Railpath in the Environmental Assessment and design elements of the St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack Station and St. Clair West Transportation Master Plan. This is crucial so that we can plan and protect for this future connection to the north to benefit and connect our communities for generations to come.
I am proud to share that the City of Toronto and Government Of Canada today announced a joint $4 million dollar investment to expand Toronto's Bike Share System with 70 new stations across Toronto, including 3 new stations in Ward 18! The Government of Canada and the City of Toronto will each contribute $1.25 million towards 50 stations, and the City will contribute an additional $1.5 million to exclusively fund another 20 stations for the Bike Share Toronto system.
In 2016, we welcomed Bike Share Toronto to Ward 18 with 13 stations across our community and today's expansion builds on the continued efforts of our community to support a connected and multi-modal transportation network. Designed to support and enhance Toronto's public transit and transportation network, the new Bike Share locations will be in close proximity to TTC subway stations and stops. Click the image below for a closer look at the expansion locations.
Expanding cycling access and facilities in Ward 18 is an important part of promoting active transportation, attracting new visitors to support our local businesses and is vital to developing a sustainable transportation system. Incorporating cycling into our daily commutes means less congestion on our streets and helps to support positive health and environmental outcomes.
Over the month of August, these 70 new Bike Share Toronto stations that will be put in place across the city will bring the total number of stations in Toronto to 270 with 2,750 bikes and 4,700 docks. Bike Share Toronto, operated by the Toronto Parking Authority, now has almost 9,500 active members and served up 1,191,746 rides over the last 12 months. Riders have travelled a total of 16,847,127 kms since 2011, offsetting 3,200,954 kg of Co2 emissions.
I look forward to working with residents as we continue to expand Bike Share Toronto in Ward 18 and across our city!
For more information on Bike Share Toronto, including a map of the proposed bike station locations, visit http://bikesharetoronto.com.
I am pleased to share with you the latest West Toronto Railpath Extension Update. You can access it by clicking here.
I have also been working hard to advocate for the creation of an inter-connected series of trails and parks in Davenport to provide more cycling and recreational opportunities for more residents.
That is why the proposed multi-use trail as part of the Metrolinx Davenport Diamond project must extend south from Bloor to Dundas to connect to the West Toronto Railpath. It must also connect north to the Green Line and Earlscourt Park.
There is more work to be done, but by working and advocating together, we can achieve this vision and so much more for our community.
Future Railpath Extension updates will be posted at: http://www.toronto.ca/westrailpath.
As part of the Dufferin-Waterloo school safety and cycling connection improvements, City Council approved the reversal of traffic flow direction on Waterloo Ave to become Westbound-only and the installation of an Eastbound contraflow bike lane between Dufferin St and Gladstone Ave. The new road layout will provide significant safety improvements through the creation of a curbside pickup and drop off zone, enabling students to enter and exit Alexander Muir/Gladstone Ave Public School safely, without having to cross in front of traffic.
In addition to these safety improvements, the new road layout will optimize local cycling infrastructure through a future off-street boulevard connection along Dufferin St between Florence St and Waterloo Ave, which will help to further complete our network of safe cycling infrastructure.
As you might be aware, last summer we secured federal funding for up to 50% of the costs of the West Toronto Railpath Extension. Since then, Metrolinx is making progress on completing the Dufferin Bridge expansion project (just north of Queen), which is being built to accommodate an additional track on their Kitchener Corridor. The bridge expansion project will also help facilitate the future extension of the Railpath into the West Queen West community and will feature a connection to the new Pessoa Park.
City staff are working closely with Metrolinx to move forward on the completion of 100 per cent detailed design for the extension of the Railpath from Dundas St W to Abell St. Following the completion of detailed design, City staff will work with Metrolinx on capital coordination for the construction of this important piece of community recreation and cycling infrastructure.
This is necessary because Metrolinx presently owns much of the property in the preferred alignment for the Railpath extension and any work would need to be coordinated with Metrolinx's Regional Express Rail project. As a result of this reality, I moved a motion at last month's City Council meeting that would authorize City staff to enter into agreements with Metrolinx for the design and future construction of the Railpath extension. I will be sharing further updates with you as they become available.
Today’s investment of up to $840 million from the Government of Canada to the City of Toronto as part of their Public Transit Infrastructure Fund will go a long way to repair, renew, enhance and expand our public transit system. This investment will also help the City build new active transportation infrastructure across Toronto including providing funding for up to 50% of the cost of extending the West Toronto Railpath, our much loved multi-use trail for walkers, runners and cyclists.
Today’s announcement also builds on the recent Provincial announcement that the Dufferin Street Bridge will be expanded in order to accommodate future Smart Track/GO RER service and the future expansion of the Railpath into the West Queen West neighbourhood.
Over the years, I have been working hard to build support for the expansion of the Railpath among all levels of government and these recent announcements help to advance our efforts. There is still more work to be done and I will be continuing my efforts to ensure that the Railpath gets extended for the benefit of our community and city. I look forward to providing your further updates on this important topic in the coming months.
Earlier this month at City Council, I voted to adopt the City's Ten Year Cycling Network Plan. The plan will effectively double Toronto's cycling infrastructure over the next decade by filling in gaps, improving our current system, and expanding the network to new parts of the city. This network expansion is supported by an annual $16 million cycling infrastructure investment, a doubling of our current investment levels. Of note to Ward 18 residents, the plan supports our existing efforts to expand the West Toronto Railpath south and also proposes to extend the Railpath north.
Expanding cycling infrastructure in Toronto is a step forward to achieving two critical goals. Firstly, it adds new choices for travelers to move through out our city, increasing access to jobs, residences and businesses. Secondly, and most importantly, it is about safety. By creating dedicated cycling infrastructure in our increasingly growing city, we can ensure all users of the road can coexist with one another. We need to have a Vision Zero approach to our cycling, pedestrian and road networks to eliminate the injuries and deaths we are seeing on our roads.
Implementation of the proposed routes are supported by extensive study and analysis and I look forward to working together with you to ensure that this new infrastructure reflects the needs of our community.
At this month's meeting of City Council, I voted in favour of a pilot project to install separated bike lanes on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road. This year long pilot project provides an opportunity for City staff to collect the data they need to inform our discussion about cycling routes in our city.
The shape and width of Bloor Street West changes along the 2.6km pilot project stretch. City staff have proposed a mix of painted cycling lanes, buffered cycle tracks and the use of Bollards to separate cycling and automobile traffic as part of the pilot. In all cases, one lane of travel for vehicles will be maintained in each direction with left-turn lanes added at key intersections to mitigate traffic flow changes.
This pilot project will analyze the traffic impacts and benefits to pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, businesses, and the surrounding neighbourhoods of adding separated cycling lanes on Bloor and will be reported back to council with these results. It important to collect this data to inform our decisions moving forward as we look at ways for different modes of transportation to coexist in our increasingly growing city.
The results of the pilot project will further include the impacts on business. As this pilot project was supported by the local BIAs, these results are important to them and going forward will help to shape their understandings on this important issue. Parking space losses will be mitigated along Bloor with with new spaces in some sections and access will be maintained to the 860 off street spaces along the route.
I look forward to reviewing the results of this project when staff are set to report back to council next year.