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. 


Protecting for the Northern Extension of the Railpath

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. 

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West Toronto Railpath Extension Update July 2017

I am pleased to share with you the latest West Toronto Railpath Extension Update. You can access it by clicking here

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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.


West Toronto Railpath Extension Update

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. 


Telling Our Story on the West Toronto Railpath

I am excited to announce a new community arts initiative to capture and share the unique identity and histories of our well-loved West Toronto Railpath (WTR), the underpass and the neighbourhoods that surround it. The "Create Your Path" initiative will bring together our community's ideas, stories and vision for the WTR through unique art installations along the railpath.

Some of the artworks will be installed later this fall and I'm excited to hear your ideas to create inclusive and attractive spaces along this unique path! 

The Community Engagement portion of the project is designed and facilitated by Crazy Dames and GladkiPlanning Associates (GPA) and you can find more information on this project by clicking here. If you have any questions or wish to leave your feedback with me, you can email me at [email protected] or call my office at 416-392-7012.


Federal Funding Approved for the West Toronto Railpath Extension

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.


West Toronto Railpath Environmental Assessment Notice of Completion

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I have great news for those who love the West Toronto Railpath as much as I do! The Notice of Completion and the 30 day public review period for the West Toronto Railpath Environmental Assessment was issued last week on Thursday January 14, 2016. What this means is that the City has completed a study to determine a route for extending the Railpath south from Dundas St W, along the Kitchener GO corridor to beyond Strachan Ave and the planned Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle bridge.

The recommended solution consists of a multi-use trail that will be aligned in the rail corridor under the Dundas St W bridge to Dufferin St and on street and adjacent to the rail corridor from Dufferin St to Abell St. Currently there is no recommendation for a route between Abell St to the planned Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge as more study and public consultation is needed to fully under the impacts and opportunities for this section. For more information and to read the Environmental Study Report (ESR) please visit www.toronto.ca/westrailpath. I look forward to working with the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath and other stakeholders to make this extension a reality for Ward 18. 


Artist Mitchell Chan’s work part of West Toronto Rail Path

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‘Dot_JPG’ chosen from handful of submissions to be displayed in three places along the West Toronto Rail Path

Originally from the Ottawa Valley, Mitchell Chan first moved to Toronto in 2006 with hopes of making it in the city as an artist.

“I had this notion I was going to pursue art as a career, and I really had no idea what I was doing,” he said.

He spent his first couple of months in the city on the second floor of the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West. Fast forward six years, and Chan will have his artwork displayed across the street from where he began his art career, thanks to an open call for public art pitches from Metrolinx and the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program.

Chan’s concept, a series of mosaic murals titled Dot_JPG, was a collaborative effort with his partners at Studio F Minus, a public art and design firm, Bradley Hindson and Michael Simon. Dot_JPG was chosen from a handful of submissions to be displayed in three places along the West Toronto Rail Path, around the Douro bend and Queen Street West noise wall.

“To be able to go from some anonymous wide-eyed artist to being able to leave my mark here is really exciting,” Chan said.

The art will be a series of tile mosaic murals that will mirror the landscape directly behind it.

The tiles, made of glass, will transform the Liberty Village and Queen Street West neighbourhood into “brightly coloured, pixelated patterns” that will give an effect of a glitch in technology, he said.

“We’re creating awareness of the digital filter of our perception, but we’re documenting it in a way that we view the world right now and that’s important because that’s going to change,” Chan explained.

“It will exist as a digital record of 2014; as the neighbourhood changes this will no longer line up with the background and that becomes another kind of glitch.”

The mosaics will work as a kind of optical illusion that will shift and change as people get closer or farther away from the mural.

“It’s kind of a tactile interactive thing that people can figure out on their own by interacting normally with it. You don’t push buttons, you don’t tweet at it, you just walk,” Chan said.

The concept was inspired by how society’s connection and near dependence on technology has framed our perception of the world around us. According to Chan, we’re constantly viewing it with a technological filter, which can be a phone or tablet. He added he’s not here to comment on whether it’s a positive or a negative for society.

“What we (Studio F Minus) want to do is always make sure we’re aware of it (the technological filter) and draw attention to it,” he said.

The art submission was well received by the jury, who on the Go Transit website said the concept “pushes the definition and expectation of street art in Toronto, mixing contemporary and traditional techniques and materials to create three vibrant murals that are as instantly pleasing as they are rich with deeper artistic meaning…The jury feels these visually arresting wall treatments will be thoughtprovoking and pleasing for years to come, reflecting the complexity and creativity of the community.”

The concept was first brought to the community in November during a consultation night. According to Chan, the community liked it enough and they made some changes from their comments, but wasn’t offended, he couldn’t think of a better crowd to show the art to.

“If there’s any neighbourhood where you’re going to pitch a conceptual public art piece this is it,” the former Parkdale resident said.

“You have a very sophisticated audience here, an audience that’s been living with art for a long time.”

He said the submission is a bit conceptual and doesn’t fall in line with the majority of public art splashed around the city that serves as “eye candy” he said. Chan said he hopes the approval of his art project will encourage more conceptual art to be showcased through the city’s StreetARToronto program.

“It’s a real struggle to inject discourse, concept and dialogue into public art projects,” he said.

“So to start making headway on that it’s really exciting.”

The mural’s construction will begin in spring.

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This article originally published in the Parkdale Villager


Railpath Phase #2 on its way!

A top priority for me as Councillor has been expanding the West Toronto Railpath – a linear park that runs along the Georgetown Rail Corridor and an incredible community asset. Over the last 3 years, I have been working hard to secure the funding, approvals and support to keep this important project growing. With much of this now secured, in spring 2013 the enviromental assessment for Phase 2 was awarded. This began a phase of public consultation with residents, stakeholders, businesses and community organizations to determine the preferred route for expansion. The design consultant then incorporated this information into their study.

With the additional construction for the new Pearson Air-Rail Link, however, it has been difficult to negotiate the space needed in this corridor to extend the Railpath south of Dundas Street.

In response, I convened a meeting with the CEO of Metrolinx and local Councillors to reinforce the importance of this City project and am pleased to report that solutions were identified that have increased the space available for Railpath.

With the consultant’s designs being finalized, we are again receiving public feedback on Railpath Phase 2. Please watch for upcoming meetings, call my office or visit my website for more information and to be involved in this exciting project. Whether you walk, run or cycle, I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the path!


West Toronto Railpath Extension Study

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