Railpath Stage 2 : Whats Happening?

Friends of Railpath have been working with the City Departments, Councillors, and Metrolinx to make Railpath Stage 2 a reality. There is a lot of activity in and around the Georgetown Rail Corridor these days so there is a fair amount of planning involved in seeing Stage 2 happen. (updated March 2013)

A Feasibility Study/EA has been commissioned by the City this year (2013) to specifically look at building stage 2 and will report later in the fall. Many people are contributing their expertise on this including Friends of West Toronto Railpath. There will be a series of public meetings hosted by the City to get feedback and collaborate on ideas for the next stage.

If you need more information about the process please contact the Sr. Public Consultation Coordinator Maogosha Pyjor:  mpyjor@toronto.ca or call 416-338-2850.

Where will Railpath Stage 2 go?

We see the stage 2 feasibility study dealing with a few main issues. First we want to get the Railpath as far south as we can. Originally we had hoped to get to Strachan but the rail corridor is very congested so our sights are set on getting south of Queen, how far we do not know. Second we would love to be bold and find a way to connect a ramp from Sorauren Park over the rail corridor and to Railpath. The Wabash Building Society has expressed their desire to see a bridge over RPas well. Any cyclist or pedestrian can see how this would totally change the West End and bring together communities that have always been separated by rail lines for over 150 years. Many people have sent us their own diagrams of how this could be done and some of us have done a site survey to see if its possible. Its a big idea but think about it, it would change the lifestyles of a massive amount of people in a positive way. (If you live along Sorauren get on the phone and  let Councillor Perks know you support him on this). And lastly, the existing Railpath ends at Cariboo Avenue north of Dupont and that is something we want to change. The reality here is both positive and negative. The negative part is that the rail diamond stops us from going straight north. The positive is that if Railpath were to become an on street bike lane for a few blocks the opportunity to become a linear park north of there exists. Its a geographic area that really is interesting and has not been explored. There could be some excellent opportunities. That’s the short version!

There is also a Rail Corridor Local Area Study underway by the City Planning Department that will help shape development along the corridor and Railpath 2 is a big part of that. There is info on their site about how you can take part in the study in person or via email. Get involved. This site will be updated to reflect some of the feedback that they have received. Planner Sarah Phipps is the contact person on this study and eager to get feedback.

Local Councillors are on board but it never hurts to let them know that you want to see Railpath 2 happen. These two are most involved in Stage 2.

councillor_bailao@toronto.ca

councillor_perks@toronto.ca  

Stage 1 of RP took 10 years to happen but now that people are seeing it and loving it we are very optimistic that Stage 2 will take way less time.

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6 responses to “Railpath Stage 2 : Whats Happening?

  1. We see the stage 2 feasibility study dealing with a few main issues. First we want to get the Railpath as far south as we can. Originally we had hoped to get to Strachan but the rail corridor is very congested so our sights are set on getting south of Queen, how far we do not know. Second we would love to be bold and find a way to connect a ramp from Sorauren Park over the rail corridor and to Railpath. Any cyclist or pedestrian can see how this would totally change the West End and bring together communities that have always been separated by rail lines. Many people have sent us their own diagrams of how this could be done and some of us have done a site survey to see if its possible. Its a big idea but think about it, it would change the lifestyles of a massive amount of people in a positive way. (If you live along Sorauren get on the phone and let Perks know you support him on this). And lastly, the existing Railpath ends at Cariboo Avenue north of Dupont and that is something we want to change. The reality here is both positive and negative. The negative part is that the rail diamond stops us from going straight north. The positive is that if Railpath were to become an on street bike lane for a few blocks the opportunity to become a linear park north of there exists. Its a geographic area that really is interesting and has not been explored. There could be some excellent opportunities. That’s the short version!

  2. bill mccutcheon

    I frequently walk and cycle the rail line and have been struck by one thing in particular; how poorly maintained it is.

    It seems to me that, having attended the last public meeting, not only is this a perfect project for public/private cooperation, but an absolute necessity, if some of the physical challenges the route faces are to be overcome.

    In order to drum up support for funding from all sources, it seems to me that the existing section of the path should be showcased. However, in it’s current state – signage covered by graffiti or the even more pathetic efforts to cover the graffiti, as an example – there is very little to show off.

    I have no doubt that if more effort were put into cleaning and maintaining the extant part of the line the project engender a much higher level of enthusiasm from the public which hasten the construction, encourage private donors, accelerate the other cycle oriented corridors and provide a showcase public space for the city.

    Is there anything being done now correct this deficiency? Is so, what?

    • The Railpath, which has won many awards, is designed to be indigenous and wild. All the plants on the path were taken from seedlings before the path was built. It takes a few years for any eco system to get established and thrive. Its an ongoing process.

      Tagging and graffiti are a problem everywhere, not just on Railpath. The feeling has been that as more and more people use it there will be so many eyeballs on it that it will cease to be a target. Previous efforts to have sanctioned murals did not work. With more residential development along the existing path in the next year there will be many more eyeballs watching. Parks does clean but it seems to only last a short time. The larger concern is Metrolinx’s proposed 5 meter walls and how they will attract tagging.

      Railpath 2 is on the Mayors priority list and the funding is in the bank. Plans to build support for a bridge over to Sorauren park are building steam and that is where fundraising from other sources would make a big difference. Look for an announcement at the next public meeting on RP2 in September.A bridge would have a huge impact on the west end and keeping this on the public radar would be much appreciated; I know that it was one of the most popular suggestions at the first public meeting and has been as stakeholder meetings as well.

      Currently there is huge public support for Railpath and its expansion and I cant speak for everybody but the consensus seems to be that people like the un-tamed feel of Railpath as it provides a respite from the rest of the community and a non-commercialized space that has attracted many uses since 2009. It is similar to other projects like the Beltline and the future Green Line here in Toronto and other urban linear parks seen in North America. From its inception about 15 years ago (after a study on potential bike rails in 1998) the emphasis has always been on avoiding an artificial style or any advertising along the route.

      Hope you come out again to the next public meeting. See you on Railpath.

      • bill mccutcheon

        Untamed and unkept are not the same thing. If you are going to have signage and public art, it should be properly maintained or not built in the first place.

        I could not help but notice at the last public meeting that photos of New York’s Highline were scattered quite liberally amongst those of Railpath.

        There is no graffiti on the Highline at all. Is the Highline what you aspire to? If so, and once again, what is being done to correct the problem on Railpath?

        I don’t mean to sound too critical, but any potential funder is going to look at things like this and the time set the standard for quality is at the beginning not after it is built.

        Would you wish to donate a large sum of money to a bridge from Sorauren Park if you knew it were to be as poorly maintained as the existing signage and public art?

      • I dont find your comments a negative at all. Different people want different things.I dont really consider Railpath and Highline to be the same. Highline has had some issues including some who thought the removal of existing graffiti was wrong: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/removal-of-graffiti-along-high-line-vexes-some/?_r=0

        There are a couple of projects in the wings to beautify some spots of Railpath plus the possibility of Metrolinx putting in walls (of which there has been some community consultation) but most people recognize that you cant have people guarding things 24 hours a day and Parks only has so much money for an issue that effects all their parks. Graffiti has been an issue on the existing Wallace Bridge over Railpath as long as I can remember back to the 1980’s.

        I dont see any issues raising money for a bridge. when the case has been made as it will later this year.

  3. bill mccutcheon

    Sorry about the proof reading. The last paragraph should read, ” is there anything being done now to correct this deficiency? If so, what? “

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