Roads and Trails

West Toronto Railpath Extension

News & Updates

With the Envrionmental Assessment now completed, Railpath Extension proceeds to next phase of design and implementation.

View October 2016 Update.

Background

In 2001, City Council adopted the Toronto Bike Plan which set out short and long-term goals for on and off-street cycling infrastructure. The Toronto Bike Plan identified an off-road trail connection along the Georgetown GO Transit rail corridor from north of Dupont Street to Strachan Avenue.

The first phase of the West Toronto Railpath from Cariboo Avenue (just north of Dupont) to the Dundas Street West Overpass along the rail corridor was completed in 2008. This section of Railpath received the 2011City of Toronto Urban Design Award.

In June 2012, City Council adopted the multi-year Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan and new trail connection priorities. These priorities included a recommendation for an environmental assessment study to develop a preferred route to extend the West Toronto Railpath south from Dundas Street West to Strachan Avenue.

Purpose

The City of Toronto is studying a preferred route for extending the West Toronto Railpath from the Sterling Avenue (at Dundas Street West), along the Kitchener GO rail corridor, to beyond Strachan Avenue and the planned Fort York Pedestrian & Cycle Bridge.

The Study will determine:

  • Preferred alignment of the Railpath extension
  • Urban design features such as landscaping, public art, bike parking, signage and lighting
  • Opportunities for access points linking the Railpath to communities along the rail corridor
  • Design options for new pedestrian and bicycle bridges that may be required, and feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the different options

Upon completion, the City's goal is to commence construction of the Railpath extension in 2016 after Metrolinx has completed construction within their corridor for the Go Transit service expansion and the Air-Rail Link service from the Union Station to the Pearson Airport.

Process

This study will follow a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) Schedule ‘C’ process, which includes identifying the problem/opportunity, developing and evaluating a reasonable range of alternative solutions, and providing opportunities for public input.

Get Involved

Public consultation is an important part of this study. You are invited to learn more and to share your insights and opinions at any time.

All submissions will be documented, reviewed by the project team and included in the project record. We regret that we cannot directly respond to every individual message received. A summary of comments and project team responses will be published at key stages of the study.

Information will be collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Environmental Assessment Act. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record.

To request assistance reading the files below,  please contact Maogosha Pyjor at 416-338-2850 or email mpyjor@toronto.ca.

Stakeholders Workshop 1

As a first step in engaging local stakeholders in the Railpath Study, the project team hosted a stakeholder's workshop on April 25, 2013 to explore key issues for developing a continuous multi-use trail. This event brought together Councillor Representatives, BIA's, Resident Associations, Community organizations and a Transportation Agency to work collaboratively on project opportunities and challenges.

This event brought together Councillor Representatives, BIA's, Resident Associations, Community organizations and a Transportation Agency to work collaboratively on project opportunities and challenges.

Public Event 1

A public open house and presentation was held on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at the New Horizons Tower, 1140 Bloor Street West (at Dufferin Street).

View event information materials:

Design Review Panel

The study was presented to the City of Toronto's Design Review Panel on September 18, 2013. The Design Review Panel assists City Council in fulfilling Official Plan objectives by providing City staff with professional design advice on public and private developments.

Stakeholders Workshop 2

The project team met with local councillors and key stakeholders with ongoing involvement in the study on May 16, 2014 to receive feedback on the preferred Railpath route prior to second public event.

Public Event 2

The second public event took place on Monday, June 23, 2014 at the Parkdale Community Recreation Centre to discuss the preferred alignment.

View event information materials:

Public Event 3

A public meeting took place on Monday, December 1, 2014 at 99 Sudbury to discuss the Railpath route through the Sudbury Street area (between Queen Street West and King Street West).

View event information materials:

Environmental Study Report

Read Study Report
Read Notice of Completion

The City completed the West Toronto Railpath Extension study report and issued it for a 30-day public review period from January 14 to February 15, 2016.  

One letter requesting a Part II Order was sent to the Minister of Environment & Climate Change on February 17. The Part II Order request is an appeal provision for elevating the status of the project to an individual environmental assessment and thereby requiring further study. The City of Toronto received the Minister's decision on May 17, 2016 which denied the request and allowed the project to proceed to implementation.

Read Minister Glen Murray's Letter
Explanation for denying the Part II Order request

ExpandFrequently Asked Questions

General 1

1. What is an Environmental Assessment study?. 1

2. What type of Environmental Assessment is this study?. 1

3. What area is covered by the West Toronto Railpath Extension study?. 1

4. What was the purpose of the West Toronto Railpath Extension study?. 1

5. Why is this project being done now?. 1

6. Will the West Toronto Railpath Extension continue in the Rail Corridor?. 2

7. What were the key issues that needed to be addressed in selecting a preferred Railpath alignment during the environmental assessment study?. 2

Environmental Study Report and Next Steps. 2

8. What is an Environmental Study Report?. 2

9. What is the final trail alignment documented in the ESR?. 2

10. Now that the project is approved by MOECC, what are the next steps?. 3

Multi-use Trail Design and Construction.. 3

11. What happens during detailed design?. 3

12. What is the general design for the West Toronto Railpath Extension?. 3

13. When will construction of the Railpath Extension take place?. 3

14. Why hasn't the Railpath Extension been built yet?. 3

Access Points. 4

15. Where will access be provided to the Railpath?. 4

Cost 4

16. Has funding for the Railpath Extension been secured?. 4

17. Is there a cost estimate for this project?. 4

Accessibility. 4

18. Will the Railpath be accessible for people with mobility issues and elderly users?. 4

19. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)?. 4

Railpath plans between Queen Street West and Abell Street 4

20. What will Railpath look like between Queen Street West and Abell Street?. 4

21. What will happen to the existing green space on Sudbury Street between Queen Street West and Abell Street?. 5

22. Will the boulevard along Sudbury Street between Queen Street and Abell Street remain dog friendly?. 5

23. Did the Study Team examine options on the southern side of the rail corridor, along Joe Shuster Way?. 5

24. What impacts will there be to trees?. 5

Railpath plans between Abell Street and King Street West 5

25. Why are you stopping at Abell Street? Why don't you just stick with the original proposal to route the Railpath (while not within the corridor) adjacent to the rail corridor in order to provide a continuous and seamless multi-use trail?. 5

26. Can you connect through the south side of CAMH from Dovercourt to Adelaide?. 5

27. What will be considered for the area south of Abell Street?. 5

Popular Questions. 6

28. What are the expected benefits of the Railpath Extension?. 6

29. Will the plan include additional by-law enforcement, e.g. to reduce off-leash dogs and . 6   cyclists riding too fast?. 6

30. Will the trail include winter maintenance?. 6

31. How can I be kept informed about the study?. 6

General

1. What is an Environmental Assessment study?

An environmental assessment (commonly known as an EA) is a study required by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to assess the potential positive or negative effects of an individual project on the environment. Social, cultural and economic aspects are also considered. Key components of an environmental assessment include:

  • consultation with government agencies and the public
  • consideration and evaluation of alternatives
  • management of potential environmental effects

For more information on Government of Ontario Environmental Assessments visit: www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/industry/assessment_and_approvals/environmental_assessments/index.htm

2. What type of Environmental Assessment is this study?

The study  was planned in accordance with the guidelines set out in the provincially approved document titled “Municipal Class Environmental Assessment” (Municipal Engineers’ Association, October 2000 as amended in 2007 and 2011) and falls within the category of a Schedule ‘C’ Class Environmental Assessment. For more information on the Municipal Class EA process please visit: www.municipalclassea.ca

3. What area is covered by the West Toronto Railpath Extension study?

The Study Area commences at the southern terminus of the existing West Toronto Railpath at Dundas Street West/Sterling Road and continues south-easterly along the Georgetown GO Transit corridor to Strachan Avenue. A map of the study area can be found on www.toronto.ca/westrailpath. The Railpath was intended to connect with the planned Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge which is now called Garrison Crossing. Further information relating to the Garrison Crossing can be found on www.garrisoncrossing.mmm.ca

4. What was the purpose of the West Toronto Railpath Extension study?

The intention of the study was to determine a preferred alignment for the Railpath extension from Dundas Street West to the planned Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge (now called Garrison Crossing). As reported in the E.A., there are a number of technical challenges which require further study east of Abell Street and therefore, the EA Study recommended a preferred alignment between Dundas Street West and Abell Street.

The area east of Abell Street (between Queen Street West and King Street West) is experiencing many changes including new development applications, Metrolinx track expansion for Regional Express Rail and Electrification, new SmartTrack / GO RER station in the Liberty Village and King Street West area. These future and potential plans will be taken into account for the detailed design of the Railpath Extension south of Queen Street.

5. Why is this project being done now?

In December 1998, the West Toronto Rail Corridor was first identified as a candidate for a multi-use trail in the Inventory of Cycling Trail Opportunities in Rail and Hydro Corridors report.

The Railpath idea had also been discussed at resident association meetings in Toronto’s west end for years. In 2001, a group of members of the Roncesvalles Macdonell Residents’ Association formed a partnership with the Community Bicycle Network and Evergreen, and began working actively towards making the project a reality with the goal of assisting the City in the creation and stewardship of a multipurpose linear park.

With the first phase completed between Cariboo Avenue and Dundas Street West overpass, the purpose of this study was to identify, examine, and document the issues – including preparation of the preliminary design for the implementation of the second phase from Dundas Street to what has how been determined to be Abell Street.

6. Will the West Toronto Railpath Extension continue in the Rail Corridor?

The West Toronto Railpath Extension will be accommodated in the rail corridor from Dundas Street West to approximately Queen Street West. South of Queen Street West, the lands in and adjacent to the rail corridor are more constrained due to Metrolinx's railway track expansion plans and as a result there will be an on-street portion between Queen Street West and Abell Street.

7. What were the key issues that needed to be addressed in selecting a preferred Railpath alignment during the environmental assessment study?

  • Crossing Dundas Street West from the north to the south (e.g. space below Dundas overpass, then bridge design on south side of birdge to cross tracks, bridge landing points, private property impacts)
  • Addressing the limited space available within rail corridor between Dundas Street West and Queen Street West
  • Proceeding south of Queen Street West where there is no space within the rail corridor to align the trail

Environmental Study Report and Next Steps

8. What is an Environmental Study Report?

An Environmental Study Report (ESR) was prepared to document the West Toronto Railpath Extension Schedule C Municipal Class EA project activities, correspondence and decision-making process up to and including Phase 4 of the EA process. The ESR was prepared for public record and provided an opportunity for the public, review agencies, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) and other project stakeholders to review the process.

Phases 1 to 4 of the Environmental Assessment process have now been completed:

·         Phase 1 identified the study purpose (problem & opportunity within the study area) and set project objectives

·         Phase 2 identified and evaluated alternative trail alignment options including community access points

·         Phase 3 identified and evaluated alternative design concepts for the preliminary preferred route (solution)

·         Phase 4 completed the Environmental Study Report (ESR)

·         Phase 5 complete design and proceed to construction

9. What is the final trail alignment documented in the ESR?

The recommended solution, as documented in the Environmental Study Report (ESR), will consist of a new multi-use trail aligned in the rail corridor from the Dundas Street bridge to Queen Street (east side of the railway corridor) and on-street and adjacent to the rail corridor from Queen Street to Abell Street.

There will be five new multi-use trail bridges as part of the route including bridges over the Barrie GO rail corridor, Lansdowne Avenue, Brock Street, Dufferin Street and Queen Street West. 

10. Now that the project is approved by MOECC, what are the next steps?

On May 17, 2016 the Minister of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) approved the West Toronto Railpath Extension Environmental Assessment (EA) study. The project is now moving into the implementation phase. The implementation phase (Phase 5) includes completion of detailed design, contract drawings and documents, followed by trail construction and operation with appropriate monitoring, as detailed in the Environmental Study Report.

The City is working with Metrolinx to commence detail design later in 2017.

There is no confirmation of a construction start date. Most of the Railpath extension is located within the Metrolinx owned rail corridor and construction requires coordination with Metrolinx

Multi-use Trail Design and Construction

11. What happens during detailed design?

Detailed design will include refinement and finalization of the preferred trail design concept selected in the Environmental Study Report. This phase will produce detailed design drawings including construction standards and specifications, Construction Management Plan, Environmental Monitoring Plan and Trail Operations and Maintenance Plan.

12. What is the general design for the West Toronto Railpath Extension?

The Railpath will be designed as a multi-use facility and will function as a shared space between a variety of different users including cyclists, pedestrians, rollerbladers e.t.c. Generally, the paved potion of the trail will be 3.5m or wider, based on available space from Metrolinx Go Rail Corridor. The exact width of the trail needs to be determined and will be somewhat dictated by the space available within the rail corridor. The surface of the Railpath will be paved while bridges and other specialty structures will have a concrete or other durable hard surface that conforms to accessibility requirements. Street lighting and fencing will be installed similar to the earlier phase of the Railpath.

13. When will construction of the Railpath Extension take place?

There is no confirmation of a construction start date. Most of the Railpath extension is located within the Metrolinx owned rail corridor and construction requires coordination with Metrolinx and their planned construction for rail corridor widening.

14. Why hasn't the Railpath Extension been built yet?

There have been several technical challenges which the environmental assessment projects has had to address including:

  • negotiating a shared us land agreement with Metrolinx
  • existing infrastructure particularly utilities and relocations
  • negotiations with numerous private properties
  • working with community stakeholders and local councillors who habe been a critical priec in this problem solving exercise and process

Through the environmental assessment study completed last year, we now have a preferred trail alignment that has been developed in consultation with various land owners including Metrolinx. As a result the Railpath will be wider and will be retained within the rail corridor or immediately adjacent to the rail corridor up to Sudbury Street which would not be possible without the agreement with private landowners.

Access Points

15. Where will access be provided to the Railpath?

The following access points have been identified during the course of the study (from north to south):

·         Dundas St. W. and Sterling Avenue

·         222 Lansdowne Avenue (No Frills)

·         Shirley Street

·         Northern Place

·         St. Clarens Avenue

·         Delaney Crescent

·         Brock Avenue (both east and west sides of street)

·         Dufferin Street (north of Queen St. W.)

·         Sudbury Street (south of Queen St. W.)

Cost

16. Has funding for the Railpath Extension been secured?

On August 23, 2016, the federal government announced funding for the Railpath Extension as part of the Federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). The federal government committed $11.7 million of the estimated total of $23 million for the Railpath project.

The remainder of funding for implementation of this Railpath extension is proposed to be included in the Transportation Services 10-Year Capital Plan 2016-2025. Capital budgets are part of a multi-year funding program which is adopted by City Council. The multi-year plan covers longer term and one-time expenditures for fixed assets.

17. Is there a cost estimate for this project?

The estimated total is $23 million.

Accessibility

18. Will the Railpath be accessible for people with mobility issues and elderly users?

Wherever possible, the trail will be designed and built to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

19. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was enacted by the provincial government in 2005 to help make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities. This act lays the framework for the development of province-wide mandatory standards on accessibility in all areas of daily life. For more information on the AODA visit: www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/understanding_accessibility/aoda.aspx

Railpath plans between Queen Street West and Abell Street

20. What will Railpath look like between Queen Street West and Abell Street?

The Railpath extension will be located beside Sudbury Street within the current boulevard area. The trail extension may also require narrowing of the existing Sudbury Street and removal of some on-street parking.

21. What will happen to the existing green space on Sudbury Street between Queen Street West and Abell Street?

The existing green space on Sudbury Street south of Queen Street is subject to Metrolinx's rail expansion plans and is planned to be used for Railpath extension. Design options will endeavor to maintain as much of this green space as possible.

22. Will the boulevard along Sudbury Street between Queen Street and Abell Street remain dog friendly?

We recognize that the boulevard is popular with dog-owners and it is rare to find this type of space within the neighbourhood. This area is subject to Metrolinx's rail expansion plans and is planned to be used for Railpath extension. Design options will be considered that maintain the existing dog-friendly boulevard and green space along Sudbury Street to the fullest extent possible.

23. Did the Study Team examine options on the southern side of the rail corridor, along Joe Shuster Way?

Yes. Opportunities on both sides of the rail corridor were investigated.

24. What impacts will there be to trees?

Transportation Services will coordinate with the City Urban Forestry to determine and mitigate impacts to any trees along a future proposed alignment before proceeding with a recommended alignment and detailed design. The City can never be in a position to provide blanket assurance that specific trees will never be affected. For example, should a watermain or gas line emergency require the removal of a tree, removal would be authorized if required to address public safety and service.

Railpath plans between Abell Street and King Street West

25. Why are you stopping at Abell Street? Why don't you just stick with the original proposal to route the Railpath (while not within the corridor) adjacent to the rail corridor in order to provide a continuous and seamless multi-use trail?

Given the lack of space within the rail corridor, technical issues and impacts to neighbouring properties, more consultation and study is needed to find a solution which lessens impacts and balances different interests.

While options for the segment from Abell Street to King Street West were presented at a public meeting on December 1, 2014, the project team did not recommend an alignment for this section and acknowledged that further study and consultation is needed.  The Environmental Assessment (EA) will proceed with implementation of the preferred alignment for the northern section from Dundas Street West to Abell Street.

26. Can you connect through the south side of CAMH from Dovercourt to Adelaide?

CAMH provided a very exciting opportunity to formalize pedestrian and cycling access which use to function informally as a connection from Sudbury to Shaw Street. City staff worked with Cycle Toronto and CAMH to provide a temporary and plan for a long-term bicycle connection through CAMH. A temporary connection is first needed because CAMH will be undergoing a massive re-development of its site and construction will be ongoing for many years.

27. What will be considered for the area south of Abell Street?

The environmental assessment study did not recommend a preferred alignment for Railpath extension east of Abell Street between Queen Street West and King Street West. In order to find a solution to align Railpath south/east from Abell Street, the City consulted local residents and other stakeholders. The key concerns and comments included in the ESR were that while there is a lot of support for the project from residents and cyclists, there were many questions about how best to continue the trail to King Street West and then, how to pass over/across King Street West. There were requests for an area traffic study. There were also comments that shared lane markings (sharrows) for cyclists along Sudbury Street were not an acceptable interim option.

Currently, this particular area is experiencing many changes including new development applications, Metrolinx track expansion for Regional Express Rail and Electrification, new SmartTrack / GO RER station in the Liberty Village and King Street West area. As part of the above projects, the City, in coordination with Metrolinx, will work to include the Railpath extension south of Queen Street.

Popular Questions

28. What are the expected benefits of the Railpath Extension?

Multi-use trails are actively enjoyed by a wide range of users and are generally considered an attractive neighbourhood amenity. Trails provide a space for interaction with neighbours and increase access for people to discover natural, cultural and heritage places in the City.

Public places that are actively used by residents are generally regarded as safer and more comfortable for all ages – the most effective crime prevention approach is to encourage a high level of activity along the trail system. Trails support the opportunity for physical activity through hiking, walking, running, rollerblading and cycling which is in tune with the City's public health objective to encourage physical activity to improve the health of Torontonians. Building trails that are high-quality and accessible infrastructure also promotes social equality.

29. Will the plan include additional by-law enforcement, e.g. to reduce off-leash dogs and cyclists riding too fast?

The City will continue to encourage safe and appropriate use of the Railpath through signs. Further efforts, such as public education campaigns and increased by-law enforcement, are beyond the scope of this conceptual design project, but recommendations for such efforts will be shared with appropriate City divisions.

30. Will the trail include winter maintenance?  

Yes. The Railpath is maintained by Parks Forestry and Recreation in the winter, including plowing, salting, and litterpicking. Transportation Services maintains the bridges and Waste Management empties the receptacles year round.

31. How can I be kept informed about the study?

Please refer to the study website www.toronto.ca/westrailpath. Also an email distribution list has been set up to send out communications regarding future events and project updates. Members of the public who wish to receive updates by mail can contact the Public Consultation Unit, by phone: 416-338-2850 or email: westrailpath@toronto.ca

 

The short URL for this page:

toronto.ca/westrailpath