News & Updates
With the Envrionmental Assessment now completed, Railpath Extension proceeds to next phase of design and implementation.
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:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
There have been several technical challenges which the environmental assessment projects has had to address including:
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.
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.)
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.
The estimated total is $23 million.
Wherever possible, the trail will be designed and built to comply with 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
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.
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.
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.
Yes. Opportunities on both sides of the rail corridor were investigated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com