New trails proposals: much improved but gaps still exist
City Transportation staff are developing a trails report and asking the public to review the proposed trail connections for Toronto before the report is submitted to Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. The open house will be in North York, 40 Orchard View Blvd (1 block north of Eglinton and west of Yonge), Monday February 6, 2012, 5:30 to 7:30pm) or comment via Facebook.
Our new mayor made the bike trails the primary focus of bicycle infrastructure. It's exciting that we might have more bike trails in our City! But let's not give the mayor too much credit. The vast majority of these connections were identified in the 2001 Bike Plan. What the mayor did was make these trails a priority over the rest of the bikeway network. In fact, the mayor has supposedly scrapped the Bike Plan because he claims that the roads are no place for bikes (or streetcars for that matter).
So we may see a bunch of new trails and connections throughout the City which will be great for increasing active transportation and recreation. We may finally have a complete Humber Trail from the lake right up to Steeles. We will see a major expansion along the Waterfront in Scarborough, though there is still a lot missing there. And the trail following the Finch hydro corridor will be mostly complete. We may see the completion of the Railpath so it will travel from north of Dupont down to King and Strachan. These are all great to have. It will be tough to complete them all given that there will be issues with land ownership, cost of building bridges or tunnels in some parts, and the challenges of dealing with steep grades.
This plan will still leave out most of downtown without any improvements. And there are still going to be plenty of holes in the suburbs unless some sort of bike lane grid is implemented on main roads. Much like what was originally proposed in the Bike Plan.
Still we are moving forward with this, in jumps and starts.