The City of Toronto has released the latest update to the design planning for the southerly extension of the West Toronto Railpath, from the Dundas Street bridge south to Queen St./Sudbury Street.
The designs continue to include a future bridge connection over the Kitchener Metrolinx GO train corridor from the Rail Path into Sorauren Park.
The bridge into the park would be a future spur off the bridge that’s required to span the Barrie GO line, by No Frills, necessary for the Rail Path to continue its southward route.
The latest designs take the planning to 60% completion. That said, actual construction is still unfunded, and Metrolinx is adding more rail lines in the corridor that have to be completed first before the Rail Path extension is built. It will be several years before path construction takes place.
The Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP) have been actively engaged in the Rail Path consultations along with other community groups, including Friends of the West Toronto Railpath. FOSP has alerted Rail Path planners that construction of the Rail Path may coincide with construction of the new Wabash Community Centre in the park, expected in the 2022-2024 period.
FOSP will continue to monitor Rail Path progress to ensure this vital connection is built and coordinated with community centre planning. More Rail Path background here.
You can sign up for West Toronto Railpath updates from the City of Toronto at the Rail Path web page.
The West Toronto Railpath is an exciting project to create a multi-use trail along the eastern edge of the Metrolinx Kitchener GO rail corridor that runs beside Sorauren Park.
The northern part of the trail, from the Dundas/College bridge north to Cariboo Avenue, was completed in 2009.
Plans are well under way to complete the southern portion, from the Dundas/College bridge past the park to Queen Street and eventually Stanley Park, connecting to the new pedestrian/trail bridge crossing the rail lines into Garrison Common/Fort York, and hence to the waterfront.
How does it affect Sorauren Park?
To continue the trail south, a pedestrian/trail bridge must be built to cross over the Barrie GO line, near No Frills.
The opportunity exists to create a spur off the top of the pedestrian/trail bridge into Sorauren Park, connecting the west side and east side of the tracks with a multi-use trail.
The 2014 West Toronto Railpath Extension Phase 2 Planning and Design Study included designs showing the opportunity for connecting Sorauren Park.
It’s important for residents interested in the connection to Sorauren Park to attend community meetings and make your views known.
Meeting notices will be posted on SoraurenPark.com, on our social media feeds @SoraurenPark (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and through our email newsletter.
The Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents Association has launched a petition on Change.org to electrify the Union-Pearson Express diesel train service that will start running beside Sorauren Park next year. You can sign the petition here.
The RMRA, the Wabash Building Society, the Weston Community Coalition, the West Bend Residents Association, the Junction Triangle Residents Association, the Mt. Dennis Residents Association, the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Clean Train Coalition, the Asthma Society of Canada, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division, the Toronto Environmental Alliance, and many other groups have been calling for electrification of the service for years.
Despite these protests, health evidence, environmental evidence, and economic evidence to the contrary, the Ontario Liberals decided to build a diesel service in time to serve tourists during the two-week Pan Am Games. Following the Games, the UP Express will be an expensive express train service for the downtown business class, with one-way fares expected in the $25-$35 range.
While the protests forced the Liberals to initiate an environmental assessment on electrification, it was delayed by several years, giving time for the diesel system to be installed. As well, there is no funding in place for electrification, even though Metrolinx’s own preliminary studies show that an electric system will be cheaper to operate than diesel.
- Diesel is a known carcinogen
- Diesel trains are heavier and slower to accelerate and decelerate, meaning the line can accommodate fewer stops and not serve as public transit to the airport
- Diesel is more expensive to operate than electric
- Diesel produces greenhouse gases
- Diesel is noisier and in some places may require noise walls, which will become graffiti magnets and force a visual blight on the city
- Ontario has surplus electricity
You can read an open letter to Premier Wynne covering these and other points, with links to relevant sites, here.
Come to the Roncesvalles Polish Festival this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 and 15, and make sure to drop by the Wabash Building Society booth to learn about the latest developments at Sorauren Park.
We’ll have news on Sorauren Town Square construction, with Phase 1 expected to start only weeks away in mid-October. What encompasses Phase 1? Find out at the booth! Also learn more about the Metrolinx noise walls, join the winter rink team, find out about Sorauren Stargazers, and more.
We’ll be there both days from approximately 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with maps, drawings, hand-outs and great conversation. Enjoy the Festival!
Metrolinx/GO Transit has set Sept. 17 as the date for a public presentation of its proposed noise walls for Sorauren Park and area.
The walls are proposed to mask the sound of increased diesel train traffic on the Georgetown rail corridor beside the park. Carcinogenic diesel rail traffic is planned to increase eight-fold over the coming years, from approximately 50 to 400 trains per day to serve the growing suburbs and the new rail link to Pearson airport.
The noise wall meeting for our stretch of the corridor will be:
Tuesday, September 17, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
The Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor Street West
Community advisory committees have expressed serious reservations about the Metrolinx wall proposals. Some designs will become graffiti magnets, and community proposals to explore “living” green walls were dismissed. Some voices have also asked that no walls be built in certain areas until the true traffic and noise conditions are understood, especially in the context of proposed electrification of the rail corridor, which would introduce quieter, lighter, faster, non-emitting and cheaper-to-operate trains.
More details including updated sketches of the proposed walls will be posted once available.