Monday, April 23, 2007

Rickety Crossing

"The Flats" trail at the south end of Crothers' Woods

Recently the city completed a draft management plan for Crothers' Woods which cautiously optimistic reviews from both the cycling and environmental communities. One of the points which stuck in the craw of the cyclists was the suggestion that "The Flats" trail be closed. The main reason for this is access as it requires access across the CN Rail line at the bottom of the valley. Since it is illegal to cross the tracks, the city had to put this in the plan.

There are only two ways to access the land between the railway. The first is to wade the river. The second is to crawl underneath the southern railway bridge. On the north bank is a sandbar that can be used to connect the trail. It is rather low and cramped but usable. Unfortunately it can get very muddy because the river frequently inundates it during a high water event.

CN Rail bridge looking north

After viewing the plan, the cyclists suggested some alternatives which the city said they would investigate. Rather than wait for that to happen, one of the cyclists who goes by the nickname "Trail_Head", decided to take some action. Using rock filled shopping carts as anchors he connected them with steel pipes topped with 2x4s to create a ramped bridge that would allow you to ride a bike under the rail bridge without ducking your head.

Jury-rigged bridge underneath railway

While his effort is laudable, I'm afraid it will be for naught. The first big rainstorm that floods the Don will wash it all away. The use of shopping carts to anchor the structure is certainly novel but will do little to withstand the power of a flooding river.

During the August 2005 storm, the waterflow on the Highland Creek was so strong that it moved 2 tonne boulders as if they were pebbles. When the next big flood hits the Don, this delicate looking thing won't stand a chance.

For more information on the management plan, see my previous posts on the issue.

1. November 2006 - Crothers' Woods ESA

2. November 2006 - public consultation on plan

3. January 2007 - "The Flats" trail

4. March 2007 - draft version of management plan released


Anonymous said...

That's fer dam shure... the power of a flood is awesome. Speaking of which, has the city done patched up that mess in south of Edwards gardens yet? With that in mind, let's try and keep some balance when discussing the environmental impact of things like the dirt jumps, shall we?

Donwatcher said...

Please note that I have not discussed DJ's in this post or any other recently. As for Edwards Gardens, the Toronto Star had an article about it a couple of weeks ago. They seem to be procrastinating a little, probably because the repairs are expensive. You can read the article and make your own conclusions.