Monday, September 26, 2011

Pottery Road Open (for Bikes)

Pottery Road closed at Broadview Avenue

A recent article in the Toronto Star highlighted the recent makeover of Pottery Road which apparently isn't going all that well. Apparently the slope behind a new retaining wall is unstable and they can't guarantee that it won't collapse so they've put the reopening on hold until they figure it out.

While the article said that car traffic is disrupted, they neglected to mention that the new bicycle/walking path is complete and fully available for use. A sign at the top of the hill says the path is closed but you can safely ignore it. The path which is separated from the road by jersey barriers is about 2m wide and fully paved. Caution is still warranted as the railing on the hill side hasn't been fully installed.

So too bad about cars but cyclists and hikers can rejoice!

Sidewalk sign says closed, use other sidewalk but there is no other sidewalk (hint: ignore sign)

Looking down the hill - brand new pavement

Looking up the hill. Retaining wall in question on the left

Wide path beside road. Todmorden Mills on the right, Fantasy Farm on the left

Expanded path underneath the DVP

New connection to Lower Don trail

Intersection at Bayview now includes a pedestrian crosswalk. The other side leads to an narrow paved median which can be used (with caution) to access the Brick Works.

Another view of the intersection at Bayview

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leaside Spur I: Orphan Trail Needs Linkages

Map of the spur (the image is a little small. Click on it for larger image)
  1. south end of the trail
  2. informal path and remnant track
  3. crossing at Lawrence Avenue East
  4. crossing at Tallwood Park
  5. crossing at Bond Road
  6. north end of trail
  7. York Mills Road
Starting just north of Eglinton Ave. East, just east of Leslie Street is a little known railpath which was once known as the Leaside spur. It starts just north of Eglinton, crosses Lawrence Ave. East and ends just south of York Mills. It once served the industrial area of south Don Mills and also served as an important cross link between the CP tracks to the south and the CN tracks to the north. In 2003 the city bought the right-of-way and turned into a walking trail. However, it is of little use as it starts and ends nowhere.

Up until now it has seen little use other than the occasional neighbourhood dog walker. But recently it has been resurrected as a possible part of the mayor's vision to create a city wide network of off-road trails.

A recent article in Grid TO prompted me to go take a look for myself. Here is what I found. From the southern start north to Bond Road the trail has been covered with a new layer of gravel, likely in preparation for a layer of asphalt. There are three places where it intersects with existing trails and circles of brick have been placed there to demarcate the crossing. At Lawrence Ave. East a new signalled crossing has been constructed although it is not yet in operation.
The new trail construction ends at Bond Road.

North of this point the trail continues but it is in the same state as the original walking trail. It is still covered in loose stone and cinder block that makes walking difficult let alone cycling. The trail ends again where it meets the CN main line just where it leaves the Don Valley on its way north to Richmond Hill.

There's more to this story than just these pictures. In a second installment I'll look at planned and proposed uses for this trail.

South end of trail (#1). Beyond fence is CP rail main line that crosses Eglinton Ave. East just east of Leslie St.

Informal trail leads to one of the properties on Leslie Street. The trail continues on the other side of the tracks

Just north of the informal trail you can see a remnant of an old spur (#2)

Last remaining track beside warehouse that is now used by Canadian Tire.

New crossing at Lawrence Ave. East under construction (#3)

Trail intersects with another path (#4) that leads to Talwood Park (to the west) and Duncairn Park (to the east)

New surfacing to end at Bond Road (#5)

Trail continues north of Bond Road. Note loose gravel surface that was hard to walk or ride on

North end of rail path (#6). Beyond is the CN rail main line

York Mills bridge across tracks can be seen to the north (#7)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back at it

This year I've been busy with school, work, and home renovations. This has left little time to go exploring in the Don. However, lots of things are still happening and I plan to get back into blogging all about it.