After years of planning hoops and financing hurdles, a new piece of long-awaited pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is one big step closer to realization. A community information meeting was held on June 2nd, updating the public on the most recent progress on the proposed Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge. The grade-separated path will carry foot and cycle traffic across two rail corridors, linking the Niagara and Liberty Village neighbourhoods to the north with the Fort York area to the south.

The community meeting was the last in the latest round that kicked off last year when the City of Toronto filed an EA Addendum to reflect changes to the earlier bridge proposal. From that, three teams emerged from the Request For Proposals (RFP) stage which closed at the end of April. Those teams presented their visions at the meeting.

The Landmark Bridge Builders team proposal features a curved, alternating single arch design by Montgomery Sisam Architects. Other firms in the team include PCL, Blackwell Engineering, Bot Construction, PMA Landscape Architects, and Crossey Engineering. The proposal, inspired by the meandering path of Garrison Creek, is reminiscent of the firm's original and proposal which featured one longer S-shaped bridge crossing both corridors. Montgomery Sisam are famous for their 1994 pedestrian and cycle bridge spanning the mouth of the Humber River. 

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, Toronto"Landmark Proposal", Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge

The Dufferin team is led by design-build contractor Dufferin Construction, prime designer and bridge engineers Pedelta, and architect and landscape architect DTAH. Also inspired by the former path of the long-buried Garrison Creek, this proposal, known as "Garrison Crossing" is similar in form to the Landmark proposal, though this proposal calls for stainless steel construction featuring a crossing diagonal hanger pattern and a triangular cross section profile, with each span's individual single arch rib canted at opposing 18 degree angles. One of the potential advantages of the stainless steel proposal is the minimal future maintenance required of the structure.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, Toronto"Dufferin Proposal", Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge

The Ellis Don team proposal sets itself apart from the other two submissions with a box girder truss design that acts as a contemporary spin on classic railway bridges like the nearby Bathurst Street Bridge. The design also includes a public art landscape element on the north side, as well as an integrated set of stairs on the south side adding an additional access point. Renderings depict what appears to be pre-weathered Corten steel as the prime material, a metal with a richly textured finish that is a favourite for public art pieces like Jakko Pernu's Summer Clouds at Concord Park Place.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, Toronto"Ellis Don Proposal", Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge

Comments from the recent meeting will be among the factors considered by an evaluation committee made up of industry professionals well versed in the City's planning process and the importance and context of surrounding landmarks and communities. The designs, which have already been evaluated by a technical team, will now be considered based on form, function, material selection, maintainability, and safety. Once a final design has been selected, contract negotiations will commence, with the announcement of the succesful proposal expected for late August or early September. Construction of the successful proposal will proceed this Fall, with completion targeted for Spring 2017.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, TorontoCurrent stage in the project timeline, image courtesy of MMM Group

We look forward to learning which design will be realized when the contract is awarded late this Summer. Until then, you can soak in images of the three proposed designs by visiting our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment using the space provided at the bottom of this page.