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Beltline Trail

DonValleyRainbow

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This is to discuss the three existing segments of the Beltline Trail, any connections, extensions, and improvements to the trail, and the surrounding parkland:
  • York
    • Bowie Ave/Croham Rd to Beograd Gdns
    • Connections to Caledonia Rd, Ronald Ave, Fairbank Ave, Dufferin St, Salinas Ct, Tommy Douglas Gdns, Hopewell Ave
    • Within Kay Gardner Beltline Park
  • Kay Gardner
    • Allen Expressway to Mount Pleasant Rd
    • Connections to Elm Ridge Dr, Aldburn Rd, Old Park Rd, Bathurst St, Chaplin Cres, Eglinton Ave, Forest Hill Rd, Avenue Rd, Oriole Pkwy, Lascelles Blvd, Yonge St, Merton St
    • Within Kay Gardner Beltline Park
  • Mud Creek
    • Moore Ave to Bayview Ave
    • Connection to Heath St
    • Within Moore Park Ravine
In my mind, these are some issues:
  1. Gaps
    • There's no direct connection over the Allen Expressway; users have to go around via Roselawn Ave. Heck, it doesn't even connect to Marlee Ave because the back of 855 Roselawn Ave cuts it off.
    • The Mount Pleasant Cemetery is an open connection from dawn to dusk, not sure that being a cut-off in the night is really a pressing problem.
    • There's work underway to provide a direct connection to the Lower Don Trail via Bayview, but it is very indirect if you want to go south. I thought I also saw plans for a bridge across from the Brick Works, but am unsure as to when/if that will happen.
  2. At-grade crossings
    • Caledonia Rd, Bathurst St, Avenue Rd, Oriole Pkwy and Moore Ave are busy cross streets, proving to be a barrier to convenient travel.
    • Oriole Pkwy received a pedestrian island, and Avenue Rd got a set of traffic lights, improving safety.
    • Bathurst still remains a very dangerous and inconvenient crossing. A traffic signal was ruled out due to proximity to the existing signal at Roselawn Ave/Elm Ridge Dr
    • The trail has a crazy grade south of Moore Ave
  3. Erosion/Stormwater Management
    • Some sections experience overland flow, which creates puddles and uneven surfaces.
  4. Lighting
    • The trail proves to still be relatively popular at night in some sections, particularly between Lascelles Blvd and Mount Pleasant Rd. Other sections are not lit, preventing it from being a 24-hour public space
    • Lights get burnt out from time to time, and my reports to Toronto Hydro go unanswered for long periods
I live by the trail, so I use it quite often to get places. I love it, Kay Gardner and the othewrs she worked with really did give the city a huge benefit in establishing this trail. But there are still some things to do to make it truly amazing.
 

DonValleyRainbow

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Regarding the connection over the Allen, it came up during a discussion in the Eglinton Crosstown thread (and it's why I created this one).

I think any proposals to make a connection over the Allen were put on the backburner because there was an environmental assessment going on for the Allen. They were looking at a few options: do nothing, enhance, modify, surface road, tunnel or remove.

The latter two would not require a bridge structure, or if there was one, it would need to be modified.

Unfortunately, they withdrew from the environmental assessment process, so the Allen is staying as it for a while.
 

k10ery

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ADRM

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On a much less significant front, I'd love to see parts of the Beltline paved. I love riding my bike down some stretches but the crushed gravel is pretty unsafe for some tire profiles.
 

W. K. Lis

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On a much less significant front, I'd love to see parts of the Beltline paved. I love riding my bike down some stretches but the crushed gravel is pretty unsafe for some tire profiles.
Be careful what you wish for. Used to be that most of Toronto streets were unpaved, hence "Muddy York". The streets became paved by the demands of bicyclists after the turn of the 20th century. Unfortunately, then the automobile came around and expropriated the paved streets for themselves. Which is the problem we now have by automobiles demanding exclusive use of the paved streets just for themselves.

1914

Muddy Bloor Street West at High Park, looking west
 

DonValleyRainbow

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On a much less significant front, I'd love to see parts of the Beltline paved. I love riding my bike down some stretches but the crushed gravel is pretty unsafe for some tire profiles.
I don't think it's too bad on foot when it rains, and it's on a hard enough base for most of it. The unsafe spots I'm aware of are between Eglinton and Bathurst, there's some really soft areas.
 

jameskoole

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Please don't pave it. That's one of the best parts of that trail. Paving it would result in a change of the perception of that trail and switch it from a recreational trail to a bike road. While that would serve cyclists well, providing for a good route from Eglinton over to Yonge, it would make it worse for pedestrians use. Cyclists already have a decent option in Chaplin Cres. if they are looking for a paved road to use.

Formalizing the connection to the Moore Park Ravine section down to the Brickworks, and over to Milkman's Lane and the Park Drive Trail would be great, but the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery is in the way. That might be a good thing, depending on whether having a specific route through with signage would be tolerated.
 

Johnny Au

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The Beltline Trail between Ronald and Caledonia had been cut off for maintenance. It means that I had to go along Castlefield to Caledonia to get the cluster of three Pokéstops at the intersection of the Beltline Trail and Caledonia (it doesn't help that there is also watermain replacement at the intersection of Castlefield and Caledonia); there is a cluster of three Pokémon Gyms at the intersection of the Beltline Trail and Ronald.
 

steveintoronto

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Please don't pave it. That's one of the best parts of that trail. Paving it would result in a change of the perception of that trail and switch it from a recreational trail to a bike road. While that would serve cyclists well, providing for a good route from Eglinton over to Yonge, it would make it worse for pedestrians use. Cyclists already have a decent option in Chaplin Cres. if they are looking for a paved road to use.

Formalizing the connection to the Moore Park Ravine section down to the Brickworks, and over to Milkman's Lane and the Park Drive Trail would be great, but the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery is in the way. That might be a good thing, depending on whether having a specific route through with signage would be tolerated.
As a distance cyclist, very partial to railtrails, I have to fully agee. The *right type of crushed limestone* is key, and they now have a mixture they put down on some of the trails that has a hardener in it, such that it doesn't have to be rollered for it to 'set-up'. They use the same hopper machine as they do for asphalt to put it down.

I ride slightly wider road tires, 25c front, 28c rear, and they're 'smallish' for the stated width (Bontrager AW2), absolutely no problem on any quality distance trail with crushed limestone. Paving can be a bit odd, and if you do go down, considerably more damaging. Asphalt paving also often doesn't age well, it doesn't reform to cracks and shifting substrate, and often makes it dangerous as it can 'rail' you with sharp ruts.

If the crushed limestone is in poor shape in spots, address the specifics causing it, not the pave itself.
I don't think it's too bad on foot when it rains, and it's on a hard enough base for most of it. The unsafe spots I'm aware of are between Eglinton and Bathurst, there's some really soft areas.
Gravel (as opposed to crushed limestone) is almost always not a great surface for bike tires, unless you have massive tires, and then you're not doing distance. Not only is it very rough on the tires, it tends to be unstable, and actually slows you down considerably...and yet it's been used on some bike trails, making them almost impossible to use.

The Cottontail Trail immediately comes to mind:
http://www.wellington.ca/en/discover/Cottontail-Road-Trail.asp
They use large crushed gravel for the 'off-road' sections, which is really an un-assumed road that used to be packed clay until they ruined it, even if it was grassed over in sections.

I wrote the county clerk on it, asking if they were ever going to top it with a bike friendly paving, never got a reply. It was a stealth move to get it paid for by Trans-Canada and other agencies to benefit to the local landowners. It's gravelled to the width of road.
 
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DonValleyRainbow

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the connection to Marlee and on to the trail on the west side of the Allen is essential.
There are no accessible ramps to the Beltline bridge at Dufferin, only stairs.

How would those on wheelchair, bike, or stroller get up there aside from going to the Fairbank entrance or the Salinas Court entrance?
Did some further searching into this.

The segment to Marlee is, according to city maps, part of 855 Roselawn Ave. Some googling revealed this letter from local councillor Josh Colle asking to "Establish a Cross-Divisional Staff Table on York-Beltline Issues & Initiatives", which among other things, includes:
  • extending of the trail from Walter Saunders Park to Marlee Avenue;
  • extending of the trail from Marlee Avenue to Allen Road;
  • constructing a new accessible gateway trail entrance off Castlefield Avenue;
  • implementing heritage, cycling, and general trail signage;
  • refurbishing of the Dufferin Street overpass; and
  • Potentially relocating community gardens at 855 Roselawn Ave. (TCHC)

The last point is a bit flabberghasting. City-owned TCHC property overtook the beltline for some gardens, without even thinking of the trail, and that is what has so far held up the extension. Talk about low-hanging fruit left to start going bad.

Anyway, the letter was to North York Community Council, so looking up the minutes from that meeting, it was adopted and then sent to city council (really?), and adopted with a minor amendment on July 12, 2016. Since then, it seems the accessible entrance off of Castlefield has been implemented, and there's movement on the signage. But nothing on the extension front.
 

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