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Morningside and Finch

Lone Primate

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Does anybody know if the city has any plans to straighten out that pointless deke Finch makes at the RR tracks and at the same time connect Morningside to itself? I mean this rather bucolic anomaly right here, that seems quaint in 1930s terms but a little out of place today.
 

scarberiankhatru

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I've heard various rumblings over the years but I'm not aware of any real plans. I'm 100% sure that something will be done to Morningside because the underpass is really narrow, but I don't know when that will be.

All they need to do is widen Morningside to 4 lanes. Straightening Finch here to meet Old Finch is kinda pointless: Finch goes nowhere east of Morningside so there's no point spending millions of dollars so that a thousand people a day can save 5 seconds.
 

CDL.TO

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It's already been kinda straighted out. You can see in that link that Staines and Morningside has a new intersection under construction. Finch has been realigned with a new rail underpass and now goes to that intersection.
 

adma

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First, remember that the diagonal thing that Morningside does is new (70s/80s; contemporary w/the suburbanization of Malvern)--prior to that, it went straight up as a concession road along the path now demarcated by Littles Rd.

Secondly, the long-term plans have been to create a Finch "bypass" to the north, following the rail corridor and IIRC reconnecting w/Finch around the Pickering border--sort of akin to how Taunton Rd and Steeles were plugged into each other in the 90s. That's why Old Finch is called Old Finch: in preparation for said bypass.

Once that's done, everything will be rationalized into a straightforward Finch-Morningside intersection, with a rebuilt railway crossing. And I suppose issues relating to Rouge Park and environmental concerns are why the Finch bypass remains unbuilt, decades after it was conceived...
 

jamesbow

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Speaking of our old road history, take a look at Google maps and trace out the remains of Passmore Avenue. That used to be the concession road north of Finch, with the border falling on Steeles at some odd distance north of there due to some strange anomaly.

Whereas Finch and Sheppard and all the others were eventually connected to go across the city, Passmore has been gradually wiped out. Even in the past few decades, subdivisions have formed in northwestern Scarborough which have removed this street. It now exists in several broken bits, and you can see abandoned remains across the Rouge Valley to the Pickering town line.

Anybody want to arrange a walking tour to the corner of Littles and Passmore and see what it's like today?

...James
 

Lone Primate

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It's interesting to hear there are plans to make Finch a through street. I wonder if it ever was, previously... even though it crosses the river... kinda... there seems to be a big gap in the road once you're in Durham. Too swampy, or just fell into disuse?
 

adma

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adma: do you know if Morningside/Littles ever actually crossed the Rouge?

Except in cart-track days, probably not. Such northward traffic would likely have been diverted east and up over the Sewells suspension bridge.

It's interesting to hear there are plans to make Finch a through street. I wonder if it ever was, previously... even though it crosses the river... kinda... there seems to be a big gap in the road once you're in Durham. Too swampy, or just fell into disuse?

Basically, Finch now is as "through" as it's ever been: the little Sewells-zone jiggle over the Bailey bridge, and then the jig north along Meadowvale to Plug Hat and down Beare...
 

dowlingm

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http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/304120
Sprawl only victor in this row TheStar.com - News - Sprawl only victor in this row
Tiny stretch of highway across York Region, Toronto border promises to leave a heavy footprint

February 16, 2008
Peter Gorrie
ENVIRONMENT REPORTER
A short stretch of highway has sparked what appears to be a pitched battle over urban sprawl between the City of Toronto and its booming neighbour to the north, York Region.
But look closely and this looks more like further proof that when it comes to suburban development here, asphalt is as addictive as crack cocaine and, as a result, no project can ever be declared dead.
The only certainty is that something will be built, allowing sprawl to continue unimpeded in this corner of the GTA.
The road in question is the Don Cousens Parkway, named to honour the retired, long-serving MPP and mayor of Markham, the town in York Region's southeastern corner. It's planned to whoosh traffic through new suburbs, around Markham's Disney-cute old downtown, and into Toronto.
The project is heavily promoted by the region, which has already built a two-lane version on part of the proposed right-of-way.
It faces one main obstacle: To make sense, from the suburban planners' and politicians' point of view, the road must extend seamlessly down into the northeast corner of Scarborough, from where the river of commuters can flow unimpeded to the 401.
Last October, Toronto City Council said "No," arguing the project raised too many traffic and environmental concerns.
Since York Region has no legal right to send its bulldozers and pavers across the municipal border, Toronto's rejection should, it seems, kill the project.
But it still has plenty of life.
York Region continues to push hard for it, and hopes to get the province on side.
Environmental advocate Jim Robb hopes that doesn't happen. "If (Queen's Park) wants to establish itself as ready for the environmental challenges of the 21st century, it can't approve projects like this," he says.
But the province appears to favour York's road. And why not? Its contributions to sprawl in the area – including Seaton, the hybrid SUV of "green" subdivisions – are contributing to the clamour for it.
The environment ministry recently applauded an environmental assessment conducted by the region. It noted: "The proposed transportation improvements will benefit the communities" that now exist or are in the works, and concludes that the proposed environmental and health protection measures "will ensure that any potential negative impacts will be minimized and managed."
The province also appointed a mediator. Its choice – York Region's former chief administrative officer – dismayed the project's critics.
On top of all that, Toronto's opposition is not as adamant as it seems.
What's the fuss about?
The "parkway" is to run through Markham to its border with Toronto – the north side of Steeles Ave. – then angle west across city territory to link with the junction of Morningside Ave. and Neilson Rd.
Toronto has no say in when or how construction proceeds north of the boundary. The problem for York is that, without the city's blessing, the road would end abruptly at Steeles, threatening a traffic bottleneck, as drivers must jog right, then left to continue downtown.
York's solution is to run the road straight across Steeles, then angle it toward Morningside and Neilson.
"A continuous alignment operates better than a jog," says region spokesperson Paul May. It's safer, faster, better for transit vehicles and cuts pollution, he said.
Critics object on several counts.
The Parkway section north of Steeles skirts Bob Hunter Memorial Park, which is part of the Rouge, Canada's largest urban green space. Then, it bisects a former golf course – soon to be yet another subdivision. But the river valley runs through that land and the project would require a major bridge to span its 250-metre width.
Hunter Park would be heavily damaged by noise, pollution and winter salt spray, says long-time environmentalist Robb.
Salt and year-round run-off from the bridge, along with deforestation and construction of pilings in the valley, would ruin cool waters that are home to trout and an endangered fish called the redside dace.
South of Steeles, in Toronto, the Parkway would cross the Morningside Tributary of the Rouge River before joining the existing roads. That span poses the similar environmental threats but would, Robb says, be worse because that watercourse is just five metres deep.
Beyond that, an estimated 27,000 vehicles a day would stream along Morningside and Neilson through residential areas. Local people, who fear accidents and pollution, say it would be better to upgrade transit, including putting GO trains on a little-used railway line.
"There are so many young families with children, and seniors," says the area's city councillor, Raymond Cho. "Many are new Canadians with extended families. I wouldn't like to see anyone get hurt for an extension of traffic."
"Until it's signed, sealed and delivered, we'll fight against it," says Ritta Upshall, of the Morningside Heights Residents Association. "If we do nothing, there will be congestion everywhere. We have to be a little bit flexible. But paving new roads doesn't solve problems, it just creates them."
Toronto has been scoring green points for opposing the project. But it isn't actually against taking steps to improve the general traffic flow. It simply prefers a different route, one with the jog that York dislikes.
It would have the Parkway end at Steeles. Motorists would head west along that road to a new extension of Morningside, then turn south. Steeles would be widened from two to four lanes.
The existing bridge over the Rouge Valley would expand to six lanes, presumably to handle future sprawl.
Toronto's plan eliminates the new crossing of the Morningside Tributary and city officials assume many drivers would choose routes other than Morningside to head south from Steeles. But the amount of traffic in the neighbourhood doesn't seem a major concern.
"It's our intention to have a different route. Whether the same number of cars would use it, I can't say," says Carolyn Johnson, a transportation program manager in the planning department.
Even those the city is supposedly backing have qualms about what's going on. Upshall doesn't like the widening of Steeles. Cho says he's not happy about the plan to extend Morningside up to Steeles, "but I'm not sure what I can do."
The province will accept comments on the environmental review until Feb. 29. After that, if the mediator can't broker a deal, Environment Minister John Gerretsen must decide whether to accept, reject, or modify the project, or send it to a tribunal for further study.
 

Transportfan

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Speaking of our old road history, take a look at Google maps and trace out the remains of Passmore Avenue. That used to be the concession road north of Finch, with the border falling on Steeles at some odd distance north of there due to some strange anomaly.

Whereas Finch and Sheppard and all the others were eventually connected to go across the city, Passmore has been gradually wiped out. Even in the past few decades, subdivisions have formed in northwestern Scarborough which have removed this street. It now exists in several broken bits, and you can see abandoned remains across the Rouge Valley to the Pickering town line.

The reason Steeles wasn't connected at Victoria Park to follow Passmore further east as the other streets were (York Mills/Ellesmere) was because it followed the (straight) township boundary line east, and Passmore became surplus because it was so close.

As a side note: When you look at Steeles across the city you notice that it was a border of significance in York County even before Metro was split off from it. It forms a perfectly straight township boundary across the whole former county. As well, the concessions north of it in York Region follow the 2 Km square grid across the whole region, while south of Steeles the pattern only exists between Victoria Park and the Humber. I bet that is why it was chosen as the Metro limits.
 

scarberiankhatru

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Scarborough was partitioned off and surveyed in a different manner than the rest of York Region (Toronto, North York, Markham, etc.), but I'm not sure why they didn't use the same grid. It's concessions are not all 2km apart - Ellesmere to Lawrence is only 1.8km, Eglinton to St. Clair is also only 1.8km - which is why the jogs get bigger as you go north.
 

adma

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Though doesn't the Scarborough-style partitioning continue eastward thru Pickering et al?
 

Earlscourt_Lad

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Scarborough was partitioned off and surveyed in a different manner than the rest of York Region (Toronto, North York, Markham, etc.), but I'm not sure why they didn't use the same grid. It's concessions are not all 2km apart - Ellesmere to Lawrence is only 1.8km, Eglinton to St. Clair is also only 1.8km - which is why the jogs get bigger as you go north.

Typically, as is my understanding, concessions were 100 chains distant, or 1.25 miles. So any metric conversion is going to be an odd measurement.

I think variances can be accounted as these roads were laid out by very basic surveying methods. To put it bluntly: if I sent you into the woods with a couple of poles and told you to lay out a grid I expect it would not be perfect.
 

scarberiankhatru

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It has nothing to do with metric conversion - they're off by a full 10%, while most other concessions are remarkably similar in length. If Scarborough's grid was laid out to provide equal sized parcels of land for homesteaders, then lots of people got less land than they should have, and given the many, many small jogs on all the N/S streets, which I've been told was for the same 'equal parcel' reason, I find it unlikely that the concessions would be off by hundreds of metres by accident.
 

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