Improve the Beltline Trail!
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Sign our online petition!
Support improving the Beltline Trail to make it safer for all trail users!
Tree removal and drainage improvements are underway on the Beltline trail, affecting access to the Mud Creek section, south of Moore Ave. to the Brickworks. To protect public safety, the trail will be closed while construction crews are at work, typically Monday to Friday between 7AM-5PM. The construction has started and will continue until late summer. Read more at the project website.
New: Read our Formal Beltline Trail Report
Councillor Josh Colle has started a new Friends of the York Beltline group to help organize and oversee improvements to the York Beltline Trail. Cycle Toronto has been invited to join as a founding member! The first event was a tree planting and cleanup in Walter Saunders park on April 20th. Check his website for more updates and meeting dates.
In January, Councillor Josh Matlow tabled Motion 2013.TE21.100 at Toronto-East York Community Council requesting safe crossings on the Beltline Trail at Oriole Pkwy, Avenue Rd and Bathurst St! Specifically, the motion is a requests City of Toronto Transportation Services staff to investigate options for installing signallized crossings, and report back in March. Thank you Councillor Matlow for making the Beltline safer for all trail users!
Safe crossings at major roads has been our group’s top recommendation since our 2010 Ward 22 cyclist survey, and 800 trail users signed a petition calling for safe crossings on the trail. These crossings will unify the Kay Gardner Beltline into a single continuous trail stretching for over 4km from Mt Pleasant Rd to Allen Rd.
In late 2012, the City of Toronto undertook a study on upgrades and improvements to the Beltline Trail, looking at the section from Allen Rd. through Mt. Pleasant Cemetery to the Don Valley Brickworks and back to David Balfour Park (see the map here). This is the longest rail trail in Toronto, and is well used by cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, pedestrians and others.
However, the trail suffers from a number of problems, including unsafe road crossings at major roads, lack of lighting at night, and ice buildup in winter. A number of local property owners are strongly opposed to any improvements to the trail that could encourage outsiders near their properties.
The City's review is now complete, and the design consultants will release a report in early 2013 including their recommendations, cost estimates, and a summary of public input on the project. There is some funding in place for improvements, primarily from the Cycling Mixed-Use Trails budget, as well as the general Parks, Forestry & Recreation budget. Private partnerships are also being sought out. For more information on the City project, visit toronto.ca/beltline.
It is important for all trail users to support the project!
Cycle Toronto Midtown (formerly TCU22), Cycle Toronto's local ward group in Ward 22, are pushing for several safety improvements to the trail, including:
- Safe, signalized crossings at Oriole Parkway, Avenue Road and Bathurst, as well as the David Balfour Park trail at Mt. Pleasant Ave.
- Lighting along the length of the trail, so the trail can be used after dusk, especially in the fall and spring.
- A direct entrance from the Beltline to the proposed Chaplin Crosstown LRT station.
- Winter maintenance - snow-plowing will ensure that sheets of ice do not develop on the trail.
- Fixes to persistent drainage problems, especially in the Mud Creek ravine south of Moore Ave. and the Yellow Creek floodplain opposite Memorial Arena.
- Longer access hours through Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
- Improved wayfinding signage and connections between the sections of the trail.
For more information on our suggested improvements, read our 6-page Beltline Trail Summary Report.
Cycle Toronto Midtown member Michael Black has written the Formal Beltline Report, a definitive guide to the Beltline Trail, including a detailed look through its (often tumultuous) history, current conditions and future improvements. Read the report in its entirety here. In addition, one of our group members, Burns Wattie, has written a report analyzing the Beltline Trail from a wheelchair user's perspective - read his report here. Accessibility is a major challenge at points along the Beltline Trail.
The Midtown community overwhelmingly supports improvements to the Beltline trail! Our ongoing on-trail and online petition drive has gathered over 800 signatures to date, from trail users throughout central Toronto
The following groups and individuals have endorsed our 6-page Summary Report:
Friends of Oriole Park
Oakwood Village Community Association
MPP Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) Mount Pleasant Village BIA (Business Improvement Area)
Councillor Josh Colle (Ward 15)
Ontario Trails Council
Community Bicycle Network (letter of endorsement)
Brentwood Towers Tenants Association
Former Councillor Kay Gardner
Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21) (letter of endorsement)
Trustee Shelley Laskin (Ward 11 - St. Paul's)
Councillor Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29)
MPP Eric Hoskins (St. Paul's) (letter of endorsement)
If your group would like to endorse our report, contact us at email@example.com
Improving the York Beltline
The study project does not cover the York Beltline Trail on the west side of Allen Rd. Our group has been working with Councillor Josh Colle to push the City of Toronto for improvements to the York Beltline, including extending the trail eastwards to Marlee, improving the connection with the Kay Gardner Beltline, and safer crossings at major roads like Caledonia.
In July, Councillor Colle sent a letter to the City incorporating our group's recommendations for the York Beltline. We're happy to announce that, as a result of our conversations with Councillor Colle and City staff, the City of Toronto has now started work on this project!
In partnership with Cyclepath Norco Toronto, Cycle Toronto has already been heavily involved in the Beltline Trail. With the Street Smarts on-trail outreach program helps cyclists by giving free lights, bells, tuneups and anti-theft advice.
Coming soon: public bike repair stands on the Beltline!
There is opposition to improvements to the trail, especially lighting and winter maintenance, from a small number of property owners along the trail. This opposition dates back to the 1970s when many property owners attempted to purchase the railway corridor and cut off public access to the trail. At the time, as now, the concern was primarily over bringing “outsiders” to the trail, crime and perceived risks to safety.
After 30 years, these concerns have not materialized. The trail does not breed crime. On the contrary, the lit section of the trail from Lascelles to Mt Pleasant Cemetery has activity on it at all times of the day and night, providing an increased deterrent to crime - more “eyes on the street”.
Indeed, research from other mixed-use trail projects across North America has shown that trails help to reduce crime, increase community well-being, and increase property values.