Davenport group seeks "pedestrian overpass" into Earlscourt Park

News Nov 30, 2016 by Rahul Gupta Bloor West Villager

A collection of community groups representing Davenport is pushing to build a pedestrian bridge into Earlscourt Park, which it believes will become a catalyst for transforming the neighbourhood.

The groups say a marquee elevated path into the park, along with an extended West Toronto rail path and completed Green Line trail linking five kilometres of green space between Earlscourt and Spadina Road, would create the area’s only continuous walking and cycling connection linking Liberty Village with Davenport and even further north. 

“Where that bridge would be is actually the starting point of the Green Line,” explained group spokesperson Matt Park in mid-November.

“What that does is create a pedestrian path that could take you, with the extension of the West Toronto rail path, from Liberty Village all the way up to Davenport Road into Earlscourt and through that to St. Clair (Avenue West), and then also join up with the Green Line and act as a catalyst to get you into the Annex.”

The connection could particularly prove a boon to small businesses on Corso Italia linking that neighbourhood with the south as well as adding more green space for Davenport - crucial, said Park, with more and more young families moving into the neighbourhood.

The bridge could also provide safe access into Earlscourt since it would be elevated, and prevent the need for young children to have to pass the heavy-traffic Davenport Road.  And Park believes completing the project would provide an incentive for getting unfunded sections of the Green Line completed.

At that point we would have a tangible community benefit which could be really special,” said Park, who is also president of the Davenport Community Village Association. 

The two-year-old proposal was most prominently raised by Park and others during a resident advisory panel for Metrolinx’s contentious Davenport rail bridge plan to create an overpass for GO Transit rail trains servicing the Barrie line.

Creating a pedestrian and cycling bridge into Earlscourt was one of 89 recommendations made by the 35-member panel last year.

Since then, Park says both Davenport city councillors have endorsed the idea, and a petition with thousands of resident signatures was recently introduced by Davenport MPP Cristina Martins in the Ontario Legislature. The plan is also supported by local MP Julie Dzerowicz.

Conversations have also been held with Metrolinx over the plan, with planning staff even sketching out some preliminary design renderings of a potential pedestrian bridge. But  while there is internal support for the plan, Metrolinx spokesperson Vanessa Bourassa said the agency does not yet have jurisdiction to build into the park, which is owned by the city. 

“We continue to meet with city staff and remain open to discussing the connection,” said Bourassa.

In November, Toronto council approved Davenport city councillor Ana Bailao’s motion seeking clarity on issues pertaining to the Davenport rail overpass, which Metrolinx plans to build between Bloor Street West and Davenport Road. Building an elevated pedestrian bridge linking to Earlscourt is one of the eight unanswered questions Bailao’s motion calls for Metrolinx to address in regard to the overpass.

In a recent interview, Bailao said Metrolinx urgently needs to mend fences with Davenport residents upset about the overpass plans and create a project with substantial community benefits.   

Park suggested completing the pedestrian bridge could prove to be something of a salve with residents still upset about Metrolinx’s plan to proceed with the rail overpass, which is anticipated to cause GO rail traffic to mushroom to 180 trains per day passing through Davenport. 

“If you’re going to give us a bridge for trains, I want a bridge for people,” said Park. “I’m hopeful (Metrolinx) is serious about improving connectivity.”

Davenport group seeks "pedestrian overpass" into Earlscourt Park

Project could link neighbourhood with Liberty Village, Annex

News Nov 30, 2016 by Rahul Gupta Bloor West Villager

A collection of community groups representing Davenport is pushing to build a pedestrian bridge into Earlscourt Park, which it believes will become a catalyst for transforming the neighbourhood.

The groups say a marquee elevated path into the park, along with an extended West Toronto rail path and completed Green Line trail linking five kilometres of green space between Earlscourt and Spadina Road, would create the area’s only continuous walking and cycling connection linking Liberty Village with Davenport and even further north. 

“Where that bridge would be is actually the starting point of the Green Line,” explained group spokesperson Matt Park in mid-November.

“What that does is create a pedestrian path that could take you, with the extension of the West Toronto rail path, from Liberty Village all the way up to Davenport Road into Earlscourt and through that to St. Clair (Avenue West), and then also join up with the Green Line and act as a catalyst to get you into the Annex.”

The connection could particularly prove a boon to small businesses on Corso Italia linking that neighbourhood with the south as well as adding more green space for Davenport - crucial, said Park, with more and more young families moving into the neighbourhood.

The bridge could also provide safe access into Earlscourt since it would be elevated, and prevent the need for young children to have to pass the heavy-traffic Davenport Road.  And Park believes completing the project would provide an incentive for getting unfunded sections of the Green Line completed.

At that point we would have a tangible community benefit which could be really special,” said Park, who is also president of the Davenport Community Village Association. 

The two-year-old proposal was most prominently raised by Park and others during a resident advisory panel for Metrolinx’s contentious Davenport rail bridge plan to create an overpass for GO Transit rail trains servicing the Barrie line.

Creating a pedestrian and cycling bridge into Earlscourt was one of 89 recommendations made by the 35-member panel last year.

Since then, Park says both Davenport city councillors have endorsed the idea, and a petition with thousands of resident signatures was recently introduced by Davenport MPP Cristina Martins in the Ontario Legislature. The plan is also supported by local MP Julie Dzerowicz.

Conversations have also been held with Metrolinx over the plan, with planning staff even sketching out some preliminary design renderings of a potential pedestrian bridge. But  while there is internal support for the plan, Metrolinx spokesperson Vanessa Bourassa said the agency does not yet have jurisdiction to build into the park, which is owned by the city. 

“We continue to meet with city staff and remain open to discussing the connection,” said Bourassa.

In November, Toronto council approved Davenport city councillor Ana Bailao’s motion seeking clarity on issues pertaining to the Davenport rail overpass, which Metrolinx plans to build between Bloor Street West and Davenport Road. Building an elevated pedestrian bridge linking to Earlscourt is one of the eight unanswered questions Bailao’s motion calls for Metrolinx to address in regard to the overpass.

In a recent interview, Bailao said Metrolinx urgently needs to mend fences with Davenport residents upset about the overpass plans and create a project with substantial community benefits.   

Park suggested completing the pedestrian bridge could prove to be something of a salve with residents still upset about Metrolinx’s plan to proceed with the rail overpass, which is anticipated to cause GO rail traffic to mushroom to 180 trains per day passing through Davenport. 

“If you’re going to give us a bridge for trains, I want a bridge for people,” said Park. “I’m hopeful (Metrolinx) is serious about improving connectivity.”

Davenport group seeks "pedestrian overpass" into Earlscourt Park

Project could link neighbourhood with Liberty Village, Annex

News Nov 30, 2016 by Rahul Gupta Bloor West Villager

A collection of community groups representing Davenport is pushing to build a pedestrian bridge into Earlscourt Park, which it believes will become a catalyst for transforming the neighbourhood.

The groups say a marquee elevated path into the park, along with an extended West Toronto rail path and completed Green Line trail linking five kilometres of green space between Earlscourt and Spadina Road, would create the area’s only continuous walking and cycling connection linking Liberty Village with Davenport and even further north. 

“Where that bridge would be is actually the starting point of the Green Line,” explained group spokesperson Matt Park in mid-November.

“What that does is create a pedestrian path that could take you, with the extension of the West Toronto rail path, from Liberty Village all the way up to Davenport Road into Earlscourt and through that to St. Clair (Avenue West), and then also join up with the Green Line and act as a catalyst to get you into the Annex.”

The connection could particularly prove a boon to small businesses on Corso Italia linking that neighbourhood with the south as well as adding more green space for Davenport - crucial, said Park, with more and more young families moving into the neighbourhood.

The bridge could also provide safe access into Earlscourt since it would be elevated, and prevent the need for young children to have to pass the heavy-traffic Davenport Road.  And Park believes completing the project would provide an incentive for getting unfunded sections of the Green Line completed.

At that point we would have a tangible community benefit which could be really special,” said Park, who is also president of the Davenport Community Village Association. 

The two-year-old proposal was most prominently raised by Park and others during a resident advisory panel for Metrolinx’s contentious Davenport rail bridge plan to create an overpass for GO Transit rail trains servicing the Barrie line.

Creating a pedestrian and cycling bridge into Earlscourt was one of 89 recommendations made by the 35-member panel last year.

Since then, Park says both Davenport city councillors have endorsed the idea, and a petition with thousands of resident signatures was recently introduced by Davenport MPP Cristina Martins in the Ontario Legislature. The plan is also supported by local MP Julie Dzerowicz.

Conversations have also been held with Metrolinx over the plan, with planning staff even sketching out some preliminary design renderings of a potential pedestrian bridge. But  while there is internal support for the plan, Metrolinx spokesperson Vanessa Bourassa said the agency does not yet have jurisdiction to build into the park, which is owned by the city. 

“We continue to meet with city staff and remain open to discussing the connection,” said Bourassa.

In November, Toronto council approved Davenport city councillor Ana Bailao’s motion seeking clarity on issues pertaining to the Davenport rail overpass, which Metrolinx plans to build between Bloor Street West and Davenport Road. Building an elevated pedestrian bridge linking to Earlscourt is one of the eight unanswered questions Bailao’s motion calls for Metrolinx to address in regard to the overpass.

In a recent interview, Bailao said Metrolinx urgently needs to mend fences with Davenport residents upset about the overpass plans and create a project with substantial community benefits.   

Park suggested completing the pedestrian bridge could prove to be something of a salve with residents still upset about Metrolinx’s plan to proceed with the rail overpass, which is anticipated to cause GO rail traffic to mushroom to 180 trains per day passing through Davenport. 

“If you’re going to give us a bridge for trains, I want a bridge for people,” said Park. “I’m hopeful (Metrolinx) is serious about improving connectivity.”