Nice article on Weston Wheels

We’re not big National Post readers at the Norman household, so we nearly missed a really nice article on Weston Wheels, the local charity bike shop.

Cameron Richards is being modest. When, towards the end of summer, his fellow volunteers at Weston Wheels — a new youth-operated bike shop in the priority Mt. Dennis neighbourhood — absconded to get summer jobs (ones that paid), the Grade 12 student at York Memorial Collegiate Institute worked solo, dutifully coming in four or five days a week to help the modest flow of customers with warped wheels or busted gears.

“My mom wanted me out of the house for the summer; she told me to come here,” he says with a shrug….

To reinvigorate the project and attract both new youth volunteers and adult mentors, on Sept. 12, LEF and CCEDNet co-facilitated a strategic planning session cum six-month anniversary party. The roughly 35 attendees — staff from both organizations, past and would-be youth volunteers and curious community members — reviewed Weston Wheels’ initial goals and brainstormed ways to make the store sustainable. Ideas ranged from increased marketing to selling jewellery made from old bike parts.

Only one criticism. The headline writer says that Weston Wheels is in Etobicoke.

 

Metrolinx – Station Plan Looking Good

The ARL Platform is at the north end. Source: GO Transit

The third Weston Station Master Plan meeting last night seemed well attended until the non-civilians were asked to stand up. Perhaps 25 citizens not on a related payroll (city, TTC, Metrolinx, politicians…) had bothered to come out (in fairness, during the last game of the Stanley Cup) and listen to the latest Weston Station news and developments. There seems a genuine desire to help Weston regenerate and Metrolinx is spending large amounts of taxpayer money in order to do this.

Some news delivered at the meeting:

The station opening date has slipped another week to late July.

There are three stages of development for the station; the 2012 version, the 2015 version and the beyond 2015 version.

2012 Station: this will minimalist with a platform and temporary ticket office.

2015 Station: Will have a canopy over the platform and a building with ‘lots of glass’ incorporating a local stone feature wall. ‘Kiss and ride’ and dedicated taxi lanes will ease access and for cyclists, bicycle access and shelters. The Airport Link platform will be at the north end of the station. Platforms will be kept clear of ice and snow without the use of salt (using glycol apparently). The pedestrian bridge across Lawrence Avenue will match the station architecture.

Beyond 2015: Metrolinx will work to facilitate more mid-rise development along Weston Road (south of Lawrence). Taller buildings will be set back from the street. The North parking spaces (currently visible) will eventually be redeveloped and the parking put underground. Because the platforms are away from the streets, there will be an effort to promote activity in the station area.

Residents’ questions focussed on traffic congestion caused by construction, especially at Weston and St Phillip’s and Rosemont. Once the station is up and running, there shouldn’t be huge numbers of cars leaving the parking lot. According to Frances Nunziata, there is a left turn signal in the works for southbound Weston Road traffic that should be implemented soon.

All levels of government were represented by Councillor Frances Nunziata, MPP Laura Albanese and Paul Ferreira (for MP Mike Sullivan in Ottawa). It was Ferreira however who seemed to capture the spirit of the evening when he pointed out that the station plans beyond 2012 are merely a vision. It’s up to all concerned to make sure that the vision is realized.

Editorial

Weston Station is giving residents a fantastic opportunity to shape the future through careful attention to the details of the new station and surrounding development. What we already have in Weston is a rough gem of a community with unlimited potential. Occasionally, older residents remember the thriving ‘downtown Weston’ of old with its own Loblaws, several jewellers, tailors and a Kresge’s. Yorkdale killed that in the 60s and bad planning did the rest.

Today we still have many businesses in Weston – a large supermarket with a much bigger selection of foods than the old Loblaws ever had; restaurants galore and so on. Some of the businesses are ones that have been around forever and some that are new and perhaps unwelcome. However, if we choose to shop, buy services and dine elsewhere, we’ll have no-one to blame but ourselves when desired businesses fail and main street is left with dollar stores and payday loan companies. By voting for Weston with our custom and involvement in the political process, we signal confidence in Weston our ability to shape the present and the future.

Humber bike path still rolling

One of the unsung gems of Weston is the lovely—absolutely lovely, astonishingly lovely—bike path along the Humber. The path runs all the way from the lake to, I hear, the Kortright Centre—although I’ve never made it that far myself.

The wonderful ride, though, gets broken in Weston. At the northern-most end of Cruickshank Park, cyclists are forced to dismount, climb up a steep hill, and then fend with Weston Road traffic, which, to put it mildly, is a total effing war zone. The path starts again beside the Dairy Queen, so we have to cross Weston, go under the narrow bridge at Oak, and then cross six lanes of traffic at the SuperStore. It’s ugly.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will be trying to make it a little easier starting tomorrow. They will be working on plans to fix the “Mid-Humber Gap” in two phases. The first phase would extend the path northwards from Cruikshank Park to St Philips. This phase stands a chance of being completed in the next five years, if the Ministry of Natural Resources will give the land to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.

The second phase would join the northern and southern portions of the path. Staff will begin planning that phase and doing a ‘feasibility study’. Some of the land is privately owned.

Thanks to Frances Nunziata’s website people for the tip.

John Street Bridge Designs Detailed

‘This bridge will make people want to leave the train at Weston and have a look around.’ Three architects outlined the concepts behind four bridge designs selected by the John Street Pedestrian Bridge Community Advisory Committee on Saturday March 3rd and this seemed to be their common refrain. One architect even simulated the view of his bridge from a train.

The turnout was fair – perhaps 20-30 citizens although each level of government was represented by MP Mike Sullivan, MPP Laura Albanese and Councillor Frances Nunziata along with a number of Metrolinx and Council officials.

In an effort to provide a noise barrier for residents, GO and Airport Link tracks are to be lowered through part of Weston and John Street will be closed to traffic at the railway tracks. This will probably happen late next year and a pedestrian bridge will link the two sides. Metrolinx has budgeted $6m and the citizens’ committee has been hard at work for quite some time. Designs all meet height and electrification upgrade requirements.

The meeting was held so that citizens could examine designs and concepts in detail and question each responsible architect. Bridges range between 4 and 5 metres in deck width and are designed to accommodate pedestrians and (the wider ones) bicycles. Two are truss designs traditionally associated with Ontario railway bridges and two are more ‘out there’ with bicycles as their inspiration. Because the GO tracks are being lowered, the bridge steps and ramps will not need to be as high. Apparently it’s not possible to lower the CP tracks so one bizarre annoyance is that the bridge will not cross all the rail tracks. Hopefully pedestrians and cyclists will not assume that the CP tracks are abandoned – some kind of barrier will be in place to close access when a train is coming.

There was concern that a planned pedestrian bridge which will run alongside the railway bridge across Lawrence should have a matching design. Other residents asked about maintenance, snow removal and vandalism.

Attendees were given an opportunity to submit written comments and there is an online version here.

Regardless of the final choice, with a wise selection, the new bridge will be a further impetus for regeneration in the years to come.

Cycle Path Update

End of the trail, Cruickshank Park looking north.

Just a quick item to inform readers that the City of Toronto is looking for input on their new multi-use bicyle lane projects as outlined here. From the link is an input form that looks like it has to be printed off and faxed.

The city would like to extend the bike trail that ends abruptly at Cruickshank Park and link it via the riverbank to rejoin the network north of the 401 avoiding streets and traffic entirely. Apparently the various property owners along the route have been consulted.

Perhaps it won't.

Another project proposes extending the west-rail path north along the rail lines.  Right now their plan is to come north and when it reaches Black Creek and Weston, to follow north along the creek.  Ideally, it would continue along the railway and head up into Weston Village.

The bad news is that the deadline for for comments is Friday February 24.