‘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.