Mid-Humber Gap coming before City Council

Fixing the Mid-Humber Gap will be considered by City Council on July 19 or 20.

The Humber River Trail runs almost uninterrupted from the lake up to Brampton, and—with one exception—the on-road portions are on quiet streets. The exception is here in Weston, where trail users are forced onto Weston Road and to squeeze under the bridge at St Phillips. The city says it “constitutes a significant barrier”.

This is necessary because of the Mid-Humber Gap—an 800m missing link that would join the two parts of the trail.

Earlier this year, city staff recommended fixing the gap with a path along the valley bottom with two bridges and a cantilevered boardwalk. The path is opposed by the Weston Golf and Country Club.


Humber Gap meeting

The city will be hosting a meeting this next week to discuss the Mid-Humber Gap—the infernal 8oom missing link in the recreational path which, if completed, would join dozens of kilometers of trails north and south of us, instead of forcing users up and out of the river valley onto Weston Road.

Months ago, city staff floated three possible designs, two of which would have required users to leave the valley. But—blowing away my expectations—they say the preferred option is the one along the valley bottom. It’s a complicated design, with two bridges back and forth over the river, and an elevated boardwalk.

The city has posted plans, and will be soliciting your feedback after the meeting, which will be Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30.

Three proposals for Humber Gap

City staff have come up with three proposals to close the Humber Gap—the missing part of the recreational trail between Cruickshank Park and Crawford–Jones Memorial Park.

The Humber Gap is a royal pain. It divides the wonderful, long path that runs to Lake Ontario (and beyond) from 30 km of trails to the north—and “is a discontinuity in the future Loop Trail, a 65 km off road, multi-use ring that will connect multiple ravines, neighbourhoods and trail systems throughout Toronto.”

But boy, is it a tough problem to solve. There is a railway, a river, a bridge, an arterial road, landowners, and an expensive private golf course. There are no simple solutions.

City staff have come up with three complicated ones.

The first would impinge on the private landowners and golf course, but create a lovely, entirely off-road path with two boardwalks crossing the river.

From the city presentation

Bike and foot traffic would no longer have to climb up the stairs and fend with the dangerous traffic squeezed close by the railway bridge. But, as staff note, it would impinge on the golf course and a land trust.

The second option is much worse from the point of view of a trail user. Instead of crossing and re-crossing the river, there would be a cantilevered trail and a boardwalk on the east side of the river, and there would be no conflict with the golf course. The path would run alongside the trail on Metrolinx property into the ravine

From the city

However, trail users would still be forced up and out of the valley, and under the extremely unpleasant, narrow, railway bridge. It would also be expensive.

The third option is the worst for trail users and a pain for drivers. (It’s my money for what we’ll get, too.) It is roughly what we have now, but with a proper bike lane on Weston Road instead of weakling sharrows.

From the city

The bike path would impinge on the sidewalk under the bridge and could force narrower lanes there, too, where traffic is, honestly, already pretty awful. Further along, Weston could lose a lane of traffic.

This plan is, however, cheap.