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.
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
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.
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.