MGT / LDRT Safe Winter Commute Option – Woodbine to Coxwell, MAP

By Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes

From Silver Birch (4 blocks west of the Scarborough border, Victoria Park Ave) all the way west to the Don River (and beyond) – a combination of the Martin Goodman Trail and the Lower Don Recreation Trail, work together to create a great route for cyclist’s commuting to work. Thousands are cycling the route every day – many all year round.

[Updated 2014-11-27: Rode the route again yesterday and noted the LDRT (‘Route 4’) continues east of Coxwell to Northern Dancer Boulevard – made appropriate changes to the map, and the article.]

On Thursday November 21, 2014 I took a different route than I normally do along the waterfront trails to The Beaches (from Leslieville). My new route for winter is safer – and shorter!  Only thing is – part of it is on a narrow sidewalks along the south side of the Woodbine Park Estates.

I altered my route because the day before, at Martin Goodman Trail and Ashbridges Bay Park Road, I fell off my bike twice. The first time I narrowly missed a park bench – and then moments after re-mounting – I earned a raspberry in an icy tumble 10 metres further along the unsalted Trail. (Parks will not salt park trails. Sand perhaps?)

The new route is in Purple on the map – between Coxwell and Joseph Duggan Rd (Brookmount Ave north of Queen). At the east end of the route is Joseph Duggan Rd. where I cross Lake Shore Boulevard at a signaled pedestrian crossing, and then 10 metres south and onto the Martin Goodman Trail.

The boulevard upon which the winding sidewalk is located has enough room about it to accommodate a wide, Multi-use Path. The crossing at Brookmount could get a duel, Pedestrian / Cyclist’s crossing treatment – like at several other Lake Shore Boulevard crossing points.

Ashbridges Bay Park ‘Pedestrian Mall’ Trail

This alternate to the Martin Goodman Trail as it swings south at Coxwell into Ashbridges Bay Park, is sorely needed. The north sidewalk route (if straightened) would be about 235 m shorter than the south diving, and meandering Park route. Add to that the huge number of people walking on the path in summer – kids dashing out onto the path at play, parents with baby strollers … Often it means dismounting and walking the route from Woodbine to Coxwell.

On top of that – last year I noted a 25 metre long stretch of ice on the MGT south of the Boardwalk Pub. The Trail there sits in a low spot, and in the freeze/thaw cycle that marks our usual winters in Toronto, the path turns into a jagged, glassy ice-jam for winter trail users.

As of this writing the hazard hasn’t formed yet – I’ll watch for it and report about it on Ward 30 Bikes media if-and-when it does form again this winter.

I talked to Park personnel last winter about it – they smartly suggested a bio-swale in the area – don’t know how well that would work in winter – with the top soil frozen – but I hope Parks does try something.

The Balmy Beach Barrier

Further east, the Martin Goodman Trails runs into the Balmy Beach Club’s Parking Lot as it climbs a rise up to the lot as a narrow uneven path into the south extent of the lot; and exits (over a curb) onto a narrow dirt walking path that leads to a constantly wet lowlands before arriving at Silver Birch Avenue.

I took to the street off the Martin Goodman Trail just to the west of the Balmy Barrier; east wrong-way, one-way on Fir Ave; across the Balmy Beach Club parking lot entrance and onto a narrow uneven walking path at the north extent of Balmy Beach Park over to Silver Birch where pedestrians southbound on Silver Birtch westside come into conflict with cyclists aproaching the sharp blind corner from the west.

Michael Holloway
Ward 30 Bikes member

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