Lower Don Trail Access

By Sylvia Slaughter, October 7, 2015

The beautiful Lower Don Trail!

A six kilometre long corridor extending from Pottery Road to the north to Parliament Street in the south. 

The Master Plan

In 2012-2013 the City of Toronto commissioned a Master Plan for the Lower Don Trail that could guide the development of this increasingly well-used parkland resource.  The goals of the plan are:
  • To recommend strategies to improve environmental protection and access, and consider possibilities for public art in the lower Don River valley lands.
  • To provide a long-term strategy to establish a theme, create positive user experiences and improve access.
  • To incorporate all existing studies, plans and initiatives in the study area.
From the list of improvements in the Lower Don Trail Master Plan, the following 7 priority improvements will be carried forward to detail design and construction:
  1. Pottery Road Bridge and Connection
  2. Bayview Avenue Multi-Use Trail
  3. Trail Surface Improvements
  4. Belleville Underpass Realignment
  5. Staircases at Dundas and Gerrard streets
  6. Trail Widening and Drainage
  7. Art Fence
The first public information centre on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The city provided comment sheets at the meeting and online. The deadline to submit comments was Friday, June 13.
Ward 30 Bikes – first response

Staircases at Dundas and Gerrard streets to access the trail?  the pictures on the right show the difficulty of accessing the trail today using the staircase at the Riverdale Pedestrian footbridge.  2 more staircases like these would pose significant universal access issues for the community.

So, a collaborative of local community groups (including Ward30bikes) did some scouting, measuring, calculating, and sketching, and came to the conclusion that a ramp option is absolutely viable. The group also 
reviewed the accessibility standards and guidelines from the City of Toronto and the Design of Public Spaces Standards (Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. 

The group then prepared a proposal titled Creating Accessible Connections: Ramps to the Lower Don Trail at Dundas and Gerrard Date: April 22, 2014. The report proposed as universal access ramps instead of staircases as trail entry points from Gerrard Street and/or Dundas Street. The detailed proposal can be viewed here

The Lower Don Trail project team reviewed the proposal and other community comments received during the first consultation process. The project team unfortunately concluded that ramps could not be included in the project.
Ward 30 Bikes – second response

We took our concerns back to Paula Fletcher who in turn took a request to the parks and recs committee in August 2014 requesting that:

  1. The City re-confirms its commitment to accessibility on the Lower Don Trail.
  2. Further study be undertaken on potential points of access onto the Lower Don Trail in particular the pedestrian bridge joining Riverdale Park East and West.
  3. Report to P and E in Q2, 2015 on the results

…… So we should hear back in Q2 2015.  Stay tuned!

Lower Don Trail City of Toronto Information
Public Consultation #1

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