April 25, 2021

Biking to Brampton - April 2021

The last time I biked to Brampton three years ago, the underpass at Highway 401 was closed and there were no off road trails linking the Mississauga and Brampton parts of the Etobicoke Creek Trail. A fair bit has changed since then with the Mississauga – Brampton trail gap having been filled in, while the Highway 401 underpass was recently reopened per a post from Wayne Noble in the Cycling in Toronto Facebook group. With Saturday being 18’C outside, it was a good time for Helen and I to do our first long ride of the year, so we rode to Brampton and back for a 63 kilometre ride.

One of the first things that caught our eye on the Etobicoke Creek Trail south of Highway 401 was a burnt car in the woods on the east side. Not sure how it got there.

When the news broke about the Highway 401 underpass being reopened, it was gravel at the time. We can confirm that part has been paved when riding through. This means the Etobicoke Creek Trail is now fully paved from Ponytrail (south of Burnamthorpe) all the way to Brampton. However, some lighting is needed for the underpass; especially considering the highway is more than twelve lanes wide there.

While biking by Pearson Airport, we noticed a bee hive which can host as many as one million bees during peak season. A good way to help the pollinator plants along the trail.

The boulevard paths along Mid-Way and Columbus were still there, but I noticed the trail quality was pretty rough in some places. The City of Mississauga may want to consider repaving these paths soon.

When crossing Derry Road onto Cardiff Boulevard, the wayfinding signage was well done and helped us get to Mt. Charles Park which leads into Brampton. One suggestion for improvement would be to put in a boulevard path on Cardiff. Having light traffic on weekends on such industrial streets does help make the experience tolerable.

After going through a parking lot, the trail at Mt. Charles Park goes behind two baseball diamonds before going under Highways 407 and 410. Mississauga shows trail maps every few kilometres, while their wayfinding signs show you how far it is to upcoming road crossings. Wished Toronto would offer these maps along their trails other than along the Waterfront.

One thing I was disappointed with was how there wasn’t any signage welcoming people who bike to Brampton. The only thing marking the border was some bollards which I didn’t take a picture of, while a no winter trail maintenance sign was visible when entering Mississauga. If these municipal welcome signs get placed on public roads, why not put them along bike trails as well? Toronto offers these signs for their Waterfront Trail, while Pickering and Mississauga also provide some signage when leaving Toronto.

Going under Highways 407 and 410 was uneventful - the picture below is at Highway 410 - while the trail between Mississauga and Brampton is a decent meadow. We turned around just past Highway 410 at the loop which used to mark the trail ending in Brampton and grabbed some hard earned Booster Juice on the way home.

One part of Etobicoke Creek which will have to wait for another ride is to check in on the status of the gap between Ponytrail and the QEW. However, I saw Alexandre Boisseau post in the Cycling in Toronto post in January that a trail along a hydro corridor is nearing completion from Burnamthorpe to Dundas.

Etobicoke Creek hydro corridor trail (via Alexandre Boisseau)

Upon closer review of Mississauga’s 2018 Cycling Master Plan, that hydro corridor trail is supposed to go south of Dundas to Mattawa Avenue. People would then need to bike west along the industrial street to Loreland Avenue. An off-road trail is proposed south of Loreland and across The Queensway to a residential area at Greenhurst Avenue, though I would need to get clarification from the City of Mississauga on the construction timing. People who bike would then need to take Greenhurst and Sherway to get back onto the Etobicoke Creek Trail to Lake Ontario once the Ontario Ministry of Transportation reopens the underpass at the QEW.

I will close off the post with this map showing what the finished trail route is expected to look like between Ponytrail and the QEW.

Proposed off-road segments are in red and on-street connections are in blue

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