March 17, 2024

March 2024 East Don Trail Visit

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody!

Yesterday, I did a ride along the Lower Don Trail, checked out the East Don Trail, and checked the progress along Eglinton Avenue. Since the eglintonTOday Complete Street project is expected to go to the Infrastructure & Environment Committee on Wednesday, March 27, I will focus this post on the East Don Trail and discuss Eglinton separately when the final report comes out on Wednesday, March 20.

On the Lower Don Trail, I noticed the clear cutting that was done south of the Leaside Bridge which Joey Schwartz noted in the Cycling in Toronto Facebook group last week. Supposedly this is to make room for the Ontario Line. Regardless, it’s always a sad sight to see.

On the East Don Trail, I biked up to Bridge #2 which is easier to bring bicycles up this time around thanks to the dirt ramp present. However, I wouldn’t recommend bringing cargo bikes on there until the ramps are done.

Rusty made it on the bridge!

Unfortunately, I could only bike 350 metres before hitting a dead end.

There is an informal path leading to the railway tracks, but I opted not to use it today.

After the ride, I checked the East Don Trail map and noticed the dead end is where a tunnel is supposed to be built under the tracks. Here is a map from TRCA showing the bridges and tunnels needed for the East Don Trail project.

Upon checking the satellite view of Google Maps, Bridges #3 and #4 were already put in which makes this dead end even more infuriating. Yet another infuriating example of Metrolinx holding up progress.

This map image shows Bridge #5 is also installed, as well as some work where a bridge crossing the railway tracks will be built. Per a November 2023 update from the TRCA, the delivery of the bridge structure is expected in Spring 2024. The rest of the path to Bermondsey Transfer Station also appears to be completed, while the Gatineau Hydro Corridor will be used to fill the 700-metre gap to Eglinton Avenue.

On the way back, a ladder could be seen to get onto the bridge, but the dirt ramp was enough to bring the bike up.

Some tunnel materials can be found next to the trail.

The first part of the East Don Trail north of the Taylor Creek Trail had some large puddles to navigate around.

Back on the West Don Trail, I saw another clear-cut area near the Ontario Science Centre. ☹

The path immediately north of Eglinton Avenue was closed off.

Which checking the Metrolinx signage on the other side, it made a reference to path construction dating from July to December 2020. Seriously?

Last, but not least, the Eglinton and Leslie intersection has several benches welcoming people to Wilket Creek Park.

Aside from a couple of frustrating gaps crossing Metrolinx’s Richmond Hill line – as well as some final ramps and paving – the East Don Trail has been coming along nicely. Fingers crossed that this trail can open later this year to provide a safe off-road connection from the Lower Don Trail to The Meadoway in Scarborough.

UPDATE 2024/03/20 - The TRCA provided the following update regarding the gap between Bermondsey and Eglinton.

This portion of the Meadoway Trail between Eglinton Avenue East to Bermondsey Road is currently in detailed design and planned for implementation starting in 2024, pending required approvals. Two at grade road crossings are required to complete a safe and connected trail system. The Bermondsey Road signalized crossing was approved by Council in spring 2023 and designs for that crossing are part of the detailed design exercise underway. The Eglinton Avenue East crossing is currently in development and requires engagement with affected stakeholders to ensure a safe crossing of the existing Eglinton LRT. 

1 comment:

  1. Roman Pawlyshyn17/03/2024, 10:24

    Actually bridges 3-5, all the approaches, and a paved path from the tunnel site to the rail crossing have been finished for years, along with some finishing touches such as stone benches. Its getting overgrown now and already needs some sprucing up. It’s so bizarre to find this fully completed trail in the middle of nowhere, inaccessible (at least officially) at both ends. The very definition of a “stranded asset”.