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BikingToronto Railpath And Hydro Map

City Council has endorsed in principle creating a network of trails in rail and hydro corridors across the new city. Planning, parks and transportation will be working with the Toronto Cycling Committee in the coming year to develop a multi-year implementation plan.
(Cyclometer, November 1998)

It’s been almost 10 years since that “New Trail Corridors” item in Cyclometer (scroll down about halfway), and yet… there is really nothing to show for that decade.

Everyone seems to think these things are good ideas… great ways to create extensive cycling corridors seperated from automotive traffic (for the most part) at a relatively economical cost, and without (seemingly) the political opposition that proposed bikelanes sometimes creates in a city neighbourhood with a oil-company former executive as city councillor.

From “Potential Business Opportunities from Bike Trails Situated on Hydro and Rail Corridors” to the West Toronto RailPath, there are lots of people pushing for these things.

And yet… the railway companies are reluctant to sell any land in their rail corridors, and the City and Ontario Hydro (or whatever they are called nowadays) seem not to be talking about using the tons of land in Hydro Corridors.

Now, if it was beneficial for the railways and hydro to have these cycling paths on their corridors… maybe we could get some progress. What about the City paying for a nice two-way bike path… which is available to Hydro or Rail company vehicles for maintenance work? Even better, what about letting Hydro or CN/CP put up some advertising in areas so that they can advertise to cyclists as they are biking by?

Finally, just what is the potential here? Where exactly are all the hydro and rail corridors in the city? What kind of network could be possible?

I’ve been wondering that, so I finally made a Railpath & Hydro Map that plots out where they all are. I think I’ve got all of them on there, but if I’ve missed some, let me know and I’ll add them.

  • Vic

    Nice work on the map, Joe! What do you use for creating those Google maps? I’ve got a few things that I’d like o map sometime too…

    I like the idea of putting bikeways along rail and hydro corridors. And your map shows just how much of the city could be connected if we used them all!

    My only fear is the dwindling number of railway tracks. It would be a shame to lose more rail tracks….we should be expanding them, if anything. More freight and passenger rail means less cars and trucks on the roads and more reliable transit service.

    It would have been awesome if they installed bikeways along the Transitway in Ottawa, or even along The Linc (east-west expressway) in Hamilton.

    I’m excited about the West Toronto Railpath too. I could see myself using it frequently, especially once the second stage is done. I hope it receives winter maintenance too.

  • Joe (BikingToronto)

    Hey Vic – it was actually easier than I thought… all the information is in the Google Maps API documentation – it’s a lot of reading, but written well so it’s easy to understand. :)

    I’ve got a few other maps in the programming stages too… I’ll be sure and post about them as I finish them. :)

  • DJW

    Wow. That would be 3 major east-west corridors across the city, plus one from the centre of town right into Scarborough. That would be incredible.

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