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Metrolinx Ignoring City, Wants a Strachan Ave Super-Bridge

From Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone‘s office, via the Bike Union, comes news that Metrolinx is planning a big “Super-Bridge” for Strachan Avenue where it passes over the CN rail corridor.

Below is the email from Pantalone’s office, but first here are the reasons the city is against a Strachan overpass (from this PDF):

An overpass on Strachan would be the cheapest crossing to construct because it would have little or no affect on either existing utilities or railway operations during
construction. However, there are serious problems associated with the overpass approach that are direct consequences of the length of the approaches and their impact on existing and future developments within the Strachan corridor:

– Closes important cross streets including Canniff, Douro/Wellington and East Liberty, severely compromising local circulation; Mitigating measures including increased gradients on the approaches and lowering the tracks slightly provided minimum benefit in terms of street connectivity;
The cost of repairing the interrupted street network, including land acquisition and
capital construction, would be significant;
Requires an alternate access route to Quality Meats, most likely from Bathurst Street at Front Street;
Concentrates all traffic on the King/Strachan intersection, which would further impact
an already stressed public transit corridor;
Exaggerates the “rollercoaster” profile of Strachan Avenue produced largely by the
existing Lakeshore corridor overpass;
Creates an uninviting and undesirable environment for pedestrians and cyclists;
Compromises the street frontage of existing developments north of the tracks and
future developments to the south; existing residential buildings north of the tracks
would have a massive retaining wall in their front yards;
The limited existing right-of-way forces a solution with narrow sidewalks, substandard
driving lanes and no bike lanes.
Due to the increased clearance required over the tracks, the structure including
approaches would be extended, thus impacting more of the street;
The above-ground structure including approaches would constitute a devastating
visual imposition on the existing and future fabric along this part of Strachan Avenue,
and would further erode the continuity of the Strachan view corridor.

Email from the Bike Union, and Pantalone’s email:

The Toronto Cyclists Union urges you to read and take action on this message from Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone – received this morning.

Have your say at the Metrolinx Open House tomorrow:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
3:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Fort York, Blue Barracks – 100 Garrison Road

URGENT! Strachan Ave Super-Bridge

Dear neighbours,

MetroLinx is NOT listening!

At 8:30 this morning – one day before “MetroLinx’s Open House” – I was informed that MetroLinx dropped the community’s and City of Toronto’s preferred option for the Strachan – At – Grade elimination; a call for the lowering of the tracks with Strachan passing over top.
(See the City of Toronto Staff Report (PDF):

Today, MetroLinx offers one sole solution — a bridge that will tear at the urban fabric of our community. Not only does MetroLinx’s sole “solution ” force the closure of Douro Street and Wellington Street at Strachan Avenue, but it entails the erection of an ugly super structure (think another Gardiner Expressway?) smack in the middle of some of Toronto’s most vibrant, historic, and creative neighbourhoods (Niagara Neighbourhood, Liberty Village, Exhibition Place, Fort York and the Waterfront).

As your (Ward 19) Toronto City Councillor, I am surprised and disappointed that our alternative has been unilaterally dismissed. What can you do? In the first instance, you and your neighbours can attend the Open House – TOMORROW – Wednesday, April 15, 2009 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Fort York, Blue Barracks – 100 Garrison Road. Make our voices heard!

Please use these two links for more information:

Joe Pantalone
Deputy Mayor
City of Toronto
416-392- 4009

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