Put your hand up if you’d rather see attractive and healthy green walls beside the Railpath instead of ugly soul-destroying concrete?
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In a press release issued on September 17, a community activist group called the Junction Triangle Rail Committee made a counterproposal: Instead of walls made of concrete, vinyl, or acrylic, why not use plants in special, cage-like metal containers to create a sort of living wall? The group partnered with the Wabash Building Society to hire Brown and Storey Architects to flesh out the concept. (All the images in this post are renderings taken from Brown and Storey’s presentation [PDF].)
The architects argue that green, leafy barriers would be a more humane, more attractive way of shielding neighbours from the trains, and that the shrubs would be a better complement for the West Toronto Railpath, which, under the current plans, will get the noise-wall treatment over much of its length. They could also be combined with new pedestrian crossings to create a sort of linear park.
Metrolinx has been holding public noise-wall consultations in communities along the rail corridor for the past several months, and plans to continue doing so until October. Participants are invited to give input on the design of the walls, though Metrolinx always has final say over whether that input is heeded.
As to the specific proposal—building living walls instead of artificial ones—Metrolinx says it’s not possible. In an emailed statement, Metrolinx spokesperson Vanessa Thomas told us that there isn’t enough space in the rail corridor to install something like a living wall. Other greened-up options, though, might be considered.