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CityPlace pedestrian bridge finally set to open

The Puente de Luz (Bridge of Light) is finally set to open, giving CityPlace residents traveling on foot or by bike a welcome escape route to the city at large. Spanning 125 metres over the busy rail corridor to the west of Union Station, the north end of the bridge terminates at the foot of Portland Street, just a short walk from retail and restaurant rich King West. In the absence of the bridge, CityPlace residents would have to exit via Fort York Boulevard, head north on Spadina and then double back on Front to arrive at the same destination.

Read the full post: “CityPlace pedestrian bridge finally set to open” on blogTO .

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New Options for a Fort York Pedestrian Bridge

The following is from Councillor Mike Layton, who is updating us about options being put forward for a less expensive Fort York pedestrian and cycling bridge.

You may remember that the original plan for the bridge was killed in an underhanded way by David Shiner, reportedly acting on orders from Rob Ford, because $23 million dollars is apparently too much for an award winning design that would connect neighbourhoods, provide some much needed pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the area as well as bring more attention to the oft-forgotten Fort York.

What’s that? The cancelled Vehicle Registration Fee brought in $60 million every year?  Hmm.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge

After several months, a few different concepts for the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge are coming forward. They all have similar design elements to the award winning design previously considered for the bridge.

Our preferred proposal includes two bridges, with one bridge linking Wellington Street south to the Ordnance Street area and a second bridge spanning from Fort York north to the Ordnance Street area. Both spans would be linked by a park and would be fully accessible from Ordnance Street. This option has better access, use of space and most reflects the original design.

Staff have presented three preferred alternatives and have recommended the final configuration be determined as part of the development of a new plan for the Ordnance Street area bound by the CN rail tracks – an exercise that will begin shortly. All of the options are predicted to be far less expensive than the original design, although the costs vary for each proposed configuration.

This report is being brought forward the November 3, 2011 Public Works and Infrastructure Committee tomorrow. You can find the report online here and the images of the bridge options here, but I recommend reading the report first.

The Fort York bridge is a critically important transportation corridor in our neighbourhood. It will link residents on King Street and Wellington with the Waterfront and Fleet Street residents with King Street. It will also help open up Fort York to the entire city.

Some history of the Fort York Bridge from the past 6 month is here.

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Despite Campaign, Fort York Bridge proclaimed Dead

The Fort York Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

Some background, in case you haven’t been following along:

You may remember our post from a couple weeks ago when the Public Works Committee decided that a beautiful pedestrian and cyclist bridge that would link historic Fort York (and waterfront neighbourhoods) to the park system and neighbourhoods north of the railway tracks along the waterfront) cost too much money and it would be better to scrap it, ignoring the attractions of such a bridge to area residents (north and south of the tracks), condominium developers, and Toronto in general.

The bridge (and it’s supporters) are not going quietly into the night however.

A Save the Fort York Pedestrian Bridge website has been set up (with online petition) and many prominent City Councillors and former mayoral (and premier) candidates (John Tory) are lining themselves up to save the bridge.

 

Despite the best efforts of Councillor Mike Layton and almost half of City Council, 2/3 of Council did not support Layton’s motion to move the matter from Committee (Public Works) to Council (in order to have a proper discussion and debate about it).

This wasn’t just a cycling infrastructure project – this was a project for cyclists, pedestrians, 2 neighbourhoods (north and south of the railway tracks) and condo developers.  This was a city building project.

It wasn’t cheap, but who said building a quality city is cheap?  Do we really want to build a cheap city?  23 of the 45 people on Council do – and this is who they are (the NO votes):

[thanks to BlogTO from grabbing the above image from the motion documents]

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Two Things you can do to Support the Fort York Bridge

This information is from Save the Fort York Bridge , who is publicizing the following to help drum up support for overturning the decision to scrap the beautiful pedestrian and cyclist bridge planned for Fort York:

1. 1000 Letters to Mayor. The Battle Is On To Save The Fort York Bridge
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144787658927784

Thu May 12 between 4pm to 7pm at 15 Stafford Street

Call To Action: Torontonians
We plan to deliver 1000 letters to Mayor Ford and Cc to Councillor Mike Layton, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong and Councillor David Shiner. Be part of this. Drop by and sign the letters.

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144787658927784

 

 


2. Garrison Creek: Discover The Missing Link with Councillor Layton
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=165887126804565
Sat May 14 between 1pm to 2:30pm; starting point Trinity Bellwoods, northeast corner at Dundas/Shaw 

Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe founded modern urban Toronto (i.e. Town of York), when he established Fort York in 1793. At that time, Garrison Creek flowed in a large deep ravine with several tributaries, from north of St. Clair Avenue to Lake Ontario. The creek had sparkling clear water and was famous for its salmon fishing. The British built Fort York at the mouth of the creek to guard against possible American attempts to invade Canada.

Walk with Councillor Mike Layton as we join Garrison Creek from a starting point of Trinity Bellwoods at the northwest corner (Dundas/Shaw). The route leads you along the now-buried Garrison Creek valley from the park down to Lake Ontario.

Discover the missing link.

Walk it. Bike it. Bring your dog.

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=165887126804565

 


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Join the Email Campaign to save the Fort York Bridge

You may remember our post from a couple weeks ago when the Public Works Committee decided that a beautiful pedestrian and cyclist bridge that would link historic Fort York (and waterfront neighbourhoods) to the park system and neighbourhoods north of the railway tracks along the waterfront) cost too much money and it would be better to scrap it, ignoring the attractions of such a bridge to area residents (north and south of the tracks), condominium developers, and Toronto in general.

The bridge (and it’s supporters) are not going quietly into the night however.

A Save the Fort York Pedestrian Bridge website has been set up (with online petition) and many prominent City Councillors and former mayoral (and premier) candidates (John Tory) are lining themselves up to save the bridge.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, be sure and do that… but more importantly, call and/or email your local city councillor – they pay a lot of attention to feedback from citizens.

The Save the Fort York Pedestrian Bridge website has some suggested text to email, but feel free to edit or change it yourself:

Dear Mayor (or Councillor),

I am writing to you as a proud citizen of the City of Toronto to express my surprise and disappointment at the decision by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to refer the matter of the Fort York Pedestrian Cycle Bridge back to staff, and to strongly urge you and City Council to reconsider this decision at its May 17th meeting.

The development of The Fort York Pedestrian Cycle Bridge was conceived to be a key waterfront revitalization project that would improve access to the historic fort, spur local development, link a network of parks, and allow cyclists to avoid busy streets.

The motion to refer this matter back to staff, as presented to City Council, does more than just postpone the pedestrian bridge – it effectively kills it.
This is simply unacceptable.

As a resident of the community most affected by the cancellation of this important economic, historic and environmental project, I ask that you consider the resources already invested into advancing and developing this project and in particular to consider the many benefits that this landmark project will deliver to our local communities and indeed the City of Toronto.

I respectfully and urgently request that you ask Council to reconsider this costly decision and allow the development of The Fort York Pedestrian Cycle Bridge to proceed as planned.

 

Here are the email addresses of the mayor and all the City Councillors, if you don’t know which one is yours, you can look that up here:

mayor_ford@toronto.ca,
councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca,
councillor_augimeri@toronto.ca,
councillor_bailao@toronto.ca,
councillor_berardinetti@toronto.ca,
councillor_carroll@toronto.ca,
councillor_cho@toronto.ca,
councillor_colle@toronto.ca,
councillor_crawford@toronto.ca,
councillor_crisanti@toronto.ca,
councillor_davis@toronto.ca,
councillor_debaeremaeker@toronto.ca,
councillor_delgrande@toronto.ca,
councillor_digiorgio@toronto.ca,
councillor_doucette@toronto.ca,
councillor_filion@toronto.ca,
councillor_fletcher@toronto.ca,
councillor_dford@toronto.ca,
councillor_fragedakis@toronto.ca,
councillor_grimes@toronto.ca,
councillor_holyday@toronto.ca,
councillor_kelly@toronto.ca,
councillor_layton@toronto.ca,
councillor_lee@toronto.ca,
councillor_lindsay_luby@toronto.ca,
councillor_mammoliti@toronto.ca,
councillor_matlow@toronto.ca,
councillor_mcconnell@toronto.ca,
councillor_mcmahon@toronto.ca,
councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca,
councillor_milczyn@toronto.ca,
councillor_minnan-wong@toronto.ca,
councillor_moeser@toronto.ca,
councillor_nunziata@toronto.ca,
councillor_palacio@toronto.ca,
councillor_parker@toronto.ca,
councillor_pasternak@toronto.ca,
councillor_perks@toronto.ca,
councillor_perruzza@toronto.ca,
councillor_robinson@toronto.ca,
councillor_shiner@toronto.ca,
councillor_stintz@toronto.ca,
councillor_thompson@toronto.ca,
councillor_vaughan@toronto.ca,
councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca,

save@fortyorkbridge.ca,

bridge@bikingtoronto.com

 

City Council meets on Tuesday (the 17th) and Wednesday (the 18th) next week, so be sure and write the Mayor and City Council before then (and get your friends to do it too!)

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