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“Living Walls” Proposed Along West Toronto Railpath and Train Tracks

Put your hand up if you’d rather see attractive and healthy green walls beside the Railpath instead of ugly soul-destroying concrete?

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.

Full story:  West-End Community Groups Want “Living Walls” Along Toronto’s Train Tracks | cityscape | Torontoist.

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The News Cycle for Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

Birchmount bike lanes latest to bite the dust [BlogTO]

The removal of bikelanes under the Rob Ford regime continues, as Toronto removes incentives to cycle while every other major (and non-major) city in the world adds bikelanes, bike parking and more.  World class cities welcome cyclists, Rob!

The Fixer: Cycling a better way to get around than it looks [Toronto Star]

The Fixer’s Jake Lakey rides around town with James Schwartz of The Urban Country and discovers that contrary to the mainstream media’s portrayal of cycling as dangerous, it’s actually relatively safe, fun, and connects people to the urban environment in a way that drivers never ever will experience in a car.

What’s Next for the Railpath? [Torontoist]

The West Toronto Railpath currently runs from approximately Dupont south to Dundas and has made an old railbed into an award-winning multi-use trail.  Torontoist looks at that the plans are for extending the railpath downtown.

The News Cycle is a periodic post which brings together links to news, events and other things which may be of interest to Toronto’s cyclists.  If you have an item you would like to see in The News Cycle, please email it to me at joe[at]bikingtoronto.com

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