July 2022 Update: City Council adopted the preferred in-valley trail alignment that will close the existing gap in the Humber River Trail network. A copy of the staff report is available under IEC agenda item IE 31.11. City staff will now prepare the Final Report and make it available for a 30-day review period.
Originally a 1.4 km gap in the Humber River Trail (HRT) near Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West, approximately 800 metres of trail remains to be completed. This gap constitutes a significant barrier to a continuous multi-use trail system both along the HRT and in the future Loop Trail. The Loop trail is a 65 km off-road, multi-use ring that will connect multiple ravines, neighbourhoods and trail systems throughout Toronto. Existing routes present safety concerns to users who are forced to detour along busy local roads that lack designated cycling infrastructure and are not fully accessible.
The study is being conducted in partnership by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and City of Toronto.
This study has evaluated options and identified a preferred trail alignment that will close the existing gap in the HRT network. The preferred trail alignment includes an in-valley alignment, paved multi-use trail, including two pedestrian-cycle bridges with elevated boardwalk.
On July 7, 2022, the Infrastructure & Environment Committee (IEC) endorsed IE31.11 – staff recommendations for the preferred trail alignment, an in-valley option.
On July 19, 2022, City Council adopted the preferred in-valley trail alignment that will close the existing gap in the Humber River Trail network and authorized the City to file the Mid Humber Gap Environmental Assessment (EA) Notice of Completion and post the study report for a 30-day review period. A copy of the staff report is available under IEC agenda item IE IE31.11.
The Final Report will be submitted to the Ministry the Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) and will be subject to a 30-day public review period. A copy of this report will be available on our website for public and agency review and comment.
During the 30-day review period, interested persons may provide written comments to our project team. All comments and concerns should be addressed to City staff listed on the notice and the project team will attempt to find a mutually acceptable resolution.
Following all approvals, including Toronto City Council, Ministry approval for the MCEA, and negotiation with the impacted private landowners, detailed design would likely occur in 2023 to 2024. This will be a multi-year project with construction tentatively from 2024 to 2026.
The Detailed Design phase will include, but is not limited to:
Public consultation is an important element of the study. You will have opportunities for input at key stages throughout the project. Information about future public consultation events will be distributed by mail and posted here. If you have questions or comments, or would like to receive email project updates, please contact us at 416-338-2850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mid Humber Gap project area is located between two completed sections of the Humber River Trail (HRT) just south of Mallaby Park and west of St. Phillips Road and the southern entrance to Crawford-Jones Memorial Park off Cardell Avenue.
Consultation for the Mid Humber Gap Trail has engaged a broad range of residents, businesses, and stakeholders over two rounds of engagement.
The City hosted a virtual public meeting on June 10, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The meeting was attended by 77 participants who contributed to a very thoughtful and informative discussion.
Project team members presented on the study background, process and potential trail alignments. Three potential trail alignments were highlighted: in-valley (1A); hybrid in-valley and on-road (2A) and on-road (3A)..
The City hosted a virtual public meeting on May 17, 2022, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The meeting was attended by 89 participants who were invited to provide feedback and ask questions.
Project team members presented on the preferred trail alignment in-valley (1A).
A Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) comprised of stakeholder representatives and local residents was formed to review and provide feedback throughout the Environment Assessment process. The SAG assists in building a consensus on the Mid Humber Gap’s primary objective – to identify a preferred multi-use trail alignment for the remaining approximately 800 metre gap in the Humber River Trail (HRT).
The City and TRCA presented to the SAG on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, on the SAG Terms of Reference, project background, Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process, planning context, preliminary screen matrix, and project timeline.
The City and TRCA presented to the SAG on Thursday, February 3, 2022, on the Preliminary Preferred Trail Alignments, Evaluation Matrix and Design Considerations for Preferred Alignment. The following key topics and staff response were discussed.
Private Land Trust and location of trail from individual’s homes
Weston Golf and Country Club (WGCC) and potential safety risks, trail users and flood events and mitigation
Preferred Trail Alignment and maintenance
Bike Lane Considerations for Weston Road and facility options
Trail Accessibility considerations
Flooding and Erosion assessment inquiry
The Mid Humber Gap Project was one of 26 projects identified in the Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan adopted by Toronto City Council in 2012 and a near-term priority in the 2019 Cycling Network Plan Update.
In 2013, the City and Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) completed Stage 1 of the Mid Humber Gap project. During Stage 1, a 600-metre trail was constructed to connect Mallaby Park to the HRT system and a pre-existing dirt trail was formalized into a 3.5 metre-wide paved multi-use pathway.
In 2019, the City and TRCA completed Stage 2 of the Mid Humber Gap project to evaluate conceptual trail alignment options to close the remaining gap of approximately 800 m in the HRT between Mallaby Park and Crawford-Jones Memorial Park.
The Feasibility Study provides a project rationale for pursuing Stage 3 – Municipal Engineer Class EA (MCEA) Schedule B Planning Process. The Feasibility Study evaluated a range of conceptual trail alignments, culminating in a recommended “in-ravine” and “on-road” option.
Trail alignment constraints include steep grades, challenging topography and private property considerations. These constraints increase the complexity of the project and may require construction of bridges, boardwalk structures and negotiations with private landowners. The Feasibility Study also confirmed the need to conduct a more thorough investigation via an MCEA Schedule B process.
The Mid Humber Gap is currently in Stage 3 and subject to MCEA Schedule B requirements.
Building off the work already completed as part of a Feasibility Study undertaken in 2019, the planning and design of the Mid Humber Gap will follow the Schedule B requirements for a Municipal Engineer Class EA (MCEA) process. The MCEA meets the intent of the EA Act by providing for the identification of problems or opportunities; giving due regard to the need to protect the environment and minimize effects; and consulting with affected stakeholders early and throughout the decision making process (Municipal Engineers Association, amended 2015).
The study will consider the following items to determine the location and alignment for the new trail connection:
Following the first virtual Stakeholder Advisory Group and Public Meeting, the potential connection options will be evaluated and a preferred alternative will be recommended based on the outcome of the evaluation and public feedback.
Information used in the evaluation will be collected through existing reports, field studies, input from technical advisors and subject matter experts and through public consultation.
All potential alignments for the multi-use trail, both individually and collectively, will be studied in order to provide a preferred trail alignment to complete approximately 800 metres of the Humber River.
The preferred trail alignment will be decided as per a formal Environmental Assessment (EA) process and followed by design/construction programmed in future years (based on budget ability).
Some of the potential multi-use trail alignments that are being proposed could involve impacts to residential and commercial properties. In some cases, the potential impact is to the City-owned right of way.
The owners of properties that are potentially impacted by multi-use trail alignments will be engaged with directly by the City of Toronto and Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).
Private property impacts will be considered as part of the detailed evaluation criteria used to determine the recommended alignment.
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