A new linear park will soon reunite these long-severed Toronto neighbourhoods
Rail lines serve an essential purpose in linking municipalities together, but they can also create barriers to pedestrian and cycling accessibility in the areas they pass through.
A rail intersection known as the Davenport Diamond is one such case, forming the northeastern point in the Junction Triangle area's namesake angular boundary, where the Barrie GO corridor crosses the CP tracks.
One of the continent's busiest rail intersections, it's been the subject of a major Metrolinx overhaul since April 2020, creating an elevated guideway and flyover to eliminate congestion at the at-grade intersection as part of the regional transportation agency's promise to implement all-day, two-way GO Transit service.
But it isn't just going to improve conditions for commuters. This project will do so much more for the Junction Triangle, along with the neighbouring Wallace Emerson and Brockton Village neighbourhoods to the east, the elevated guideway eliminating the at-grade tracks, level crossings, and a longstanding barrier between the areas in the process.
The significant infrastructure enhancement is coming with a linear public space to be known as the Greenway, running below the guideway and adjacent to an existing multi-use trail.
It will reconnect several areas along its route, including new links uniting the long-divided Paton Road, as well as connections to the park at several other streets including Wade Avenue, Dupont Street, Davenport Road, and Antler Street, and eliminate a level rail crossing at Wallace Avenue.
Another proposed connection at Lappin Avenue has been axed, deemed out of scope due to the need to buy out private property. Metrolinx has kept the door open for a future pedestrian link should the city bring forward a plan to acquire the lands, but it is no longer in the current plans
With the guideway already well under construction, a design contract for the Greenway was awarded in spring 2021 to Brown + Storey Architects. Approaching a year later, the project is nearing the 50 per cent point in its design stage, and updated renderings provide a better glimpse into the spaces to come.
Looking to the future, Metrolinx will host virtual open houses and community liaison committee meetings, working towards a finalized design.
Once Metrolinx crosses that milestone, the transit agency will initiate the procurement process to bring a construction team on board, though work on the Greenway will only begin once the guideway is complete.
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