davenport diamond guideway

Angry locals say Metrolinx broke a promise with Toronto's new elevated rail line

The first commuter trains zipped along Toronto's newest elevated rail line in early April, but just weeks after Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Guideway entered service, locals are already fighting to correct what they characterize as a broken promise of reconnecting neighbourhoods long-severed by rail tracks.

Locals in the Wallace-Emerson community were promised the removal of a barrier when level rail tracks were torn up in favour of the new elevated guideway, but are now fighting against another barrier preventing the flow of pedestrians between Lappin Avenue and Antler Street.

The two streets have long been cut off by at-grade rail tracks. Their connection was made possible by the guideway's recent completion, however, a fence on the Lappin side of the guideway is impeding movement below the new raised tracks.

A petition was created on change.org this week asking for signatures in an effort to pressure the City of Toronto to "Create a Lappin-Antler walking path to improve access for Wallace-Emerson community."

Started by local resident Nithya Vijayakumar, the petition to Ward 9 Davenport councillor Alejandra Bravo, slams Metrolinx for not including a path as part of the elevated line's construction.

"When Metrolinx completed the new, elevated platform for the Barrie GO line, they could have created a path underneath connecting Lappin and Antler," reads the petition, accusing the transit agency of having "reneged on that promise" and that locals "can't trust them to do what's best for our neighbourhood."

davenport diamond guideway

The planned path was shown off in renderings of the new guideway, but remains unbuilt as of late May 2023. Rendering by Metrolinx.

"Instead, there's a fence blocking the way. This is no good! We want the City of Toronto to create a walking path under the elevated GO line between Antler and Lappin."

Creating said path would greatly improve access between communities on either side of the tracks, with the petition asserting that it would "allow neighbours on the west side of the tracks, who live on Antler, Symington and Campbell to get to the Wallace-Emerson Community Centre faster and more safely."

"It'll also allow neighbours on the east side of the tracks, who live on Lappin, Ward, and St. Clarens to get [to] Campbell Park and local schools faster and more safely."

So, how can locals make a path happen here?

The petition states that the City has the power to work with the private landowner of the site where the fence is installed.

It states that this would be "an inexpensive way to allow residents on the east side of the tracks to have access to more park space and to allow residents on the west side faster access to the childcare, fitness and community spaces at the Wallace Emerson Community Centre, and access to transit on Lansdowne."

As of 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the petition is just a few dozen signatures shy of its goal of 500.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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