header ad

Ridge Trail Concept Design Plan

HOME FORUM RIDING GREATER TORONTO AREA THE DON VALLEY Ridge Trail Concept Design Plan

This topic contains 100 replies, has 29 voices, and was last updated by  BlurredLines 9 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 101 total)
ENVE

  • Author
    Posts
  • #806987

    fietser
    Participant

    As for the Thorncliffe residents, while I appreciate it’s all our valley to share, the amount of trash in that valley (new not the old stuff) leaves me a bit skeptical about the real value the actual forest has in that community. If you appreciate something, you don’t dumb waterfalls of trash in it. Hopefully better access will create a deeper appreciation. That said, if you live next to a valley, how do you not find out how to get down there?? That’s my bias, though…

    Fair enough @jcitizen. I think it is important to realize that many of the residents we are talking about are new to Canada and may come from places in the world where the woods/ forest is full of things that can kill you (e.g., snakes, large cats, land mines, military etc.) It dawned on me how lucky I am to have grown up where I did. So with our ‘Canada Goggles’ on it is difficult to understand how this could be possible but stepping back for a minute and looking at the situation through a different set of lenses it may be easier to wrap your head around.

    Education regarding proper use and care for the Valley is obviously something that should be very high on the priority list for this project.

    @mcbain – it helped that I was writing as the meeting unfolded 😉 No chance of me falling asleep at the wheel this year – one of those cohorts you hear about.

    Amsterdam would be a fine choice if that works for people.

    Santa Cruz

    #806989

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    Thanks for taking the time to report back to the community and post the minutes @fietser. Much appreciated!

    #807009

    repack
    Participant

    Thanks for this timely reporting. Re Thorncliffe specifically, I’d offer two opinions. The residents most certainly are using the paved/picnic/park areas of the valley, but that generally means they are driving to get there. For residents who want to walk from their building directly into the valley, that phrase regarding ‘holes cut in the fence’ rings a bit of a bell. One day I was trying to beat the rain but got caught out along Catalyst. Went uphill and tried to exit via one of the apartment units, only to find a perimeter of multiple fences and multiple gates, all securely locked up. That particular property manager really did not want their tenants using the back side of the property to access the valley. Were the property owners of the various apartment complexes invited to this meeting along with the tenants’ associations?

    #807011

    jcitizen
    Participant

    Thanks for this timely reporting. Re Thorncliffe specifically, I’d offer two opinions. The residents most certainly are using the paved/picnic/park areas of the valley, but that generally means they are driving to get there. For residents who want to walk from their building directly into the valley, that phrase regarding ‘holes cut in the fence’ rings a bit of a bell. One day I was trying to beat the rain but got caught out along Catalyst. Went uphill and tried to exit via one of the apartment units, only to find a perimeter of multiple fences and multiple gates, all securely locked up. That particular property manager really did not want their tenants using the back side of the property to access the valley. Were the property owners of the various apartment complexes invited to this meeting along with the tenants’ associations?

    I was actually exploring yesterday and found myself riding along the edge of the valley. There were parks etc. all along the way. I can see building managers not wanting direct access to the valley from their property, but it seems to be lots of access for the interested. That said, the trail can be fairly rugged, so maybe some better sets of stairs or paths that are easier to negotiate. Thing I like about the trails is that they aren’t super manicured. If you start feeding in gravel paths down the hill it’s gonna be PACKED down there, and more like what’s behind the brickworks than a trail.

    Also, not sure why the big nice road down to the park system from Thorncliffe is not enough. It’s a deep valley, with no easier way in that that, unless you’re up for the hike. Heck, I have to bike 4k to get to the trailhead.

    #807012

    fietser
    Participant

    Thanks for all the ‘thanks’. Honestly, just trying to do my part for our community. I want to ride awesome trail as much as any of you, simple as that.

    With that said I think it is important to point out that we are making headway as a community – we are seeing progress, slow – ok, really slow at times, but we are moving forward. These changes are not happening over night so we might as well tuck in and make sure we are being heard. We are now at the table, by invitation, that matters when it comes time for making decisions. We have grown, and continue to grow as a united community as witnessed here on this site and in these forums.

    However, we need to be aware that this increases the spotlight on our community as well. As such, we need to be mindful of our comments on public forums which can be read by all. It should come as no surprise that the riding community are not the only ones who read these posts – case and point at the recent meeting some of the very posts on this thread were quoted by others present. There are lots of eyes on the site and not everyone, hard to believe, is looking to read up on the latest industry ‘standard’. Harmful comments will only be to our detriment as they imply we are childish and immature when it comes to working with other user groups. This will not be helpful to the greater cause of ensuring we continue to be asked to the table for input on what the City wants/ plans to do in THEIR valley.

    It would be appreciated if we could keep our comments on the constructive side and avoid finger pointing. In the end this will help us towards solutions rather than continuing the problems of the past. We should no longer see it as one person or group that is in charge or to blame rather that this is OUR community’s chance to triumph or destroy from within. We need to work together in order to make this happen.

    With that out of the way.

    @repack there were representatives from some community agencies who work directly with the residents and building owner – first name basis kinda work with. However, to my knowledge, none of the Building Managers/ Property owners were invited although it would be a good suggestion going forward. I hope there will be a good showing of residents out to the meeting on Oct. 8th. I know the word is being spread through the community. As mentioned in the post above there was a representative from the Leaside Property Owners Association present.

    @jcitizen the road down to the Cricket Lot was discussed as an access point but there were some serious, and well founded, concerns about using it as an access point from all parties present. Namely, it is a road, with traffic, and there is no sidewalk – other than a drainage ditch which is often full of debris. The City has been made aware of this access issue many time previously by the teacher at Thorncliffe Park School who ran the Outdoor Education program and used it 4 times a day to enter the Trail. As mentioned by many in the above post access due to the steep of the area does pose a challenge which will need to be addressed. Stairs down where brought up as an option. Perhaps those used on the Hamilton Escarpment could serve as an example – my old local trail used to run right underneath said stairs – be quite the throw back for me!

    #807220

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    I’d also like to add to @fietser ‘s statement that all eyes are on here. This is the community. The two largest roadblocks to us exacting change with off-road trails in the GTA are the unproductive nature of the discussions and the resulting fractured groups left without a voice. There are many, many issues with the CoT, which we have written about and will continue to, but we are also to blame and cant call them out on their shortcomings until we address our own. Had the conversations in the past been better moderated and productive, we could be in a very different place than we are currently. Other trail networks that are succeeding don’t show up to the table as individuals at odds with each other. They get their ducks in a row and ask for what they want in a clear and well thought out manner. They have discussions ahead of time, passionate and polarizing just like ours can be, but they show up as a team with one voice.

    We will never all agree on what is best for the trails but the point is that it should be discussed here in a fair and inclusive manor. Waiting until these meeting to show up divided and unorganized is our own worst enemy. We are perceived as undecided and disorganized with no clear voice or vision. How can we ask anyone to do anything if we haven’t come to some sort of consensus on our own as a community? We can’t settle so why would they concur with us? Instead, they side with the fraction that best suits their needs at the time, not ours as whole. Then we are left unrepresented and further divided. This has been the cycle and will continue to be unless we change the mindset.

    Ranting on FB or elsewhere accomplishes nothing other than to illustrate that we can’t engage one and other as equals. This isn’t much better than opening your window and screaming to anyone within earshot or complaining about politics without voting. Until this community can have the discussion and start to move forward together, other stakeholders will have the strongest voice and a greater chance at shaping the outcome. If we act like a bunch of entitled children, we’ll be treated accordingly.

    For the first time, you have someone like @fietser who is willing to represent the community. He has no agenda and is there simply to make sure your voice is heard at the meetings, when it matters. He expresses what you, as the community, have said here and reports back so that the conversation can move forward. This gives you all an equal voice and a virtual seat at the table. He has no sides other than being on yours. This is fully transparent.

    It’s important that we organize ourselves and have a voice that speaks about more than blame and bitterness for the lack of change. These rants have become noise. It’s time to have a meaningful discussion. I get it you’re angry, rightfully so, but walking away from the table wont exact change.

    I can assure you from the stats, that this thread has a ton of views. It’s time for people to rejoin the discussion. Start slow and be kind to one and other. Post what you can and add to the discussion. Step back when it gets to the point where you are frustrated and return when you have something to offer. Speak your mind but be respectful of one and other.

    Thanks to everyone who is part of this community. We’ve come a long way and with your help can accomplish great things. This place is yours, shape it into what you want it to be.

    #807223

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    Challenges as highlighted by CoT and ThinC:
    -shared use
    – environmental protection and restoration
    – no formal/ easy access from the Thonrcliffe Community [there are several holes cut in the fences above]
    – no signage wayfinding

    I think these are the things we really need to focus on and come back to the table able to offer suggestions or solutions.

    • Shared Use
    I think it’s already widely a shared use trail. I frequently encounter hikers, dog walkers, and Thorncliffers out doing what they do in the forest. I’m not exactly sure what is being considered a challenge that improved access from Thorncliffe park and way finding signage wouldn’t improve.

    • Environmental protection and restoration.
    A good trail, with good flow that doesn’t follow the fall line and approaches points of interest takes care of the environment in a real hurry. I can only think of a handful of location that trails get shortcut and that to me is a suggestion from users that this design isn’t the solution and a rework would be best for all parties.

    As far as restoration goes, what needs restoration, and how can we help? We may need to be educated on what we can actively do or not do to make sure that restorative efforts are effective and successful.

    • Formal Access from Thornecliffe Park
    I’m under the impression that this falls on the property owners to allow access to the ravine from their property. I can see a lot of benefits to doing so, but imagine there is a lot of liability to consider as well. I’m not certain how best the mountain biking community can be an asset in that sort of conversation, but I’m also not opposed to hearing any ideas on how we could be. I’d imagine a formal sidewalk down the access to the cricket lot is the “easiest” solution.

    • Signage/Wayfinding
    This is already outlined on pages 16 & 17 of the NETS document and has been previously executed in Crothers Woods. I’m not exactly sure the depth of the concern. I’d like to think that this signage would be considered a part of the build or formalization of “The Ridge”, but again need more information about the particular concern to be able to provide a better opinion or suggestion.

    Anyway, just my 2¢

    I’m looking forward to meeting lots of folks at the public consultation, the outcome, as well as any aprés.

    #807240

    mcbain
    Participant

    Thanks for the reminders of how/why to play nice and what talking points to expect at the meeting. Personally I’m hoping all user groups will skip past historical grudges, establish common ground, and move the conversation forward.

    Shared Use:
    The City’s own data confirms mountain bikers are the majority user of the Ridge –but it will be representation by population at Thursday’s meeting that will deliver that message best. Please plan to be there. What’s most relevant about the data, however, is that the Ridge trail is popular and will only get busier when formalized. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing how a re-design can better manage inevitable user conflict.

    Environmental Protection & Restoration:
    I feel that a well-maintained trail that keeps users on and water off is the best way to protect the ravine environment from random trampling AND cultivate positive attitudes towards Toronto’s true green space. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir when I say that an environmental ethic often develops from playing in the woods! Kudos to initiatives like the Outdoor Ed program at Thorncliffe Park Public School for starting the process early (sadly, it’s now defunct). Getting local residents into the woods will effect positive change. Just 50 years ago only a few Torontonians were actively trying to clean up the Don River Valley (some may even be at the meeting). It took a relatively short period of time to swing most people’s attitudes and behaviours 180 degrees. There is powerful and organized community involvement for this Ridge Trail Re-Design to tap into.

    Formal access:
    As others have already noted, for anyone accustomed to walking city sidewalks and paved paths, navigating an unmarked singletrack trail in the woods is pretty intimidating. Factor in woodland critters, speeding riders and off-leash dogs (some well-behaved, some not) and the barrier climbs higher. Many of the existing access trails leading down from Thorncliffe apartment buildings wouldn’t be too difficult to formalize, but I wonder if an intermediate/advanced trail is the best place to introduce anyone to natural surface trails? Short of dumbing down the Ridge to a walking trail (which does not appear to be the City’s plan) I’m not sure what the answer is here. Again, I look forward to seeing an initial proposal.

    Signage/Wayfinding:
    I’m guessing whatever is done will be consistent with the City’s new Wayfinding Strategy (which is comprehensive and attractive, btw). However, since natural surface trails do not fit any of the broad categories in the strategy, there may be some opportunity for input on what singletrack trail signage could/should be.

    And of course, it’s best to come with thoughts/opinion on the following:

    Uni-directional vs bi-directional trails
    Technical trail features (TTF’s)
    Flow trails
    Technical trails / gnar

    What’s on your wish list? See y’all there…

    #807245

    jcitizen
    Participant

    Gang, just a quick apology for all the negativity. It’s easy to treat this place like the stunt camp on a Thursday night. Working with the city requires sensitivity, which maybe isn’t my strength. Mountain biking is a positive thing, so I’ll do my best to keep the good vibes alive.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    #807249

    fietser
    Participant

    The City’s own data confirms mountain bikers are the majority user of the Ridge –but it will be representation by population at Thursday’s meeting that will deliver that message best. Please plan to be there. What’s most relevant about the data, however, is that the Ridge trail is popular and will only get busier when formalized. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing how a re-design can better manage inevitable user conflict.

    As always, very well put @mcbain.

    Formalization of the trail and increased access (whatever that may ultimately look like) will introduce many new users to this already popular trail. Education about trail etiquette will need to start BEFORE the actual trail redesign is complete, one could argue that it should have begun long ago, but that is another topic.

    As the majority user group we can take the lead on this by preemptively starting this process. Rather than flying by someone shaking your fist or giving them the ‘stink eye’ as the stand on the precipice of your favourite drop, or even less opportune just below it, stop and make contact with them. Yeah it kills the flow of your ride – but then so would a collision. A simple, “Hey, great to see you out enjoying the trail – mind if I show you how what you are doing could be unsafe.” Trail stewardship/ ambassadorship, call it what you will, is an area we can all work on. Sure, you may get the odd blank look or STFU but at least you can ride away knowing you were part of the solution and not contributing to the problem. It is just too easy to say ‘they’ll never get it’ and ride away. We need to start the conversation somewhere and if it starts with us we are already a step ahead.

    #807250

    fietser
    Participant

    • Shared Use
    I think it’s already widely a shared use trail. I frequently encounter hikers, dog walkers, and Thorncliffers out doing what they do in the forest. I’m not exactly sure what is being considered a challenge that improved access from Thorncliffe park and way finding signage wouldn’t improve.

    @blurredlines you are correct that it is already a widely shared trail. I think the concern is that when formalized and with improved access (whatever that may look like) there will be even more people to share it with, like potentially 1000’s more. The other issue is that many of these new users may not have the some level of trail etiquette/ awareness that previous users have had creating a further challenge. It is kind of a double edged sword – formalization and redesign along with increased access will open up The Ridge to more users creating an increased potential for user conflict if we don’t have the education in place to mitigate it.

    From my understanding there is no intention of making The Ridge a paved super highway. In fact, quite the opposite. In some areas the trail width will actually be shrunk down. The presenters talked about the ability of users to be able to stand in the middle of the trail (not that this was recommend – ha ha) and actually ‘touch’ nature. I love this idea! However, it does obviously rely on the ability of people to stay on the proper side of the trail and be able to pass people safely. This is where trail etiquette comes into play for all user group – hence the challenge.

    #807284

    Marley
    Participant

    Anyone happen to know if bikes can be brought inside on the 8th? The only bike I have operational right now is my fancy-schmacy ride.

    #807285

    micah356
    Participant

    @marley Sounds like you need more bikes

    #807291

    fietser
    Participant

    Hey @marley from what I understand there ‘should’ be a place for bikes inside at the meeting. @jcitizen was in the same boat and when I asked Karen at the City she implied that there would be a location suitable to house bikes during the presentation. I haven’t actually been to the location where the tomorrow’s meeting is being held so I can’t comment from personal experience.

    #807293

    Marley
    Participant

    Hey, thanks @fietser. I think that I might just show up in style on my wife’s commuter. Cheers.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 101 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

People Who Like Thisx

Loading...

People Who viewed ThisX