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Ridge Trail Concept Design Plan


This topic contains 100 replies, has 29 voices, and was last updated by  BlurredLines 1 year, 3 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 101 total)

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    Really disappointed I can’t make this meeting, but I’m out of town this week.

    It sounds like the City is being very cooperative thus far, which is great. I think it’s mostly been said, but if we could adopt a model similar to that of Vancouver North Shore it would be hugely beneficial. Two points (of many):

    Way Finding: Having proper signage with trail difficulty ratings would be great. Everyone keeps the trails so “secret” for fear of being destroyed, dumbed down, etc. If the City embraced the trails and catered to the majority users (intermediate/advanced riders), a fair system could be built for multiple user levels. It would also allow for more opportunities to communicate trail etiquette (don’t ride with massive headphones, wear helmet, right of way, etc) This will improve safety, which is surely a top concern (and lets face it, if it’s not sanctioned, it will still happen illegally…as demonstrated around the world).

    Corporate/Local Support: A major let down in my opinion is the lack of support from LBS and corporate entities. I realize some of this is due to the trails being “illegal,” but The Don keeps us on our bikes, in a space that is truly unique (to have such quality trails so close to downtown). That means more tune-ups, more bike sales, yet all I’ve seen from the local shops is demo days (at least from what I’ve witnessed over the years). North Shore, and many other places, have LBS’s and/or brands responsible for sections of trail – similar to adopt a hwy. If the trails were sanctioned, external financing is a real opportunity for the city to make it self-sufficient, possibly prosperous.

    I really hope this goes well. The Don is the #1 thing that keeps me sane in Toronto. Without it (the quality of trails), I don’t think I’d want to live here. It’s too far for downtowners to go elsewhere on their bike, and properly ride, on a frequent basis.



    Hey @zirca you’ll be missed at the meeting but thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in with your opinion. I will be sure to pass along your suggestions.

    I think you are right on the money in both cases. As you have pointed out Toronto does not have to reinvent the wheel and can look to a number of examples of what could be done here at home with regard to trails.

    In fact, you may be aware that there is already a well laid out plan of how this could all unfold – since the city has in fact looked to NSMBA (among others) for a model of trail adoption. You can read it in NETS (http://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/parks_forestry__recreation/community_involvement/files/pdf/trail_strategy.pdf) starts on pg. 143 and outlines what the roles/ responsibilities and benefits would be for each party.

    Further to that, there is actually a partnership office (http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=830adada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD ) whose role is to help grassroots projects with fundraising as well as manage sponsorship dollars from corporations and individuals alike.

    So, it would seem all the infrastructure is in place for what you have suggested – which as I mentioned is an excellent suggestion, I guess the real question is has no one ever approached the City before with an offer? If company/ group X were to approach the City with $Y amount of dollars for trails, signage etc… what would the outcome be?

    Ultimately, I feel that this line of yours, ‘If the trails were sanctioned, external financing is a real opportunity for the city to make it self-sufficient, possibly prosperous.’ is at the heart of many of the issues we have regarding trails here in Toronto.

    Hope we can keep the conversation going even though you are unable to make the meeting. Thanks again.



    See you guys tomorrow.



    Further to that, there is actually a partnership office (http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=830adada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD ) whose role is to help grassroots projects with fundraising as well as manage sponsorship dollars from corporations and individuals alike.

    I wasn’t aware this existed. I’d be very interested in discussing. I’m not sure your involvement/role within all of this, but it sounds like you are very well versed on the topic. Through my work, I could probably help set some of this in motion if it meant maintaining/improving (not marginalizing) the Don.



    @zirca I am sure most people have no idea it exists, similar to what is actually laid out in NETS. Truth be told I believe it is a relatively new branch of the City. My involvement/ role in all of this is to try and keep the community informed, in a transparent manner, on the situation where trails are concerned. That’s it – no agenda, other than having access to trails we, the community, want to ride! My knowledge comes from reading the material put out by the CoT, showing up to meetings (well, I have been invited to a few now as well) and asking questions – lots of questions. As arguably the largest and most frequent user group of many of these trails, and perhaps the ravines in general, there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a seat at the table and make our wishes heard.

    I would be happy to talk more about what you might be able to do through your work or at least point you in what I think might be the right direction.



    Well, tonight is the night.

    Looks like rain later this eve and the Jays game should be over. So there are really no excuses for not being there 😉

    Come have you say and share you opinions. Remember, like it or not, these events tend to be representation by population.

    Just in case you missed the details:

    Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015
    Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Location: Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, 18 Thorncliffe Park Drive

    See you there!



    Great to see so many faces, new and old, last night at the Ridge public consultation meeting. The riding community was well represented – I would argue we were the only user group represented.

    IMG_1558 IMG_1557


    Not a whole lot of new information that wasn’t already posted after the initial stakeholder meeting. But I will highlight a few key items that were discussed. Those who were there feel free to chime in if you feel I missed anything!

    Again, it was reiterated that the trail alignment is good but will see minor tweaks where it will improve safety and sustainability of the trail. Also, unused and unsustainable trails wills be closed in the process. One of the ideas floated was that you don’t actually need to be ‘going fast’ in order to have the ‘feeling of going fast’. The trail would be designed in such a way to give the perception going fast while keeping speeds in check. While I am not in full understanding of this I think the idea is to reduce the width of the trail to bring the forest closer to the rider – I think.

    The trail would be built to IMBA standards (which some people felt would be too watered down? Perhaps those people could chime in here) ‘but with different features’ to quote the presenter with ThinC.

    Alpine Bike Parks did an inventory of all of the features currently on the Ridge and assessed their present state and viability. Those features well all numbered on a large map with their positions and description. ABP offered solutions for each of the existing features they felt maintained the general feel of the TTF or challenge. These could be seen on the legend of the large map. The proposal saw many of the existing TTFs replace with pre engineered TTFs from a company called FlowForm Bike Ramps (http://www.flowformramps.com/products/specialty-ramps).

    One of the new ideas was a proposed trail on the Upper Part of the Ridge. The new trail would be a ‘Hiking Loop’ – although not only for hiking. In essence, the proposed trail would be a natural surface (dirt) loop that would be more conducive to hikers/ walkers/ beginning riders. The trail would provide another access point from Leaside Park for both residents and riders alike.

    There were plenty of great questions asked by the community members present.

    Some of which included:

    Q – Could the Ridge continue to evolve?
    A – Yes, I guess. While there would be a definite concept plan and design it is not to say that the CoT would not be open to suggestions to change things up if the community were to approach them.

    Q – Who will maintain this new trails?
    A – Good question! NETS says that there should/ would be staff that would be dedicated to maintaining trails but as of yet there is not staff. It again came down to an issue of money – they need money to pay for the staff. At this point they would still need volunteers but the City realizes that they don’t want to have to always rely on volunteers.

    Q – Is the City doing this to reduce liability?
    A – Not really. The main concern is to protect the forest. However, formalizing the Ridge will ultimately reduce the City’s exposure to risk. But that is not the main goal.

    Q – So what are those pipes leading down the Ridge into those holding tanks.
    A – We don’t know. But we have people looking in to it.

    Q – When might we see shovels in the ground?
    A – At the VERY earliest next fall (2016) but more likely not until 2017.

    Riders also had the opportunity to ‘mark up’ the large annotated maps provided by the City. This was an interesting exercise that spawn a great deal of discussion among riders. We were told to wish big and not hold back on anything we thought or wanted. @maestro-sm-ben asked if we could take away the questionnaires so you could walk/ride the Ridge with a view towards specific sites or areas where builds could be made. The CoT and ThinC were all for that and asked that all suggestions make it back within the next few weeks. So if you have suggestions or think of something there is still time to have your voice heard.


    One suggestion made by @mcbain and @alen_z (among others) was to extend the new ‘hiking’ trail along the top of the Ridge – behind the buildings. The idea was that not only will this improve access for residents and potentially reduce the chance of user conflict as traffic likely increases but it would also be a great way to literally open people’s eyes to the garbage situation that is so prevalent along this stretch.

    Another suggestion was to expand the scope of the project to look at the climb up to under the Millwood bridge as it could definitely use some love.

    The discussion spilled over to Apres at the pub – lots of great conversation around the table.

    So what do you think? Still time to make you opinions heard



    Thanks so much for attending on our behalf and for posting these minutes in such a timely fashion. Thanks to all the others members who made the time to go as well. Well done by all involved. Thanks!



    Great notes as usual Jeremy. Great to see you guys out last night.

    My biggest take away from the meeting : don’t worry.

    The section of trail the city is looking to address is actually a fairly small portion of the don system, and aside from some scary wood features and a few eroded spots, I doubt much will be done to change the trail flow. Personally, I don’t find the Ridge proper is heads and tails above Crother’s, and Crother’s is what is basically to be expected from city efforts. Heck, the Ridge is pretty much what you ride to actually get to trails, haha.

    If in the end we get a few re-routes that improve site lines, and maybe a few builds that last a teeny bit longer, most of what we love and enjoy in our Don will be left unaffected. For the near future at any rate.

    The city wants to be involved, but the reality is resources for this kind of work are pretty limited, and the city’s interest in mountain biking is not that significant. I see Pottery to Cricket Lot as being being a bit of a peace offering. Riders should just accept it. I like complaining (a lot) and pointing fingers, but it seems a lot smarter to just play nice, be honest about their needs, and show up to these meetings. It’s not much time and it helps to reinforce the fact that we are the majority of the trail users. I couldn’t help but think what an impact it would have made visually if every rider I knew showed up to that little room last night. We’re the only ones with something to lose. If we don’t keep involved, it’ll become stroller friendly.

    Love Thy Don.



    Yes big thanks to @fietser for documenting the process – it is very helpful.

    I found it interesting to see all the detailed features documented on the map, especially since your perception of distance and orientation are very different when actually riding the trail. Like Ben, I think it would be useful to walk the trail with the map in hand to get a better feel for the changes they propose. If others are interested then perhaps a group walk is in order.

    I was also thinking about the dynamics of exposing more local residents to the trails, especially the kids. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to promote them exploring the trails on a bike, rather than on foot. If there is going to be an increase in traffic I personally would much rather it be bike traffic, not foot traffic.

    For example, it would be interesting if the city were to have some “getting started” language on the trail head signage, such as:

    “New to mountain biking? New to these trails? The Don valley has an extensive mountain biking trail network, and members of the local mountain biking community are always happy to show newcomers around the trails. There are also frequent qroup rides that are suitable for riders of all ability levels, and bike rentals are available from local shops. For more information on how to get started visit <some city web page with links to rfg, shops, etc.>”

    I’m sure there are plenty people on this forum what would be happy to show a few beginners around…



    As Jeremy mentioned…

    The trail would be built to IMBA standards (which some people felt would be too watered down? Perhaps those people could chime in here) ‘but with different features’ to quote the presenter with ThinC.

    It came up in conversation post meeting and I’d imagine there are other misconceptions about what “IMBA standards” really means in terms of Trail Difficulty.

    For reference sake and a quick read:

    Crothers Woods as an example was designed to be and is signed as a “green” and “blue” trail system. There’s a lot more “green” there in the “blue” now due to trail widening and user created lines, which is ultimately a result of the limited amounts of maintenance the system receives. It’s in no way “advanced” as the city has clearly and repeatedly said they know we want and would like to preserve on the ridge.

    While I agree whole heartedly with @jcitizen regarding “our” general use of the ridge the real question comes down to why do we use it that way? What can we ask for and dream of from the city to make the ridge a destination that we’re excited about? How can the trail be improved both for the sustainability of the forest and ravine as well as the riders who use it?

    I know I’ve got my survey tucked in my pack and I’ll be slow rolling the ridge a few times in each direction making notes. I hope others do too. They’re going to build it (even in phases) so let’s make sure it kicks ass and make sure the opportunity doesn’t go to waste.



    Always a pleasure to get together and see each other in civilian clothing. “Who are you again? I don’t recognize the smell…” Thanks @fietser for the summary (and for making the harrowing trip from out west). Not much to add except:

    1. A few earlier posts wished for uni-directional trails on the insanely busy Ridge. Last night people raised good reasons for/against both trail types (what’s safest for each type of user, consistency within trail system, maintaining flow, need for signage, problem of enforcement, user-expectations and user-awareness). The City’s go-to natural surface trail is multi-use and bi-directional and they do not want to waver from that. We left a recommendation that they “consider uni-directional segments where user conflict is unresolvable by other means”.

    2. The initial proposal suggests that for every wooden TTF removed (and they will be removed!) a new pre-engineered structure will appear. We simply asked for more, and more variety. Most of the beloved g-outs will remain, especially those with armoured troughs. There was much concern about the aesthetics and cost ($$$) of FlowForm ramps.

    3. Even if it’s still promoted as “seasonal” at the pub, apparently it’s bad form to drink radlers after Labour Day. I guess I missed that Facebook alert. IPA hipsters, the lot of you! 😉

    If you have anything to add to the Ridge wishlist, post it up here and we will compile and submit. Happy Turkey Weekend!



    See I knew @mcbain would pick up my slack! Thanks buddy.

    Oh and for the record they were Session IPAs (with the exception of @marley and @jcitizen who I believe were drinking the real deal). But yes, white pants and Radlers go away after Labour Day. 😉



    Nothing wrong with drinking grapefruit juice @mcbain… for breakfast!



    @mcbain next time, maybe read up a bit before we drink in public, K?


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