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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.

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  • #813006

    fietser
    Participant

    The Ridge Trail Final Concept Design document has been released. You can read/ see it here:
    http://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Parks%20Forestry%20&%20Recreation/02Parks%20and%20Trails/Park%20Projects%20and%20Improvements/Files/pdf/2016-08-31_RidgeTrail_Final_A_reduced.pdf

    Just going to leave this here – estimated price tag $398,208
    That does not include ‘options B and C’ which are Trail closure and restoration (B – $78K) and New hiking trail proposal (C-$86K)

    According to the email I received:

    ‘We will likely go through a phased detailed design process and construction phase to implement the recommendations proposed.’

    Santa Cruz

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #813023

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    Sigh…….

    Would be cool if they could fix the trail they already made. It’s eroding, the ‘hard’ line is a joke, it’s got features falling apart or eroding. the downhill is nothing short of dangerous since they made it a single, eroded off camber line, and the gravel gully of death is even worse now with zero maintenance. None of the rock gardens lasted (small rocks, lots got removed by the CX crowd I’m told) and drainage hasn’t improved much at all. Ultimately looking even further down the trail to ‘fix’ it is forgetting that literally every section built by them is eroding or falling apart or inherently more dangerous than before. 16 years riding these trails and 8 of those digging, it’s disheartening to see the current state of crothers woods with our hands tied other than the ‘come out to a build day to build speed bumps with 20 other weekend warriors where we tell you what to do and ignore what you say because we already decided’ canned response. Oh well, expect jumps and mods to pop up over night regardless (since I know a certain COT individual reads this, what do you expect?) …..

    Guess we’ll just keep pushing in further. $400,000 is going to turn into $600,000, for less than 2km of trail. This is called insanity my friends. Give Tim $80,000 and one month and you’ll have the best, safest, longest lasting trails you’ve ridden. This way and it’s more of the same. Oh well, it’s cool that they are putting money in, but it’d be better if we followed the WORCA model vs the current model. WORCA modifies IMBA guidelines to suit their needs instead of giving full reigns to IMBA guidlines, since the don is a unique environment. WORCA also uses volunteer labor a lot, which reduces the cost and time to build.

    #813026

    dexter01
    Participant

    That does seem like a ludicrous amount of money for a few km’s of trail. Unfortunately when anything gets done “officially”, it really just means slowly and expensive.

    #813027

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    I think adapting the IMBA standards similar to what WORCA has done would be excellent. I also think that requires our community to act a little more like WORCA, which in turn means getting organized…

    #813030

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    WORCA has an awesome guy on board by the name of Todd that used to live out this way, so it’s possible! haha.

    #813031

    fietser
    Participant

    Great points all around.

    I was never much of one for math but a simple calculation put it that (minus consult fees etc) for the approx. 1.8km of the Ridge it will cost approx. $221 000/ km

    I was curious how that compares to some other trails I have ridden that are machine build with features. So I did a quick search on the ‘ol Google machine for shits and giggles and found this:

    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/announcing-sorca-and-squamishs-biggest-trail-project-ever-2016.html

    Coles notes: It suggests it costs about $125K to build another 25 000 ft (or 7.6km) of trail.

    Also, any one ridden Half Nelson? I know right? Raddest trail ever! Here are a few figures on that one:

    http://www.squamishchief.com/news/local-news/half-nelson-trail-outstanding-1.1108232

    Coles notes: It costs about $50K to build 1km of trail but, Big Red Ted squeezed out approx. 3km for that price.

    ‘With hoots echoing in the background while riders set off on the course, MOTCA recreation officer Norbert Greinacher said typically one kilometre of trail costs about $50,000 to build, but Tempany managed to build more than three times as much for the same amount of cash.’

    Be curious is anyone wanted to do the math and take out all the ‘optional prefabricated TTFs’ and see what the cost would work out to.

    I didn’t spend a load of time looking at the detailed breakdown of cost but here is one that made me chuckle:

    50 Concerete ar-mouring with exposed rebar: Cut rebar flush w/ concrete: 1 Allowance: $500

    $500 to cut some rebar flush with concrete? Seriously? How long do you think that would take with a cut off saw?

    #813036

    repack
    Participant

    “The estimated value of the proposed
    improvements is provided below in a high
    level Class D cost estimate (rough order
    of magnitude).”

    Tough day at work yesterday, can’t sleep, thought this document might do the trick. Nope. So we can say with certainty, that this project will NOT end up costing $40,000. Or $4 million. Obviously this is not a money-saving exercise though. It’s probably worth it to get it done right, especially as it pertains to engaging the community in Thorncliffe. To that end, the hiking trails are I think quite a good element of this plan, and as the only net new trail construction here the predicted $74,000/km does not seem too far out of line with the numbers quoted above. I do have a few issues though with the cycling facts and figures. Fig 42 shows “concrete slabs placed by trail users”, whereas I recall those slabs were placed by the guy in Fig 51, when he and his associates went through the ridge on that stealth dozing exercise that took place few years ago. Is the “concrete armoring” in item 50 with the exposed rebar the same as the slabs shown in Fig 51? Can’t quite tell from the locations indicated in Fig 3. “Pre-engineered” ramps run typically $5000 each, but it is proposed to “re-engineer” that new-ish bridge near the Seton lot (item 55) for $6000. In which case we can see the value of “pre-engineering”, it reduces costs by about 15%. If we swapped a pre-engineered bridge in at item 55, the $1000 saved could build 10 more bridges just like the one that would be removed. That arithmetic works for me. I see that I could save another 40 grand by noting that the gabion baskets under the bridge are perfectly fine as is, just another rock garden, in fact one that can’t be messed with by folks riding road bikes (the cx-ers? who knew). I’ve never punctured there riding a trail bike on the trail, but have punctured dozens of times riding a road bike on the paved roads of this city, but if necessary I could trim the wire sharps with some clippers. Seeing as signage is projected to cost a mere 20 grand, we can be thankful that the original builders who were remiss in placing not a single sign at least focused their efforts on getting more costly elements right, such that after years and years of heavy usage (I think we are talking up to 10^5 trips per 12 months?) the authors of this report can state: “Overall the trail is in good condition with only a few isolated wet and eroded locations. ” In other words, unlike the examples quoted above, on the main line of the Ridge we are not building trail, just remediating it. That ought to cost far less per km.

    #813053

    mcbain
    Participant

    Thanks for posting @fietser.

    These costs are on par with local real estate 😉 and accurately represent the price of doing business in Toronto. As an out-of-province friend commented, this report cost more than his city has ever spent on trails. It’s tempting to nitpick the itemized cost breakdown but I’m trying to look bigger picture and hoping for the best, like a mini-excavator in the hands of a skilled operator who understands mountain biking. Fingers crossed for an improved Ridge trail.

    That said, the $65 000 allotted for the removal and restoration of the North Loop and North East Trail (aka Podium), albeit with garbage cleanup included, is depressing. That’s 16% of the concept plan’s total cost to erase an unsustainable trail nobody rode and clean up garbage that’ll just rain down again. Also sad to see that the new hiking trail will not be extended across the across the top from Leaside Park to ET Seton. It would have given Thorncliffe residents a better loop and a good reason to keep the area litter-free.

    Trail fairies should take note as to what existing features are considered well-built and what must be removed – rock and full benchcut beat logs and pungees every time. If the future of ravine trails is eventual adoption by the City, each section will cost less if it’s not a junk show.

    Ongoing maintenance is a valid concern. The dedicated few in Crothers Stewardship made considerable progress this season, but they can’t be everywhere at once for 2 weather-dependent hours on Monday nights. They’ll only be stretched thinner once the Ridge is within their purview. Hopefully CoT will continue to refine the stewardship model and grant skilled volunteers the autonomy to do more, more often.

    @repack the only rebar on the Ridge I know of is in Fig 42 – the concrete slabs erroneously attributed to volunteers but in fact laid by City sub-contractors. Good catch!

    #814471

    fietser
    Participant

    Slow day at the office…

    Anyone heard anything regarding where the City is at in ‘the process’?

    Perhaps a $2 toll at the Loblaws Trailhead could help finance the project – I know, (eye roll) but like I said, slow day at the office.

    But seriously, anyone hear anything – just curious.

    #814475

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    Having a conversation with the Forestry folks on Monday, I’ll see what they’re able to share

    #814476

    jcitizen
    Participant

    I’d pitch in hundreds of dollars if there was some kind of fundraiser to support a good MTB plan. Heck, MTBers spends 100s to 1000s a year on their bicycle(s), so I can’t help but thing some decent money could be raised every year for features or big trail builds.

    #814490

    fietser
    Participant

    Having a conversation with the Forestry folks on Monday, I’ll see what they’re able to share

    Great @blurredlines – looking forward to an update. Hopefully they can share a fair bit. Lots of public money potentially being poured into this so transparency is always important. Curious also to see if they have found the money for the project.

    #814491

    fietser
    Participant

    I’d pitch in hundreds of dollars if there was some kind of fundraiser to support a good MTB plan. Heck, MTBers spends 100s to 1000s a year on their bicycle(s), so I can’t help but thing some decent money could be raised every year for features or big trail builds.

    Agreed @jcitizen unfourtunately, as I currently understand it, even if you wanted to shell out money towards the trails in Toronto the City doesn’t really have the infrastructure in order to accept it and see it through to the trails. But, heck yeah, I imagine being that we are likely one of the largest riding communities East of the Rockies we could probably raise a few dollars.

    #814496

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    An update of sorts…

    From my understanding the input from all stakeholders is being thoroughly considered prior to detailed design. Much of the community feedback and interests seem to be being prioritized. I don’t think “Found the money” necessarily applies. To me it sounds like the folks at forestry are doing their best to create a case for this project in our best interests. The lack of a larger collective voice seems to serve to slow the process as politically dismissing an individual is much easier than politically dismissing a group.

    On the organized, funded, plan end of the spectrum… Feel free to PM me if you’re interested in some discussion, I’d be happy to sit down some time with some folks over a couple of pints.

    #814505

    fietser
    Participant

    Thanks for the ‘update’ @blurredlines

    As for ‘finding the money’ I do think it is actually an important piece of the puzzle. The CoT has many projects collecting dust due to what has often been cited as lack of funding – Marie Curtis Bike Park comes to mind, not to mention many of the recommendations put forth in NETS namely the Trail Ambassador/ Trail Crew programs as well as expanding the Community Stewardship Program.

    It is great that the City Staff is ‘doing their best to create a case for this project in our best interests’ but really, did they ask if it was what the community really wanted? From what I heard at meetings the main message was keep the challenge in the Ridge but really just keep it pretty much the same (which let’s face it, the Ridge is really just the means to getting to better trails anyway).

    Yes, I understand that the Ridge is in a Priority Management Zone as per NETS but I question where the priorities lie as far implementation of NETS is concerned. Personal, I think we are putting the cart before the horse here. We have trails – they already exists – what we need is formalization as well as staff to manage and maintain them. I’ll be honest I have no idea how much the salary/ hourly wage of a Trail Crew would be for a season but I wager it isn’t near what it costs to build the trail (or another bike park). From the descriptions these jobs sounds like a perfect for highschool or Uni/ College students over the summer. I would bet the CoT could even get some sort of grant for hiring them as well to help subsidize their wages (https://www.ontario.ca/page/hiring-incentives-employers). I am sure all of this has been thought of by CoT staff, there are some great people there, but I question why nothing has been done to implement many of the recommendations? (see below)

    So far as a collective organized group goes, while I am not dismissing that as important, it certainly is, what we need even more is a political champion in the form of a councillor or similar position of influence to further the cause. The honest truth is that while we have some allies within PFR (or those who are happy to listen to and work with us) we don’t have anyone on council to push the agenda which, in my opinion, is what is actually needed to get shovels in the ground. Just my take on the situation.

    My hope is that one day our trails will be seen in the same light and given the same importance as other recreational facilities in the City. Imagine, just for a minute, that a hockey arena didn’t have a Zamboni in order to properly maintain the ice surface? Or a pool lacked the staff to check and adjust chemicals? Perhaps a well used park didn’t have the grass cut for an extended period of time. How long do you figure it would take for concerned constituents to get all up in the councillor’s grill? My guess is that said councillor would quickly be hard at work ‘righting those wrongs’. After all, those are all potential votes and to a councillor little matters more at the end of the day than maintaining those votes.

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