Don Trail reopening delayed past next summer
DAVID RIDER CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Motorists aren’t the only Torontonians suffering construction fatigue as project delays plague busy routes used by cyclists, pedestrians and transit users. The lower Don Trail, a popular cycling and walking path along the Don River that was closed for improvements last May, will remain off limits for a full second summer, reopening in late August or September 2024, city staff told the Star. Signs originally erected from Pottery Road south to Corktown Common had suggested the improved path — part of a multi-project Lower Don remake — would be reopened for people to enjoy next summer. City staff blame the delay on the site being “complex, narrow and located between the Don River and a rail corridor, which has resulted in some challenges with getting materials and equipment in and out of the site.” Also, one section suffered erosion from the river, triggering an ongoing geotechnical review. Permits and approvals for changes to nearby infrastructure took longer than anticipated. Impatient cyclists have been spotted throwing their bikes over barriers and illegally using bike path sections not yet torn apart. The local city councillor Paula Fletcher expressed extreme disappointment with the delay and said she’ll push city officials to try to meet the original timeline. Helping cyclists ride through the Don Valley instead of having to brave streets mired in road construction “should be top of mind,” said the Toronto-Danforth representative. “It’s dangerous out there for cyclists.” Fletcher said she expressed concern about possible delays when city staff told her that work on the Don trail and the Gardiner Expressway, and the replacement of streetcar tracks on Broadview Avenue would happen simultaneously. “We’ve just come to expect that projects aren’t going to be finished on time,” Fletcher said, adding the city should either give residents “realistic” completion dates or do a better job forcing hired contractors to meet their deadlines. Also in the grips of delay — TTC users who rely on Broadview Station, and the bus and streetcar routes around it. Roads around the station were supposed to reopen Sunday, allowing transit routes to return to normal. However, “during construction, contractors found some legacy steel beams in the road that impacted their work,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said in an email. “We are now projecting reopening in two to three weeks.” The TTC has published a list of resulting route adjustments from Sunday until December. While delays in completion of city and provincial construction projects are nothing new, a plague of them since pandemic slowdowns have bedevilled Torontonians.