Metrolinx is developing the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation project to eliminate the Davenport Diamond. The diamond is one of the busiest train track intersections in North America, where Canadian Pacific Railway freight trains and GO Transit passenger trains operating along the 65 Barrie line intersect at a ground-level rail crossing.
As part of its regional express rail program, Metrolinx intends to increase the capacity of the GO line, with more frequent trains in both directions every day of the week. It plans to build an elevated rail structure along the line between Davenport Road and Bloor Street West.
Some residents of the nearby neighbourhood are opposed to the plans, describing the proposal, which, in some places would raise the tracks above homes, as a “Gardiner Expressway for GO trains”. (The current tracks are mostly on the surface.)
For example, the community group, Options for Davenport, says that “in early 2015, Metrolinx took our neighbourhood and the City of Toronto by surprise when it announced plans to build a 1.6-kilometre long rail overpass through the middle of our west Toronto community. The structure Metrolinx has proposed will be three storeys high, up to three GO Train tracks wide, and run directly alongside hundreds of homes as well as three well-loved parks.”
The group explains that, “While our community supports the building of better public transit and we embrace our railway roots, the proposed overpass is large enough in scale to be considered an elevated expressway for trains running through the heart of what is now a largely residential community. Other feasible options exist for eliminating potential rail traffic at the Davenport Diamond, including tunneling beneath the CP tracks — which would reduce the visual and noise impact on the community versus an overpass, while unlocking significant and valuable green space for public use.”
This before-and-after image illustrates how Options for Davenport fears the overpass will negatively impact the view from local Campbell Park and the entire neighbourhood:
“Toronto city council is blasting Ontario’s transportation agency and its plan for a big elevated rail bridge through Davenport neighbourhood, demanding Premier Kathleen Wynne intervene.
“‘We’re talking about a huge (ongoing) transformation, revitalization in this area, that could get severely impacted if you put this Gardiner Expressway-in-the-sky flying over this community, with trains going back and forth all day long,’ thundered planning and growth chair Councillor David Shiner.
“Davenport Councillor Ana Bailão said her residents support provincial electric rail expansion but ‘we don’t want to be the community known as the train-watching community,’ with, eventually, up to 180 a day overhead…
“Council voted 38-1 to tell Metrolinx it opposes the overpass and supports a tunnel. Council also wants Wynne to intervene and meet with Mayor John Tory ‘as soon as possible to express council’s concerns.’
“City planner Jennifer Keesmaat told council she wanted full study and evaluation of the overpass, tunnel and a ‘trench’ option, but Metrolinx timelines don’t allow for that. With the information at hand, city staff determined a tunnel would disrupt the area’s revitalization the least, she said.”
For its part, Metrolinx says the new overpass will help “unlock the land” beneath it, “reconnect communities” on both sides of the tracks and create “potential public space and pedestrian / cycling trails”.
It’s formed a residents’ reference panel of 36 community members to help recommend what it can do with the area under the overpass to benefit its neighbours and leave a lasting legacy for the community.
Since the last public meeting in October, when Options for Davenport and other residents voiced their concerns about the project and its impact on the area, Metrolinx has revised its designs for the project. It’s “lightened” the design, transforming the bridge into what it’s now calling “a guideway”, with a “greenway” below. Staff have also reviewed the impact of noise, vibration and shadow on the communities to provide more details about the scale and impacts of the different structures.
These images reveal Metrolinx’ new, “lighter” design for the structure.
Above: Looking south at new access point at Antler Street and Lappin Avenue.
Above: Looking east at Campbell Avenue Park - before.
Below: Looking east at Campbell Avenue Park - after.
Above: Looking under the guideway at Campbell Avenue Park.
Above: Looking south at the proposed Wallace Square at Wallace Avenue.
Metrolinx is hosting a meeting next week, so residents can learn more, ask questions and see the next step of design work. After the meeting, Metrolinx starts the formal 30-day public consultation period as part of the transit project assessment process later this month.
The meeting takes place:
Monday, January 18
6:30 until 8:30 p.m.
Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre
1900 Davenport Road.
Getting there by public transit
- Eastbound TTC buses operating along the 127 Davenport route and southbound buses operating along the 168 Symington route to Davenport Road and Laughton Avenue. Cross at the signal to the northeast corner and walk half-block eastward along Davenport.
- Westbound buses operating along the two routes to Davenport and Laughton. Walk half-block eastward along Davenport.