Nine Davenport community groups banded together to collect as many as 1,500 signatures for a petition that calls on the Ontario government and provincial transit agency Metrolinx to meet a set of criteria for the proposed Davenport Diamond Grade Separation project.
The coalition of groups, including BIG, the Bloordale Business Improvement Area, Bloordale Community Improvement Association, Davenport Village Community Association, DIGIN, Friends of the West Toronto Railpath, How We Live In Cities, Junction Triangle Rail Committee, and Options for Davenport, supported by local politicians, delivered the petition to Davenport MPP Cristina Martins, who read the document in the legislature on Thursday, June 9.
“The petition is a strong showing from our community and I would hope that Metrolinx will listen and act on what our community is calling for,” Davenport Councillor Ana Bailão told The Villager in an email statement.
Metrolinx is planning to remove the Davenport rail crossing and is proposing to build an estimated 8.5 metre high bridge over it so that CP freight trains won’t interfere with GO trains on the Barrie corridor. The bridge would be built from Bloor Street West in the south to just north of Davenport Road.
Among the requirements the community groups are calling for in the petition are: developing a comprehensive vision that includes a design competition; addressing noise, vibration, and safety issues and concerns; creating a multi-modal station at Bloor Street West; establishing cycling and walking connections throughout as well as connections to the West Toronto Railpath, the Green Line, and an elevated connection to Earlscourt Park; and providing the community with a specific date that the corridor will be electrified.
The project will impact the Davenport neighbourhood for the next century, Bailão pointed out. “Through advocacy, research, and hard work, our community has come together and presented a real and achievable vision for this project,” she said. “I encourage Metrolinx and the province to follow the lead of the Davenport community in truly creating a city building project that benefits all communities along the corridor – our community deserves no less.”
In an open letter to Metrolinx, the community groups stressed that they are not opposed to and support the expansion of public transit across Toronto and the GTA.
“However, when this project was announced, we feel that our community was robbed of the opportunity to consider the risks, benefits, and opportunities between a bridge, tunnel, or trench,” the letter says.
The proposed overpass would be built mere metres from homes, businesses and paerks, Options for Davenport spokesperson Sam Barbieri said.
“Not surprisingly, the people who live here are concerned about noise, diesel pollution, safety, and the visual impact that such an imposing structure will have on our established neighbourhood,” Barbieri said in a statement. “Our community has come together to put forward a series of reasonable requests relating to these issues. Meeting these requirements is the very least the province and Metrolinx can do for our community.”
Kevin Putnam of the Junction Triangle Rail Committee said that the community is seeking the “best possible design, an architectural gem that elevates the community not just the trains.”
Reposted from the Bloor West Villager. Read the original story: Here.
Watch MPP Martins read the petition: Here.