On Wednesday 18 November, four members from the City of Toronto, thinc design, and Alpine Bike Parks held a meeting to discuss the future of the Ridge Trail. Around 10 interested students attended the meeting in the Overlea Room, which took place at lunchtime.
Three boards were displayed at the back of the classroom, showing an interactive map of the Ridge Trail that pointed out its special features, complete with photographs of interesting spots along the trail. There was also a large black and white banner laid out in the middle of the room alongside a number of colored markers. This map had the purpose of letting students draw on it, mark it up, and share their ideas on changing and improving the trail.
The meeting began with an introductory presentation, educating the attendees of the existing features and their current conceptual design. The presenters hoped to have a discussion with the students, to receive their input, but unfortunately ran out of time. To compensate, they handed out a survey and gave the students brochures to take home.
The Ridge Trail, extending from Crothers Woods to E.T. Seton Park, features 1.8 km of formal trails and around 2 km of informal dirt side trails. It has long been used by the mountain biking community, perhaps due to the trail’s wooden technical features. Dotted along the trail are advanced riding features, such as teeter-totters and ladder bridges, that provide optional challenges for eager cyclists. The surrounding trees are of a wide variety, and many of which are over a century old. Many sections of the trail split into two paths, providing multiple levels of difficulty.
However, the 2013 Natural Environment Trail Strategy identified the Ridge Trail as a Priority Management Area due to unauthorized trail creation, unsustainable trail use, and damage to natural areas. The city is planning the new design to enhance the natural environment, improve trail safety, and boost the trail’s neighbourhood connectedness. Some ideas included adding an extra pedestrian loop, avoiding steep slopes, and adding more formal access points.
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