More than three and half years ago, we proposed the King High Line, an extended pedestrian bridge that would connect Liberty Village to the communities north of the Georgetown Rail Corridor. From local councillors, stakeholder groups, to City staff and local residents, the interest and support for the concept was overwhelming. We turned our focus to the practicalities of the situation, determining what it would take to make King High Line a reality.
During this time, The Liberty Village/King West areas were undergoing significant change and the City and Metrolinx were engaged in several studies in and around the Georgetown Rail Corridor. As we reviewed this complicated environment, it was clear that building each section of King High Line would depend on several factors in the surrounding areas.
In order to complete King High Line’s South section, First Capital’s multi-use path would need to use part of Metrolinx’s existing King Street bridge to connect the path directly into Liberty Village. Although Metrolinx had always been supportive, they were unable to commit any space to the High Line until they could determine what space was needed to accommodate new tracks for the rail service improvement program. Metrolinx has since determined these requirements and a license agreement is currently being finalized that will enable construction of this section of the King High Line at the end of 2018.
When we proposed the King High Line in 2014, the Environmental Assessment for the extension of the West Toronto Railpath from its current terminus at Dundas Street south to the vicinity of King/Sudbury/Strachan Avenue was underway. That study eventually recommended an alignment from Dundas to Abell Street; extending Railpath along the north side of the corridor east of Abell proved problematic and controversial for a variety of reasons. Since then, the extension of Railpath from Dundas to Abell has been approved and funded with contributions from all three levels of government. Although there are some issues to be worked out by Metrolinx regarding the corridor widening and construction of the Railpath extension, only the actual timing is uncertain as the project will be proceeding. The only outstanding piece left to complete the West Toronto Railpath/King High Line was the need for a bridge over the rail corridor.
In the 2014 municipal election, John Tory campaigned on a promise to add more stations to the existing GO lines that traverse Toronto – his plan was called SmartTrack. One of the stations proposed in this platform included a stop at Liberty Village. After more careful review of the options available to integrate the station into the corridor and connect it to the adjacent communities, the City and Metrolinx determined that a bridge across the corridor would be the best option to provide access to the station platforms below and connect the communities north and south of the corridor to it. By connecting the King High Line to Railpath via the new station, it will be possible for people to walk or cycle from north of Dupont to Liberty Village without ever crossing a city street, adding a significant element to this expanding off-road trail network.
The plan for the King-Liberty SmartTrack station was released on April 10th and incorporates the King High Line concept into its proposed design. The City staff report detailing the design of the King Liberty SmartTrack station will be considered by Toronto’s Executive Committee on April 17th and by Council on April 24th with recommendations to advance the development of six new SmartTrack stations as part of the City’s overall transit network plan.
Show your support for the planned incorporation of King High Line on social media, or sign-up here to become an official friend of the King High Line.View the King-Liberty Station Design Update