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What’s Up With Those Hydro Poles in the Middle of the Martin Goodman Trail?

Apr 17, 2015

People who bike the Martin Goodman Trail east of Yonge Street have noticed – and complained – of a number of hydro poles recently installed along Queens Quay East. One of them is in the middle of the bike path.

People who bike the Martin Goodman Trail east of Yonge Street have noticed – and complained – of a number of hydro poles recently installed along Queens Quay East. One of them is in the middle of the bike path. Here’s what’s going on.

By Christopher McKinnon

A little over a week ago, we fielded some very good questions on Twitter about a series of new hydro poles that were installed along the south side of Queens Quay East. Really, the photos say it all – four hydro poles have installed, one of them in the middle of the new Martin Goodman Trail.  The poles are a hazard for trail users, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Here’s the kicker: Those poles are exactly where they are supposed to be. Waterfront Toronto and Toronto Hydro carefully negotiated the placement of those hydro poles.

Now, before you say what I know you’re thinking, allow me to explain…

Back in 2013, when we first opened the piece of the Interim Martin Goodman Trail that went from Yonge Street to Jarvis Street, the design for the trail required cyclists to transition to the on-street bike lanes on Queens Quay at Jarvis. That’s the design you see here in Figure 1.

2013 Design of Martin Goodman Trail at Foot of Jarvis

Figure 1 - The configuration of the Interim Martin Goodman Trail & Sidewalk constructed in 2013.

If you were riding your bicycle east on the Martin Goodman Trail, at Jarvis Street you took that little asphalt ramp down and merged into the old on-street Queens Quay bike lanes. If you were coming west on your bike, you had to jog south at Jarvis (with the pedestrian crossing) to get on to the trail. It wasn’t perfect. Back then, work was still being completed to reinforce the Jarvis Dockwall and the red granite promenade had yet to be installed. That meant keeping the multi-use trail and the sidewalk tight together. There were some pinch points (an inconveniently located hydro box, for example), but it made cycling this stretch of Queens Quay considerably better than it was years ago. We quickly saw lots of people riding their bikes along this path. Though there have been other construction projects in the area periodically disrupting the route, it felt like progress.

In 2014, we designed an extension of the Martin Goodman Trail to proceed further east, through the East Bayfront Neighbourhood, all the way to Parliament Street. That extension is under construction now and slated to be complete in the coming weeks, before the end of spring.

The new design calls for a reconfiguration of the area where the Martin Goodman Trail meets the bottom of Jarvis Street. Basically, now that the trail will extend to Parliament, there is no need to transition cyclists into the on-street bike lane (those will ultimately be removed). And with the work on the Jarvis Dockwall complete and the granite promenade installed, there’s lots more room for pedestrians to spread out there. Ultimately, the Martin Goodman Trail will jog south a little bit at Jarvis Street, while the sidewalk will curve south and open into the promenade. That’s the design you see here in Figure 2.

2014 Design of Martin Goodman Trail at Foot of Jarvis

Figure 2 – The 2014 design for reconfiguring the Martin Goodman Trail and sidewalk at Lower Jarvis Street and Queens Quay Boulevard East.

Now, about those hydro poles.

As Toronto Hydro spokesperson Mallory Cunnington noted in the Toronto Star’s recent Fixer column: “We had to relocate some poles due to construction activities in the area and clearance requirements. The clearance requirements are in place for the safety of the public and those working in the construction zone. The poles are temporary until construction is completed.”

If you read the column yourself (read it here), this might have made things seem even more confusing. Let’s unpack that quote a little. Here’s what’s missing:

A number of hydro poles from the north side of Queens Quay had to be temporarily relocated to accommodate the demolition and construction activities at the site of the former Guvernment nightclub. They have been moved to the south side of Queens Quay, where they will stay until it’s safe to move them back to the north side. Because of the construction activities, they do require some additional setback as compared to the streetlights in the area, whose poles hug the curb. (You can take a look at Google Streetview to see the old configuration of the Martin Goodman Trail and the streetlight poles.)

Today, that additional clearance means that those newly installed hydro poles are in the middle of the old Martin Goodman Trail. In the coming weeks, the Martin Goodman Trail at the foot of Jarvis Street will be reconfigured to the new design, connecting it to the extension going east to Parliament.

When that happens, those hydro poles will be at the edge of the Martin Goodman Trail. And when the construction across the street progresses, those hydro poles will be removed entirely.

 

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post contributor

  • Christopher McKinnon

    Christopher McKinnon was previously a communications and public engagement Manager at Waterfront Toronto. He’s passionate about art, cycling in the city, public transit and building really amazing parks.