Photo Credit: City of Toronto
TCAT’s Active Neighbourhoods interventions often function as a form of “urban acupuncture” – small changes to unlock big results for local neighbourhoods. While this work is rewarding, we often wonder what it would be like if we could dream, and plan, on a bigger scale. So last week’s epic Rail Deck Park proposal announcement has our team buzzing.
Building a 8.5 hectare park in Toronto’s dense urban core would dramatically alter the landscape, especially for active transportation. As Toronto continues to outpace population growth projections, the ambitious proposal addresses the severe deficit of available parkland in downtown Toronto (for a deeper analysis see SPACING’s series: Parks in Crisis). If Active Neigbhourhoods is acupuncture for urban wellness, rail deck park is a major surgical graft.
Urban rail corridors provide necessary transportation infrastructure, but they also contribute to urban heat effects and create linear barriers across the city. In decking over it, the park itself would remove a massive barrier for people walking and cycling. It’s bold, exciting, and probably a long way off. But it feels like an a-ha moment for a city in desperate need to provide parkland for current and future generations of Torontonians.