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Davenport Reference Panel

Davenport Panel Seizes the Opportunity with Recommendations

On June 23, 2015 the 35-member Residents’ Reference Panel released its 89 recommendations to Metrolinx on the opportunity created by the Davenport Community Rail Overpass project to remove one of the busiest rail-to-rail intersections in Canada at the Davenport Diamond.

The Panel invested over 1,500 collective hours over four Saturdays and one evening public meeting in conversations with one another, more than a dozen guest presenters, and their family and friends to produce a 68-page report of recommendations for Metrolinx to consider.

The Panel was convened by Metrolinx to open up a discussion with the community on one of the first projects to support GO Regional Express Rail – electrified, 15-minute GO service in core areas. Community representatives were invited to play a central role in shaping the design of the transit infrastructure and the public space created by elevating the rail corridor.

The recommendations fall into two categories:

a) General (thematic) recommendations that apply to overall design, construction and maintenance of the site – 30 total
i. Community Connections
ii. Safety, Security, Lighting
iii. Design and Culture
iv. All-Season Use
v. Ongoing Stewardship and Sustainability

b) Zones of Opportunity Recommendations – 59 total
i. Paton Rd.
ii. Dupont St.
iii. Wallace Ave.
iv. Davenport Rd.
v. Campbell Ave. Park

As the Panel members point out in their report to Metrolinx, they wanted to participate in this process as the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation represents the “single greatest local infrastructure project in a generation.” They volunteered for the panel because they wanted to serve their community and are determined to see that Metrolinx gets this right — making it, in their words, “an asset, not an eyesore.” Panelists wanted it known that their participation in this process and report does not condone the decision to build an overpass, but seeks to make the best of this planning decision.

Some of the key highlights of the report clearly show that the residents put a lot of thought into their recommendations and seized the opportunity presented by the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation.

  • Creating inviting, safe and separated cycling and walking paths underneath the overpass that also link to other parks and trail systems (e.g. West Toronto Railpath and the proposed GreenLine)
  • New Paton Road connection – for active transportation to be connected to the north-south multi-use path.
  • Wallace Square at Wallace Avenue – inviting community connection and social engagement.
  • Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge with Observation Deck over the CP Rail Tracks – to facilitate the continuity of a north-south connection and to create a new focal point.
  • Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge to Earlscout Park – to connect to Earlscourt Park and Caledonia Road.

This is one source of input on the Davenport Overpass and Metrolinx will continue to engage with the community and stakeholders over the coming months. Metrolinx will spend the summer reviewing all 89 recommendations and working with stakeholders and partners to provide a comprehensive response to all the great work the Panel was able to do in a relatively short period of time. We will report back to the Davenport Panel and the community in early fall. The date for Metrolinx’s response will be confirmed in late summer.

What is the Davenport Residents’ Reference Panel?

The creation of the Residents’ Reference Panel is Metrolinx’s first step towards engaging local residents. The Residents’ Reference Panel will work on behalf of their community to ensure that the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation benefits the neighbourhood.

Members of the Panel will meet during four full-Saturday sessions from April to June 2015 (see schedule below). Panelists will hear from transit and infrastructure experts, learn about the project and its implications for the community, and consider important international examples of successful elevated rail projects. Panelists will also examine possibilities for people who walk, ride bicycles and use local parks. Ultimately, Panel members will work together to advise Metrolinx on their priorities for the area and the project. Members of the Residents’ Reference Panel will advise Metrolinx on the potential for:

  • Creating newly accessible public space that is functional, connected and safe
  • Restoring connections across the rail corridor
  • Developing new paths and trails for walking, riding bikes and recreation
  • Improving landscaping and parks adjacent to the rail corridor

Davenport Panel Members

Metrolinx completed the month-long, March 10 to April 6, recruitment for 36 people to participate on the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Residents’ Reference Panel. Here are the 36 community members who were randomly selected to represent the views and perspectives of the broader community.

  • Paul Allamby
  • Danielle Balkissoon
  • Maria Brum
  • Justin Bull
  • Derek Carter
  • James De Monte
  • Pasquale Di Paola
  • Marie Cecile Diaz-Thomas
  • Mabel Ernest
  • Francis Finnison
  • David Gill
  • Jaime Ginter
  • Matthew Gray
  • Jeff Groves
  • Srimonti Karmakar
  • Ellen Kaross
  • Nigel King
  • Frances Kong
  • Michael Kushnir
  • Donna Lim
  • Irmgard Manthei
  • Nick Marchese
  • Ayasha Mayr Handel
  • Lily McGregor
  • Benjamin McPeek
  • Mario Silva
  • Matthew Park
  • Stacey Plowright
  • Bonnie Prentice
  • William Ross
  • Marie Sano
  • Joseph Sinnott
  • Claire Lemieux
  • Mary Joe Tavares
  • Katherin Thomaidis

Davenport Panel Kicks Off

The 36-member Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Residents’ Reference Panel met for the first time on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The group listened to the following presenters and completed a site tour in the afternoon. The group finished up the day by brainstorming ideas to finish the sentence “A great overpass project will...”

To learn more about the project and the panel, please read our Frequently Asked Questions.

Questions? Please email us at DavenportPanel@metrolinx.com.

Key Dates

March 10 – Invitations mailed to 10,000 randomly selected Davenport-area households
April 6 – Deadline to volunteer as a member of the Residents' Reference Panel
April 8 – Selection and notification of the 36 members of the Residents' Reference Panel
April 25 – First meeting of the Residents' Reference Panel | Meeting report
May 9 – Second meeting of the Residents' Reference Panel | Summary | Meeting report
May 12Public Roundtable Meeting | Summary | Display boards | Meeting report

Third and Fourth Meeting of the Residents' Reference Panel
May 30 – Third meeting of the Residents' Reference Panel | Meeting report | Electrification Update
June 6 – Fourth meeting of the Residents' Reference Panel | Meeting report

Second meeting of the Residents' Reference Panel

On May 9, 2015, the Davenport Panel spent the day focused on learning more about design excellence, urban planning, and the community's perspective. Here are the presentations that were delivered: