Residents weigh in on Riverdale Park Rd. redesign

Eric Morse —

A small city project in Cabbagetown attracted a modest but robust crowd of neighbours to an open house at Riverdale Farm on Feb. 26.

Riverdale Park Rd., the small paved laneway that runs between Carlton St. on the north and Geneva Ave on the south and borders the hill to Lower Riverdale Park, has come up on the city rota for re-paving. A public consultation, conducted jointly by the Parks department, the Engineering department and the Transportation department’s Beautiful Streets project was ordered on the redesign.

The project involves the asphalt repaving of the laneway and its connection to Carlton St, which on the stretch from Sumach to the hill is paved in red brick. The brick is to be retained and some of it shifted to create a small seating area beyond the safety bollards and vehicle gate at the verge of the hill. The bollards and gate will be replaced with removable bollards. The battered guardrail along the slope edge of the lane will also be replaced. There will also be a new raised planter at the east end of the parking spaces on Carlton.

The project has to be done with some attention despite its small scope. As noted by resident Brian Hall, it’s a very busy space with much traffic to the park—baseball in summer and tobogganing in winter. The corner presents a tremendous panorama of the Don and Riverdale, especially during winter. “I’m very pleased that the City is taking the initiative to preserve an idyllic space,” said Hall.

Residents of the neighbouring houses were in favour of the work and suggested that the bollards be more attractive and placed to avoid getting run over by moving vans and similar large vehicles making backup turns across Carlton.

Mary Moore of Geneva Ave. hopes that the Bike Share programme might install a rack—it’s currently a ten-minute walk to the nearest rack at Regent Park.

The biggest issue was garbage. Carlton resident Stephen Bailey noted that the large bins parked by the top of the stairs to the park are an eyesore and a nuisance in that they encourage people from all over to dump everything up to refrigerators indiscriminately in the hope that the City will carry it off. “We’ve had whole renovation projects dumped there,” one participant commented.

According to Councillor McConnell’s office, this city-wide problem began when jurisdiction over park bins was shifted from Parks to Solid Waste as an economy measure. Solid Waste promptly replaced the older bins in the parks with the larger standard ones that can only stand by the roadside as the garbage trucks cannot go into the park.

Councillor McConnell’s office estimates the total project budget including water main replacement, road reconstruction, guard rail replacement, and the park entryway improvements to be around $250 000. Work is to be completed in fall 2015.