York Urbanist


EcoPark Trail

The Don Valley Trail connects EcoPark with the Maple industrial area. It combines creek rehabilitation and habitat creation with a recreation trail. As an urban trail, it provides an escape for the industrial worker and a place to explore.


Trails allow exploration of spaces that previously remained inaccessible. Whether rural or urban, pedestrians and cyclists are challenged in their goal for unimpeded access.RURAL TRAILSOften rural municipalities and trails organizations have limited financial resources for the development of trails.  But when it is realized that a trails system is one of the best recreation values, the opportunities are boundless.Abandoned rail lines and closed rights-of-way provide already cleared and usually the least difficult and accessible routes.  They can become the spine of a system. Spokes from that spine will afford routes with more physically challenging and diverse geography.  Recent tourism studies show that travellers are seeking natural settings for their time away from work. Accordingly, rural trails can benefit from that opportunity.URBAN TRAILSMore urban municipalities are challenged by the impediments of an established transportation system for motorized vehicles.  Urban trail users seek an escape from the buildings occupied for work or home.  Use of urban routes tends to be shorter in duration. Therefore, urban trails need a more intense experience of travel. Existing motorized routes will become part of the system.  Frequently, pedestrians were not part of the modal split evaluated for their design.  Retrofitting existing roads will require pavements separated for safety and designed to allow various modes of non-motorized activities including: walkers; in-line skaters; cyclists; and boarders.The complexities of an urban trails system are not only physical but psychological and administrative.  The crossing of roads is the most difficult to overcome.  High volume regional roads and provincial highways pose barriers. Six to ten lanes are a psychological barrier for those with ambulatory difficulties.  Perhaps a greater hurdle are the municipal road standards set at a time when the car was king.  In some cases, transportation / engineering directors remain from that era. But times are evolving and a return to the sanity that drivers are also pedestrians is becoming pervasive.

Goderich Boardwalk