During my first council term, I have learned there are few things more complex than dealing with railway officials.
Which is why it took so long to increase the safety of a rail crossing on the Iron Horse Trail adjacent to Victoria Park despite the fact several cyclists were involved in accidents at the site.
Now, I am working with city staff on another issue involving the possibility of an additional rail crossing at the west end of the park. The crossing would hopefully replace a dangerous and illegal, shortcut-pathway on the Victoria St.S. side of the lake forebay. The path has been used for decades by pedestrians and cyclists cutting through to West Avenue on property owned by nearby condominium buildings.
In order to avoid a very expensive crossing or culvert on that illegal pathway, parks staff want people to cross the new forebay bridge, go down a short length of groomed trail through city-owned bush and traverse a small new bridge across the creek before crossing the rail track and walking through to West Avenue.
The plan is to eventually close the unofficial path and, at the same time, stop people from clambering up and down the embankment in order to unsafely cross the railway tracks. The proposal will also allow parks officials to begin efforts to groom and make better use of the bush area near the track.
However, because nearby residents have to be consulted about the proposed crossing and the customary snail’s pace progress on such rail proposals, I doubt action will happen until 2015.