Rouge Valley Forest before
Highway 407 Construction.
Highway 407 cuts a path of
destruction through Rouge
Valley and Park.
From south of 16th Avenue on Highway 48, the Markham Bypass diverts through-traffic around the Town of Markham in a southeast direction to Highway 7 and Highway 407 near Reesor Road.
In 2003, York Region began an environmental assessment for the further extension of the Markham Bypass from Hwy 407 southward to Steeles Avenue. Markham and York Region want to build this Bypass extension parallel to the Havelock Rail line to link the Bypass with Hwy 401 via Morningside Avenue in Scarborough.
This Bypass plan and route involves many serious problems, including:
- Expensive Rouge Valley, river and railway crossings in several locations;
- Clear-cutting and bulldozing of sensitive Rouge Park woodlands, streams and wetlands;
- Damage to trout and salmon habitat and groundwater triggering a federal EA;
- Traffic, noise, pollution and light penetration into local communities and Rouge Park;
- Interference with a radioactive soil storage site in Scarborough;
- Interference with railway track twinning for GO Transit Service along Havelock Line;
- Political and legal battles and delays because of City of Toronto opposition;
- Deadly animal and automobile collisions as wildlife corridors are severed;
- Flooding, erosion and water pollution problems from Bypass runoff;
- Salt spray and runoff damage to nearby forests, golf courses, streams and aquifers;
- Subsidizing urban sprawl, leading to more traffic, smog, asthma and health damage;
- Increased gridlock as more traffic is funnelled towards over-crowded City streets.
Concerned citizens are asking York Region to conduct a thorough assessment of road, non-road and transit "alternatives to" and "alternative methods" to avoid the above environmental problems and to examine the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of each alternative on:
- urban sprawl, infrastructure costs and sustainability;
- air quality, smog, asthma, public health and greenhouse gas issues;
- water quality, source protection, stream flow and fisheries;
- Rouge Park woodlands, streams, trails, wildlife habitat and biodiversity;
- accident rates and public health and safety;
- urban form, energy use, greenspace and farmland.
With our growing smog, asthma and gridlock problems, many people feel that York Region should invest in the twinning of the Havelock Rail Line and additional Go Transit service rather than spending huge amounts of money to bulldoze the Markham Bypass through the Rouge Park.