45 percent of Eglinton traffic is ‘extraneous’

Short term pain for long term gain.

That’s what we face as construction for the Eglinton LRT reaches Leaside.  While some of the pain will last only for brief periods, there will still be lengthy disruptions.  For the next few years LRT tunnel-boring and station construction will be a constant presence. We will all be affected one way or another, whether we live close to the route or not.

The really big issue for residents will be traffic diverting away from Eglinton and onto our residential streets.

One encouraging bit of news is that as much as 45 percent of Eglinton’s traffic is what is called “extraneous,” able to use other arterial east-west routes between their origins and destinations. This is traffic that, once drivers discover the new congestion problems along Eglinton, at least have the option and ability to divert completely away from our latitude.

Nevertheless, we can expect problems, both adjacent and parallel to Eglinton, and on other Leaside streets. This is why the LPOA traffic committee will be setting up monthly meetings with Metrolinx and city transportation to report and address problems promptly as they arise, and try to prevent others arising.

This is where you can help: we are working on ways of collecting your observations so that we can seek improvements in a timely way. Watch this space for more news on this front.

The LPOA traffic committee met with representatives of Metrolinx, the provincial agency responsible for building the LRT, and city transportation at the end of January. We were joined by Trae Zammit, of the Bayview Business Improvement Area to-be, and Andy Elder, of Grilltime on Laird.

We are concerned about the construction’s impacts on local shopping and businesses, and we’re proposing that parking restrictions and enforcement be relaxed on north-south streets, especially along Bayview and Laird, during the construction period. We will be discussing this in more detail at our next meeting.

During the years of construction, there will be some temporary relocation of utilities (hydro, gas, water mains and sewers, telephone and cable). We were assured that residents and businesses will be given advance notice of any shutdowns and length of interruption.

We asked about the possibility of relocating some of these services underground (given our still vivid memories of this winter’s ice storm) but this is not in their current plans. Individual arrangements still have to be worked out regarding access to affected private driveways and parking during construction, especially along Eglinton.

By the time you are reading this, preparatory work probably will have begun at the tunnel’s portal on Eglinton just east of Brentcliffe. Digging underground will be from east to west, with headwalls built, and provisions for emergency exits between stations.

You will also notice some activity at the Bayview/Eglinton intersection, although the major impact there will likely be a year or so later, as station building begins. Each station will have two entrances. The main entrance for Bayview will be at the south-east corner, where McDonald’s is now. The main entrance for the Laird station will be on the south-west corner, replacing the small commercial plaza.  There aren’t yet proposals or designs for above-ground building atop each station. Each will be considered and tendered separately.

All in all, LPOA will be keeping involved to keep you abreast of developments.

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After four years, Brian Athey has stepped down as president of LPOA.

We and all Leasiders owe him many thanks for his hard work and dedication, and are very glad that he remains on our board.

At our February meeting Geoff Kettel and I were elected as co-presidents. Roger Steer is our new vice-president, while Agnes Vermes and Andrea Villiers retain their positions as treasurer and corresponding secretary.

We meet on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Trace Manes building south of Leaside Library. Our meetings are open and we welcome attendees.

About Carol Burtin Fripp 119 Articles
Carol Burtin Fripp is Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, and is Chair of the LRA's Traffic Committee. Over the years, she has served on numerous East York and City task forces. Now a retired television producer (TVO and CBC), she writes Leaside Life's monthly LRA column, and has created a daily international current affairs newsletter read from Newfoundland to New Zealand.