Leaside, how does your traffic flow?

Thank you to the almost 600 of you who returned the LPOA’s traffic survey questionnaires, many accompanied by lengthy and detailed additional comments and suggestions. Here are some key findings:

Everyone agreed that police enforcement of signage and speed limits is rare, where it happens at all. Drivers know this. Secure in the knowledge that there isn’t a police cruiser lurking around the corner waiting to ticket them, they ignore stop signs and turn restrictions. The measures which the LPOA plan put forward are therefore physical in nature, which do not require frequent police monitoring.

#1 Heavy traffic volumes are clearly your number one concern. Every street, traditionally quiet or busy, is now sharing the pain from exponentially increased through traffic. Leasiders realize that it’s not just LRT construction causing high car volumes and congestion; it’s also a byproduct of increased condominium and retail development in the city.

#2 Speeding was your second greatest concern, particularly on certain streets, with 75% of respondents favouring a 30 kph neighbourhood-wide safety zone. A constant speed throughout is easier to enforce than different speed limits on different streets. Lower speeds create a safer environment for pedestrians. The only criticism of safety zones was that a 30 kph limit could frustrate drivers and increase road rage.

#3 More than 80% of survey respondents favoured improved crosswalk markings. Over 70% approved raised crosswalks, and almost 60% liked speed cushions.

#4 The proposed ‘gateways’ meant to clearly identify that drivers are entering Leaside were welcomed by more than half of respondents, although costs and sight-lines warrant further consideration.

#5 Photo radar and red light cameras are not yet legally available, but Leasiders showed interest in how (once the legislation is passed) these measures might be useful here.

#6 Meanwhile, residents have noticed that parking on both sides of their street can be a do-it-yourself and particularly effective way of discouraging through traffic and speed. More and more of you are adopting this practice.

#7 Finally, building Redway Rd. as a Leaside bypass was mentioned by many of you, both at the LPOA’s two public meetings and in your subsequent comments. There are a number of (dare I use the term?) roadblocks to this option. For one thing, the City of Toronto has lost interest in road-building, as the city diverts any funds it may have into transit instead. There are other issues as well, regarding the railways’ land ownership and political opposition from North and South Rosedale, whose residents fear traffic incursion from Redway Rd. into their neighbourhoods. Suffice to say, extending Redway Rd. is not likely to be approved in the current fiscal and political situation.

So, what happens next?

We will be adjusting our LPOA proposals based on your survey responses and comments and putting together a costing of these measures. The LPOA Traffic committee has met informally with Councillor Burnside’s North and South Leaside traffic committees to get some sense of their own approaches. We expect their proposals will be made public in the near future.

At that point, we will work with them to create a single Leaside-wide plan for presentation at another public meeting to get community buy-in. We will work with City staff to move forward with polling residents.

Two things are key: first, we need to work together to promote a single plan, not competing plans, if we are to have any success in getting Community Council and City Council support. Second, now is the time to deal with our traffic problems, before further development creates even worse congestion and speed issues than we are currently experiencing.

The next monthly LPOA Board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3rd, at the Trace Manes building. These meetings are always open to the public, and take place on the first Wednesday of each month. We invite you to attend, whether for help or advice on local matters, or just to listen.

About Carol Burtin Fripp 140 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.