Last month I reported on both the Leaside Neighbourhood Transportation Plan (Phase One), and a separate recommendation from the City’s traffic staff that a traffic signal be installed on Bayview Avenue at Sutherland Drive, to create a safer crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Transportation report did not propose any alternatives to a traffic light, measures such as pedestrian crosswalks or other kinds of traffic control, or explain how their recommendation had been reached. The Leaside Residents Association (LRA) responded with numerous conditional criteria, questioning how the traffic light would be operated and how Sutherland could be protected from an increase in traffic turning onto and off Bayview.
Feelings ran high. Leasiders (and not only those living close to the Bayview/Sutherland intersection) flooded the November 14th North York Community Council (NYCC) with emails expressing concerns. There was a clear demand to find a more acceptable option. After a few minutes of discussion, Councillor Jaye Robinson moved to send their report back to staff, ordering them to identify and cost other measures, and to involve more staff consultation with residents in the process.
There are alternative measures to consider. For instance, the Intersection Pedestrian Signal (Google it for an illustration). Staff needs to consider alternative street designs, which do not require a traffic light.
We all feel that a safer crossing is needed. I think we all agree that the current unsafe situation at Bayview/Sutherland should – finally – be properly dealt with, and soon.
The Leaside Neighbourhood Transportation Plan
Moving on to the Leaside Neighbourhood Transportation Plan (LNTP), I deputed to the North York Community Council that the recommendations contained in Phase One of the LNTP are both too modest and too few to make much difference in tackling Leaside’s traffic woes, given the pressures already on our community by lengthy delays in construction of the LRT, and an ever-increasing pace of development.
I noted that Phase One states that study and research on Leaside’s major traffic problems will be delayed until there is a subsequent Stage Two, apparently far into the future. To quote Phase One: “The long term plan will need to be informed by neighbourhood changes associated with the Eglinton Crosstown Line 5; bikeway installation on Eglinton Avenue East …; planning directions of the Ontario Line; the Laird in Focus planning area; and proposed and potential development sites.”
It will be many years before all of these are completed, by which time our traffic problems will have grown even worse, and be harder to resolve. Events will overtake the possibility of improvements, especially if Leasiders don’t get involved.
The good news is that NYCC unanimously voted to request the LNTP team to accelerate Phase Two!
The LPOA board of directors meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, at the Trace Manes building on Rumsey, just south of Leaside Library. You are welcome to join us to depute on issues important to you, ask questions, have your say, or just listen. Our next monthly meeting is on Dec. 6th. For more details and updates between now and then, visit www.leasideresidents.ca.