Welcome to Leaside’s obstacle course

The intersection of Millwood, Krawchuk Lane, Leaside Memorial Gardens and the Baghai development.
The intersection of Millwood, Krawchuk Lane, Leaside Memorial Gardens and the Baghai development. Photo by Robin Dickie.

By the time you read this, the reconstruction of the Laird/Millwood intersection, described in my June column, should be well underway, with resultant diversions and lineups. Travelling from A to B has become a bit of an obstacle course, and is certainly a challenge. So I know that traffic issues will continue to be on your mind.

But wait: there’s more to come. Soon there will be a redesign (aka construction) of the intersection just to the west of the current construction site: the Millwood/Southvale section by the Leaside Memorial Gardens driveway, including the portion of Southvale in front of the Shane Baghai condominium-to-be next door. 

Anyone who has tried crossing Millwood east to west (or vice versa) on foot, directly across from the arena driveway, knows how dangerous that intersection is. Whether the traffic light is in your favour or not, speeding cars appear from multiple directions as you cross this very wide street. Walking from the arena parking lot toward the condominiums on Krawchuk Lane is an adventure, to say the least.

It does not have to be this way. With proper design, and coordinated traffic signals, this area could be much safer and more attractive.

The Leaside Property Owners’ Traffic Committee has developed suggestions which would improve both the look and safety at a reasonable cost. Councillor Jon Burnside has agreed to arrange a meeting in August for us with City staff to discuss them. We want to give some input before the City’s construction plans are set in stone….Or should I say cement?

Additionally, we need to discuss where the entry and exit points to and from the Baghai condominium will be located. We understand that they may be placed mid-building, only a few metres from the traffic light at the arena driveway. Will pavement markings permit left turns out, westward, onto Southvale? Or only right in-right out movement? Safety is the primary concern here.

Staying on the topic of traffic, the LPOA’s Traffic Committee met with the heads of Councillor Burnside’s  North and South Leaside Traffic Committees in late June, to share our objectives and coordinate our various traffic calming approaches. We’ll be getting together again later in the summer. We know that traffic congestion and diversion on Leaside’s residential streets need to be addressed. You’ve told us so at our meetings and in your emails. I am hopeful we will be able to work together for improvements in both North and South Leaside.

Although using your property as an Airbnb rental is legal, and City Council has been trying to design rules and standards, the LPOA has recently been getting reports that a few local owners have already created problems by becoming hosting sites. Some Leasiders report: noise, late parties, cars parked on front lawns, or other issues that a poorly regulated system can lead to. As housing sales have slowed, some would-be sellers may convert their properties to hosting sites until the market rebounds.

In the longer term, if someone buys a house in order to convert it into a bnb, and if several houses on the same street are converted, whole neighbourhoods can change. This is not (yet) a widespread trend in Leaside, but it’s something to contemplate for the future.

Just as there is ‘vertical bnb creep’ in high-rise condominiums, ‘horizontal bnb creep’ could affect whole neighbourhoods across the city, street by street.

Summer is here, but the LPOA’s monthly board meetings continue! Our next meeting is on THURSDAY, AUGUST 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Noble Room at Trace Manes. 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 138 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.