On Thursday evening, July 12, at 7:00 pm, there will be a special meeting of Etobicoke-York Community Council at York Council Chambers to discuss the design of the St. Clair and Dufferin intersection.
Please note that erroneous information has appeared elsewhere stating that this meeting will be at the Etobicoke Civic Centre. This is incorrect, and if you schlepp out to Burnhamthorpe and The West Mall, you won’t find any meeting.
The background for this meeting is that the proposed configuration for this year’s construction on St. Clair is opposed by “Save Our St. Clair” for the elimination of the east to north left turn lane at Dufferin. The TTC/City proposal uses this space for an eastbound nearside safety island and, by doing so, avoids a major curb cut on the southeast corner.
This is one of the most challenging intersections in the St. Clair project both because it is at the heart of Via Italia and because on all four corners, existing buildings come right to the sidewalk. There is no space for sidewalk relocation. Indeed, on the northeast corner, part of the sidewalk is already occupied by an accessibility ramp to a bank.
The staff report and map are available online, but the counterproposals are not. When the Community Council considered this report, they recommended the staff position, but also adopted the following:
The Etobicoke York Community Council:
1. requested the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and City Planning, to report directly to the July 16, 2007 of City Council on:
a. how eastbound left turns at Dufferin Street can be accommodated;
b. the benefits of far side loading, and necessity for it in this location due to the large volumes of commuters at this intersection.
c. the viability of allowing the TTC platforms at Dufferin Street and St. Clair Avenue West to be the same width as the rest of the platforms on St. Clair Avenue West (2m);
d. the viability of incorporating a mandatory set back in the Avenue Study already underway of St. Clair Avenue West, requiring that the sidewalk be widened as part of New Redevelopment north of St. Clair Avenue West;
e. maintaining access north of St. Clair Avenue West as much as possible to local residents and to avoid side street traffic infiltration; and
f. given the comprehensive Green Plan Climate Change Document, adopted by the City Executive Committee on June 25, 2007 concerning reducing greenhouse gas output, to report on negative neighbourhood impacts on air quality and pollution.
2. directed that a Special Meeting of the Etobicoke York Community Council be held on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the York Civic Centre, prior to the July 16, 2007 meeting of City Council, to hear speakers on the proposed configuration of the Dufferin Street/St. Clair Avenue West intersection; and that staff send notice to the affected local community bounded by Westmount Avenue to the east, McRoberts Avenue to the west, Rogers Road to the north and Davenport Road to the south; and
3. directed that staff address any concerns arising out of this Special Meeting in a concurrent report to the July 16, 2007 meeting of City Council.
I am not going to get into a detailed discussion about the counterproposal (the farside eastbound stop) beyond noting that it has a more severe impact on sidewalks than the TTC/City proposal, and this is contrary both to the wishes of the community as expressed through its consultative committee and SOS itself.
One issue that must be addressed is the accommodation of east to north movements in the period between this year’s construction and the creation of a U-turn lane two blocks east (at Northcliffe) during next year’s phase of the work.
The reference to the Green Plan is particularly amusing because it implies that any scheme causing delays to cars creates more pollution and is therefore a bad thing. Taking this position to its logical end, the greenest possible plan would be one with unfettered road capacity and no pesky transit getting in the way. Sorry, but the whole idea of major transit projects is to take road space away from cars so that people can save energy by riding better transit.
Anyone wishing to speak can phone ahead (see information on the meeting notice), or just show up and get added to the list. There is a five-minute limitation on any deputation.
Note that whatever action is taken by Community Council on July 12 will be subject to review and amendment at the next meeting of City Council that begins on July 16.
My position on the issue? The whole St. Clair design has many problems that have been discussed elsewhere on this site, but the TTC/City proposal is the preferable one for Dufferin & St. Clair.