St. Clair & Dufferin: Cars 1, Pedestrians 0

City Council, in its infinite wisdom, overturned the recommendations of their staff and of the Community Consultative process set up to review the design of the St. Clair LRT project.

Although the original design for Dufferin and St. Clair did not include an east-to-north left turn lane, this feature has been added by Council direction.  See the Decision Document at item EY7.38 for details.

The staff report on the subject includes drawings of both configurations, and you can see clearly the degree of curb cuts that this decision will entail at an already-crowded intersection.

Two follow-on actions were included in the Council decision:

  • Future studies for the redevelopment of this area should include setbacks from the new curb lane to provide wider sidewalks.
  • The proposed U-turn two blocks east of Dufferin at Northcliffe (part of the 2008 phase of the LRT project) should be reviewed.

This decision bows to those who drive on St. Clair by providing a left turn at the expense of pedestrian space.  Once the construction is finished, we can expect to hear howls of outrage about this change.

7 thoughts on “St. Clair & Dufferin: Cars 1, Pedestrians 0

  1. And this is why SOS exists. Sigh.

    Steve: For clarity for readers, it was SOS who pushed for the inclusion of the left turn lane over the recommendations of both the staff and the community committee.


  2. It doesn’t seem so bad to me.

    On Pg.7 of the above linked staff report, there is a table showing remaining widths of sidewalk for the 2 alternatives. The new alternative layout (farside eastbound stop) results in sidewalk widths of 3.2m or greater on all 4 corners. The recommended layout (nearside eastbound stop) results in a sidewalk width of only 3.0m on the SW corner.

    The table on pg.8 is not so good as it shows the loss of an additional 112.9sq.m of sidewalk due to council’s decision. Smaller sidewalks need to be sensibly laid out. Unlike the NW corner of Vaughan and St. Clair where the new sidewalk has new trees that are far from the curb and have raised edges around them far from their trunks. The third tree W of Vaughan is not much more than 1m (I’m guessing) from the edge of the often propped open door of the Jamaican restaurant there. Hopefully this type of tree well will not be used for the rest of the project (sorry for the digression but I just don’t understand why we couldn’t have trees there without “blocking” the sidewalk).

    Back to Dufferin & St. Clair. So more sidewalk is lost but minimum width is slightly better. Fewer angry and confused drivers?

    And farside stops are better right?

    Steve: Thank you for pointing this out. It looks like the design with the farside stop has been modified from the version that was originally presented. In that one, the streetcar track was in the same place for both designs resulting in a nasty cut on the southwest corner to make room for a left turn lane. In the new design, the track appears to be shifted north so that the space for the turn lane is spread out more between the two sides of the road.

    Personally, I am not so keen on the farside stops because of the way the City sets up the traffic lights. For them to work properly, the streetcar must be teh first vehicle to get the green light when it arrives, not the last. Otherwise, it waits for the light while it could be loading passengers.


  3. “Future studies for the redevelopment of this area should include setbacks from the new curb lane to provide wider sidewalks. ”

    So, 50 years from now when the buildings in the area have been designated as heritage structures the future city council can deal with the problem. In the meantime, ‘single file please!’.

    Steve: The utter stupidity of the position advanced by SOS for this intersection astounds me. One might almost think that they want it to be as bad as possible and then spend all of next year saying “I told you so” to everyone.


  4. Steve, I’m glad you pointed out the defect in the farside loading as we now have it. At those intersections where left turns can be made from only one direction the cars going straight from the same direction are allowed to proceed and only the streetcar needs to stop while the cars speed by. Then the streetcar must stop again at the platform after crossing the street. Someone’s not thinking!


  5. How depressing.
    Over and over the St Clair roadway gets worse and worse.
    No bike lanes were a bad start, now we are stuck with this idiotic intersection plan.
    It is already a dangerous intersection with cars making all kinds of illegal and unsafe turns.
    I was really looking forward to no left turns there.


  6. I recently watched, with great amusement and a touch of sadness, an ambulance and a fire truck trying to get by on the north side of St Clair at Yonge. With a lane of parking, one lane of traffic, the high curb of the ROW, motorists desperate trying to get out of the way, but of course nowhere to go, they were hopelessly trapped. But the streetcar just rolled on by. What a monument to stupidity, which will undoubtedly be repeated further along.

    Left turn lanes, with left turn priority lights are the only intelligent solution to gridlock in the city. Well, possibly after better managemrnt of Don’t Walks so that cars can turn right as well.


  7. I thought the whole point of the ROW cutting so much road space was so that emergency vehicles could use the ROW?

    Steve: That’s a nice theory, but there are places where the high side curbs make mounting the right-of-way difficult and it’s only practical at an intersection where everything is at the same level. Also, the centre poles [yes, here I go again] are just one more impediment to speedy travel.


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