Spring is going to mean traffic woes for Midtown with five new construction sites
Will locals feel trapped when trucks, hoarding and traffic take over the area?
Stavros Rougas stands at Redpath and Roehampton as workers direct traffic
Traffic in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area has taken another hit: at least five construction staging proposals for the area were approved by the City of Toronto last month. Work on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT station is underway, while the construction plan for a 35-storey condo at 18-30 Erskine Ave. is under fire from parents of the adjacent John Fisher Public School. Construction is slated to begin this summer, and locals are already concerned about safety.
“Do you know how many times construction trucks park on the sidewalk?” said Stavros Rougas, a parent whose child attends John Fisher. “All the time. And if one just happens to be rolling backwards and forwards and there are kids around, they might not see them.”
Parents are also concerned about the amount of public space construction will take up, alongside school buses, student pickups, pedestrians and everyday traffic.
South of the school, the construction plan for 99 Broadway Ave. will close the south sidewalk and part of the eastbound lane of Broadway Avenue until 2020. For 151 Roehampton Ave., part of the sidewalk and south curb lane will be subject to closure until 2018. Construction for 125 Redpath Ave. and 197 Redpath Ave. will close portions of the east sidewalk and the northbound lane on Redpath Avenue until 2020. Factor in the ongoing construction for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT until 2021 and you’ve got traffic hell in a tight residential area with no clear end in sight.
“We wish we could do it without disrupting people,” said Anne Khan, manager of traffic operations, Toronto & East York District, City of Toronto. “Our goal is to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction as well as maintaining pedestrian and cycling connection where needed.”
The city’s provisions for emergency vehicles also require lanes to be wide enough to fit trucks and ambulances, even in areas with construction staging in place. In the event of an emergency, the city would be forced to close these streets to accommodate emergency vehicles.
“There’s no easy answer for a complex urban area like Yonge and Eglinton. It’s a process we’re working on,” said Cassidy Ritz, a City of Toronto planner. Ritz and her colleagues continue to work on the city’s Midtown in Focus study, which aims to address intensification in the area.