Sunday, May 10, 2009

Waterfront West Transit project on Lakeshore Blvd West

I ask those readers from outside of Toronto to bear with me as I make another very local post.

The TTC and City of Toronto are re-starting the planning and consultation for the Waterfront West Transit project on Lake Shore Boulevard West - that's right here in my area. This is being done at the request of Councillor Mark Grimes.

Councillor Grimes has stated: “I have put the brakes on the LRT plan. At this time there are no specific plans as to how or what will be implemented on Lake Shore Blvd. I have ensured that concepts originally shown to the community regarding Light Rapid Transit (LRT) no longer form the basis for the transit upgrades. We are starting the consultation process over.”

Issues now open for discussion will be the use of replacement streetcars along the route, location of transit stops, use of a dedicated right of way, streetscape, accessibility of vehicles, speed of service, and other topics relating to transit. Councillor Grimes has thanked the TTC and its staff for stopping to listen to the residents and their willingness to adapt the consultation process for the Lakeshore community. The TTC will host preliminary consultation meetings on May 11th at the Mimico Adult Learning Centre and May 12 at the Assembly Hall, Mark Grimes urges all members of the community to attend, voice their opinion and be involved in this important process.

There will be afternoon and evening meetings. The afternoon sessions will show the background material related to the Transit City program and provide clarification of the design elements of light rapid transit service. The evening sessions will include a presentation, QA and round table discussions.

The meetings will be held as follows:
Monday May 11
2:00-4:00 pm and 6:30-9:00 pm
at the Mimico Adult Learning Centre at 255 Royal York Rd.

Tuesday May 12
2:00-4:00 pm and 6:30-9:00 pm
at The Assembly Hall (Humber College)
1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr (at the foot of Kipling Ave)

I'd like to urge residents of our area to attend, particularly an evening session. Make sure you understand what the City is planning for our area and be sure to voice any concerns you might have. I'll be attending the Tuesday evening session and will report back on this blog.

Based on the recent St. Clair TTC right-of-way construction issue, we can expect the City - TTC Chair Giambrone and Mayor Miller in particular - to push their plans through regardless of opposition. I still need more information on the current plans before making up my mind on this issue. Improved transit between our area and downtown is welcome. At the same time, I don't want to turn our community into a corridor and I don't want to see local businesses hurt by lengthy and disruptive construction.

I wonder if there are less expensive and invasive ways to improve transit in our area? What if we had more frequent street car service using the existing lines? I wonder if a simple option of running more cars has been examined and costed next to the LRT grand plan? Are there certain points along the current line where our street cars are delayed? Can we improve service by focusing on these bottlenecks?

There has been condo development spreading into our community, and there is little doubt in my mind that increased density is inevitable. It makes sense to plan our transit to handle more riders and to plan for faster service. Has the city considered the future of the existing Go Train line in their plans? Why go with an LRT? Is the community willing to accept fewer stops and a right-of-way in exchange for speed? What will happen in those areas where there is not enough room to squeeze in the LRT? Do we need bike lanes along this stretch (I'd like to see bike lanes through Mimico, in the stretch where no bike trail currently exists). What do we want the character of our neighbourhoods to look like in ten or twenty years?

I hope to see an excellent turn-out for the public meetings. Have your say and help shape our future.


Gardenia said...

Ah, you should run for a position on the Council (if that is what you call it) - you are level headed your community needs you very much!

mister anchovy said...

Har - never! I helped out on a municipal campaign once and I learned it was something I want no part of.

Candy Minx said...

Har twice. The thing is...and this is what I mean in my previous comment...change happnens under extreme or necessity. Politicians usually aren't the place to activate changes...behaviour changes when it's needed...liek "natural selection" it' usually born out of the unconscious. People toyed with being careful on their credit, to stop spending, the idea to get out of debt...nothing happened until now with a recession. Peopel are conserving in U.S. for example...because they HAVE to. Not because they are thoughful.