TRAFFIC AT PARK LAWN AND LAKE SHORE
Traffic congestion is a problem that everyone in the City of Toronto deals with on a daily basis, however, conditions in the Park Lawn and Lake Shore Blvd West area are currently unacceptable. Ward 6 is suffering through a traffic crisis, and I believe there are three major contributors to the congestion: construction, volume, and transit.
I meet with the Humber Bay Shores Condominium Association (HBSCA) and City Transportation Services staff every 3 months to identify and rectify problems on the road within the community. Over the past few years we have enacted stricter parking regulations, no stopping zones, regular street sweeping at the cost of the developers, and adjusted construction schedules to expedite work.
I have also held multiple meetings with the Site Managers for the condo currently under construction, along with City staff from Municipal, Licensing & Standards, Transportation Services, Toronto Police, and the HBSCA. Following our most recent meeting, I have directed staff to implement new restrictions on construction operations. We have requested that developers enlist a paid duty officer to enforce rules and facilitate safer and smarter traffic conditions. The costs of this monitoring, set to take place from 5:30am to 9:30am, will be at the expense of developers. Bylaw officers will also continue monitoring the area for noise violations and road obstructions. Any breaches will result in further sanctions and significant fines. There will be a zero tolerance policy going forward.
I requested the City undertake a comprehensive transportation master plan for the Park Lawn Road and Lake Shore Boulevard West area to address current congestion and impending traffic implications from all of the condo developments in the area. Preliminary work on the plan is complete and a consultant will be hired this year to complete the study and recommendations. Sign up for eNews to receive updates on the status of the masterplan.
Last year we re-configured the Park Lawn and Lake Shore intersection, adding more lanes, dedicated turning lanes, and adjusted the signal timing to try and get people moving faster.
With the simultaneous construction on the Gardiner Expressway, a significant number of eastbound commuters exit the Gardiner at Park Lawn and funnel through the Park Lawn – Lake Shore intersection during the morning rush. This volume of commuters is so great that Humber Bay Shores residents are often unable to exit from their buildings, and ward 6 residents west of Park Lawn are backed up for several kilometres. We are suffering through unnecessarily long eastbound commutes, because of this temporary cut through traffic.
At the November meeting of Etobicoke York Community Council I will be moving a motion to restrict southbound (right) turns onto Park Lawn Road from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway during the morning rush hours.
Better public transit is the only way to reduce the number of cars on the road!
The 501 TTC streetcar route is relied on daily by thousands of Ward 6 residents as the most direct route to and from the downtown core. Unfortunately this route is plagued with problems that are both big and small. Residents regularly complain of overcrowding, longer than acceptable wait times, inconsistent service levels and frequent short turning on both the 501 westbound and 501 eastbound routes. To address these concerns I moved a motion at City Council requesting the TTC close the gap on the dedicated streetcar right of way between St. Joseph’s Hospital and Exhibition Place, and that it be included in the TTC's 2016 Capital Budget http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2015.EX3.4 We called this initiative the ShoreLine, and almost 2000 people signed a petition in support of it, which I presented to the TTC and City Council. http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2015.MM9.23 City and TTC staff have responded to that motion and will be looking at how to best design and fund the route. We expect a report back on this early in 2016. http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2015.EX9.9
I also envision a Transit Hub on the old Mr. Christie's site, including a new GO Transit stop. Metrolinx recently announced that they have shortlisted Park Lawn as a potential location for a new GO Transit stop. Councillor Di Ciano of ward 5 and I received unanimous support from both Etobicoke York Community Council and Toronto City Council to endorse this new stop, and let Metrolinx know that the City and the ward 5 and 6 communitites need a new GO stop at Park Lawn. As GO Transit is owned by Metrolinx and under provincial jurisdiction, you may want to contact our Member of Provincial Parliament, Peter Milczyn, to let him know you support having a new GO Transit stop at Park Lawn. You can email MPP Milczyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also requesting the TTC provide relief buses for the 145 Express bus during morning rush hour as the incredible congestion as of late has severely impacted the service on this route. I hope to have an update for users of this service soon.
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The City has a web-based map to help residents and visitors make their travel plans, available at http://www.toronto.ca/roadrestrictions.
Information about the City's planned capital construction work, which also affects roads, is available at http://www.toronto.ca/inview.
Finally, I wholeheartedly agree that infrastructure vulnerabilities need to be addressed in this area. The decision to build high density residential developments in Humber Bay Shores was approved by all three levels of government in the early 1990s, before I was elected to City Council. In addition, until recently, Park Lawn Rd. north of Lake Shore Blvd. W was zoned for employment uses, however, the Ontario Municipal Board overturned City Council’s decision and permitted the construction of residential buildings without any consideration to the existing infrastructure limitations of the area. As a result we are now forced to play catch up with the ever increasing density in this area.
It is paramount that residents understand how we arrived to our current situation and that despite the numerous challenges we face as a community, we are tirelessly working on strategies that can be implemented in both the short and long term. I am committed to delivering you solutions and results that will make an impact in your everyday life. As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with your questions, concerns or suggestions. My office and I are always available to assist.