[ensu] St. Clair right of way

  • From: matt.niedzielski@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: ensu@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 01:09:50 -0400

Tomorrow and Wednesday the TTC will be hosting two more information sessions.

1) St Clair Meetings
Now is your chance to voice your approval for one of the 8 options!

Tuesday, April 13
Holy Rosary Parish Centre
356 St. Clair W. (east of Bathurst)

Wednesday, April 14
Joseph Piccininni Centre
1369 St. Clair W. (west of Landsdowne)

Displays 5-7 PM; Presentation 7 PM
We¹ll need as many transit supporters there as possible to fill out 
comments sheets, emphasizing that a right-of-way needs to be 
continuous and
also that the design must include a physical separation between 
traffic and
the streetcar lane. 

St Clair Right-of-way Initiative for Public Transit
E-mail: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Phone: 416-535-1617
Web: http://www.script2004.ca 

2) SCRIPT & Rocketriders getting message out to community

* approx. 2000 brochures to transit riders, with overwhelmingly 
positive response

* dozens of people signing on the same day online with automatic 
emails being fired off to the councillors and mayor

* another 100-200 names on paper that will be sent in as soon as we 
enter them

* email notices to contact person at a couple dozen local community 
groups, including community service organizations, coops, etc.

* posters on poles from Yonge to Oakwood

* brochures into several libraries and delivered to a number of 
community groups 

* email message forwarded to 600 local residents on the Friends of a 
New Park list 

* 1000 EA newsletters onto the streetcars

* email notice to about 1500 activists over the Rocket Riders and 
Public Space lists

3)St Clair Right of Way in the news

Saturday Globe and Mail

Battle lanes drawn over St. Clair streetcar

Plans to improve area's public transit divide community into vocal 

Monday, April 12, 2004 - Page A7 

The posters are plastered everywhere: on storefront windows, homes 
and even on a church along St. Clair Avenue West's Corsa Italia 

"Save our St. Clair. No Barriers. No Right of Way."

Recent discussions by the Toronto Transit Commission and the city to 
build an exclusive streetcar right of way on this six-lane street 
have created near panic in the working-class community.

The well organized opposition by business owners and residents is 
expected to rev up tomorrow and Wednesday, when city staff hold 
community meetings to discuss the best option for improving public 
transit in the area.

"This is going to destroy our neighbourhood. Where are people going 
to park?" said Mario Ceravalo, who has managed a shoe store in Corsa 
Italia for the past 25 years.

"This wouldn't happen in a rich area."

Cesar Palacio, the rookie city councillor who represents the ward, 
admits he has a major problem on his hands.

"I'm very pro-transit, but not at any cost. I just don't think it 
would be wise to push something down the collective throat of the 
communities," Mr. Palacio said.

"They have legitimate concerns. It's not that the neighbourhood is 
against the TTC. They want their system to be improved too."

The streetcar tracks on St. Clair are in rough shape and have to be 
replaced next year.

The streetcar right-of-way plan has become a now-or-never proposition 
that could help make the public transit service more efficient and 
quicker for riders, TTC officials say.

The line carries 32,000 riders a day. But that number is expected to 
increase dramatically as the area grows.

The idea to make St. Clair Avenue West an exclusive streetcar right 
of way -- likely from just west of Keele Street to Yonge Street -- 
has been under serious consideration by transit officials and 
politicians since 2002. The road was designed originally to include 
dedicated streetcar lanes, but those were eliminated in the 1930s 
when drivers began taking over city streets.

The two new dedicated lanes, separated from the other lanes by a 
concrete barrier, would likely be similar to the track construction 
on Spadina Avenue, and would shave five minutes off the 32-minute 
ride between Yonge and Keele Streets.

However, the 2002 staff report admitted that while the project, which 
would cost $22-million to build, would make life easier for transit 
riders, it would have "serious and significant impacts" on car and 
truck traffic.

Gridlock at intersections, increased leakage of traffic into 
residential areas and greater difficulties in loading and delivery 
for businesses could be major consequences, the report says.

"It's going to be the first expression of the [city's] new official 
plan in terms of improving public transit," Mr. Palacio said. "We 
have to do it right. We have to take a balanced approach. Right now, 
the majority of people feel that we are doing everything backwards."

Most people, the councillor said, feel left out of the process and 
that the city has already decided the outcome.

Joanna Musters, a city official organizing the St. Clair project, 
concedes that communication problems have plagued the process from 
the beginning, when the 2002 staff report first recommended studying 
building an exclusive streetcar right of way.

People opposed to the project think "the plan is already done," she 
said. However, she said, it's far from being an accomplished fact 
because there aren't even drawings yet.

"There's still a lot of mistrust," Ms. Musters said.

At this week's meetings, for the first time, the public will be shown 
and asked to rate eight options that the city is considering. Those 
include replacing the tracks, making minor transportation 
improvements and building the exclusive streetcar right of way.

Ms. Musters said she understands why members of the public, 
especially in Mr. Palacio's ward, are concerned that their views 
aren't necessary.

"It's been an ongoing thing with some of the councillors saying that 
the only way to do this properly is to do an exclusive right of 
way. . . . We've been fighting against those kind of statements," she 

While she wouldn't name names, it's no secret that politicians 
including TTC chairman Howard Moscoe have said that the exclusive-
right-of-way option is a top priority. That concept is also part of 
the strategy for increasing TTC ridership that Mayor David Miller has 

Ms. Musters said the research phase of the project will wrap up this 
spring and that the council will likely vote on a final decision in 

Support for the right-of-way option is also well-organized, vocal and 

A neighbourhood group called SCRIPT (St. Clair Right-of-way 
Initiative for Public Transit) was formed this year and says it has 
members living in the four wards through which the St. Clair 
streetcar rumbles.

"Our most immediate concern is the improvement of our own 
neighbourhood," SCRIPT member Rebecca Smollett said. "This will 
definitely improve things."

Ms. Smollett said the volunteer organization spends a lot of time 
meeting with community groups, including tenants groups and parents 
councils, distributing information about the project.

"The Save Our St. Clair group is spreading a lot of misinformation, 
which is unfortunate," Ms. Smollett said, adding that most of the 
opposition is found in Mr. Palacio's ward.

The exclusive streetcar right-of-way is the only option for a growing 
neighbourhood, she said.

"If everyone is driving their own cars, it's going to become 

City TV April 12, 2004

-------Battle lines are being drawn along St. Clair West.

Residents and business owners are fuming over a T.T.C. proposal to 
make a streetcar right-of-way that would mean setting up dividers on 
the busy stretch of road.

The $22 million plan would see the old tracks replaced with dedicated 
streetcar lanes, complete with concrete barriers, like the ones found 
on Spadina. 

The T.T.C. thinks it will speed up service in the area. But reports 
say the change could increase gridlock and reduce parking on St. 
Clair, which already suffers from a parking problem.

And that is causing some major stress for local business owners. 

"It's going to kill St. Clair.I don't think it's a good idea for St. 
Clair," complained Zakria Syed.

".With the plans that they have to put in the so-called islands, I 
think it would congest the area even more and parking wouldn't be.as 
it is now. Now it's already pretty bad. It would probably be worse," 
worried Rino Castrignano.

But others support the idea. "They said the same things about 
Spadina," said Coun. Howard Moscoe. "Spadina works. It's never been a 
more vibrant street. And sometimes, you know, you can't make an 
omelet without cracking an egg but in the end the omelet tastes 
pretty good."

The idea will be the subject of public meetings on Tuesday and 
Wednesday. And the project isn't a done deal yet. The final decision 
won't be made until July. 

April 12, 2004 

City TV also  conducted a poll `for' or `against' the right-of-way. 
The 'for'  position won by 200 and something to 300 and something. 
The announcer seemed surprised and said that 'the results are 

Other related posts:

  • » [ensu] St. Clair right of way