Eglinton LRT delay creates 'dangerous' traffic volumes, speeding, residents complain 4 October 2022 05:11 AM: Residents on a street north of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project are expressing concern about "dangerous" traffic problems plaguing the area  — now that the opening of the line is delayed again and construction is continuing.

They say drivers use Broadway Avenue, which runs east to west north of Eglinton, to get around obstacles caused by the construction. That has seen traffic volumes double or triple during rush hour, said long-time resident Mike Crowley.

"It's a safety issue, and it's a lack of respect of vehicles for pedestrians there," he said.

"Once you're inside a steel and glass capsule, you think you're impervious to all of what is going on outside."

The 19-kilometre light rapid transit line was scheduled to be up and running by the end of this year. A source with knowledge of the situation told CBC Toronto the earliest the line could open now is this time next year.

In a statement on Metrolinx's website announcing the delay last month, president and CEO Phil Verster did not provide a new date for the launch of the service. It was yet another blow to residents and businesses along the LRT route, which has been under construction since 2011 and has been delayed several times since then.

Mike Crowley, who has lived on Broadway Avenue for 30 years, says traffic on the street has more than doubled due to Eglinton Crosstown construction. He's calling for more enforcement and traffic calming measures. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

Crowley said Broadway residents are concerned not only about traffic volumes, but also how fast drivers are going. The street is congested in various places from Mount Pleasant Road in the west to Bayview Avenue in the east. 

It also has two traffic circles that complicate matters — one with stop signs posted, one without, and sidewalks on only one part of street in another area, he adds.

"In most instances, cars will pull up to the stop signs and roll through it," he said of the traffic circles. "And that's dangerous for a lot of the kids going across the intersection."

Rachel Chernos Lin, a Toronto District School Board trustee, agreed that traffic on the street has become a problem in recent years because of the LRT project, which runs close to a large number of schools. The school and city have tried to find solutions, including adding a crossing-guard at the corner of Bayview and Broadway.

"There's speed bumps, there's roundabouts as traffic calming measures," she said.

More traffic enforcement needed, TDSB trustee says

"But I think ... 10 years of subway construction along Eglinton, and lane restrictions at Bayview and Eglinton in particular, have meant that motorists are looking for different ways around it from this neighbourhood."

Chernos Lin said she understands that police may not have the resources to conduct more traffic enforcement on the stretch of road.

"I think that's a piece of the puzzle that we do need their partnership in penalizing motorists who are speeding, …. who are cutting through neighbourhoods when they're not allowed," she said.

"These restrictions are meant to preserve the safety of our pedestrians and the quiet of our neighbourhoods and we do have main streets for a reason."

Coun. Jaye Robinson, who represents Ward 15, Don Valley West, says she's asked Toronto police to conduct enforcement blitzes in the area surrounding the construction. (Mike Smee/CBC)

In a statement, Coun. Jaye Robinson agrees traffic along residential streets near the LRT construction has been extremely disruptive. She's alerted the City of Toronto's Transportation Services department and Toronto police and asked officers to conduct enforcement blitzes.

Robinson, who represents Ward 15, Don Valley West, said Metrolinx has also indicated that several major intersections along Eglinton Avenue will be re-opening in the coming months, including Mount Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue.

"While I am hopeful this will help alleviate traffic infiltration in local communities, I will continue advocating for enforcement and have requested Transportation Services to monitor changing traffic patterns."

Metrolinx and Toronto police did not immediately provide comment. 

Crowley said a mix of solutions may be required to ensure the traffic flow in the area is safe while construction continues. That could include regular traffic enforcement, reducing construction choke points on Eglinton and speeding up construction where possible, he said.

"I think all of Toronto's councillors should be concerned about the completion of the LRT on time and on budget," he said.

"Whether or not they have the ability to influence construction schedules is another question."

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