On May 9, Councillor Jon Burnside hosted a meeting of North Leaside residents to hear proposals from the North Leaside Traffic Committee for reducing traffic in our neighbourhood.
Two proposals were presented. One involved physically blocking direct access from North Leaside to and from Bayview Avenue, except for emergency vehicles. The other involved designating sections of streets as one-way, so it would be difficult for outside vehicles to bypass Eglinton Avenue traffic by going through North Leaside. A year-to-year and a half trial was proposed so residents could see which they preferred.
The elephant in the room was the Bayview-Eglinton intersection. The proposals presented were designed to shift traffic going through North Leaside onto that intersection, and local residents may have to divert to that intersection to go in and out of our neighbourhood.
The removal of local bus stops and the large condo project at the Sunnybrook Plaza site will mean there will be much more pedestrian traffic at the intersection during rush hour. Those pedestrians will block vehicles wanting to turn at that intersection. If the right-turn lanes are removed from Eglinton, as planned, a stream of pedestrians crossing Bayview will cause the blockage of a lane on Eglinton for much of each traffic light cycle.
I see two possible ways of reducing this problem. The addition of a stairway entrance to the LRT station, similar to those at a number of downtown subway stations, on the North East corner would divert many LRT commuters from crossing the streets. (It would be nice if stairway entrances had a roof to protect commuters going up and down the stairs from rain and snow). During inclement weather, pedestrians not going to the LRT might use it to avoid the sloppiness at the intersection.
Another change would be to institute a proper scramble traffic pattern. The traffic light cycle would have the following phases:
1. Pedestrians crossing in all directions.
2. North-south cars left turns with east-west right turns.
3. North-south through, with right turns.
4. East-west left turns with north-south right turns.
5. East-west through, with right turns.
With this approach, pedestrians would not be in the intersection when cars are moving, which should make it safer for everyone. It would also provide two phases for right turns, which would help North Leasiders wanting to head north on Bayview.
John Tory has said that he wants to make the streets safer for pedestrian. Here is a way to do that without spending a lot of money.
P. A. Reid