St. Clair Disaster streetcar

How to solve the so-called St. Clair disaster

Although most people who use the street already know that St. Clair West hasn't become some disaster zone of gridlock following the installation of the streetcar right of way (ROW), it'd be unfair to say that there aren't a few stretches that pose problems for vehicular traffic. The narrow section between Vaughan and Bathurst comes to mind — rush hour traffic gets stalled here frequently, though that was certainly the case prior to the ROW. The worst section of the street from a driver's standpoint, however, is surely the passage between Old Weston Road and Keele, where the street dips below the CP rail bridge.

It too was a problem prior to the ROW, but with the reduction down to one lane of traffic in either direction, its propensity to function as a bottleneck has indeed gotten worse. It was precisely this section that Doug Ford sounded off about when he first took to the air with his brother on NewsTalk 1010, and he and his borther engage in a little synecdoche every time they extrapolate that the rest of the street must face similar traffic problems. I'd reckon that anybody who complains about the street is guilty of this substitution in some capacity.

It is thus interesting to learn that Cesar Palacio wants to do address the problem. The challenges posed by this section of St, Clair have been on the local councillor's mind since at least earlier this year when he wrote a letter to the TTC asking it to investigate ways to prioritize streetcar movement through the intersection at Old Weston Road. Now he's taking things a step further. The Sun reports that Palacio is set to ask the public works committee to consider alterations to the overpass that would make it possible to return the street to two lanes of (vehicular) traffic in either direction.

It's anybody's guess how much this'll cost, but it'll be intriguing to monitor how the motion is received by the committee and, ultimately, the mayor. References to the "St. Clair disaster" proved to be ineffective propaganda in the Ford brothers fight against LRT, but a proposal like this will challenge the mayor to put his money where his mouth is. In other words, don't hold your breath.

Photo by St-Even in the blogTO Flickr pool


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