Toronto is creating new construction-free travel routes to get through traffic chaos
Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie announced a plan to keep traffic moving during construction of the Ontario Line on Thursday, creating new 'Priority Travel Routes' designed to alleviate congestion during the years-long disruption to traffic associated with the new subway route through Toronto.
The upcoming start of construction for the Ontario Line's Queen Station in May will mark the start of four-and-a-half-year road closures, restricting TTC streetcar traffic and shutting down stretches of Queen Street to vehicles entirely.
A large chunk of Queen St. in Toronto will soon be closed for the next 4 years https://t.co/ximQD8ymnr #Toronto #QueenStreet— blogTO (@blogTO) April 12, 2023
Recognizing the impact on motorists, City officials are working with Metrolinx, contractors and the TTC in an attempt to cut down on construction impacts, including the creation of new priority routes the city claims will "balance critical transit construction with the needs of people and businesses who use Toronto's roads."
Priority Travel Routes will move traffic around Ontario Line work zones on designated parallel courses that will be kept free of construction and non-emergency utility work.
The first route will take effect on May 1 along Dundas Street, from Jarvis Street to Bathurst Street, providing an alternative to the stretches of Queen Street — from Victoria Street to Yonge Street and Yonge Street to Bay Street — that will remain closed off during the station's construction.
No construction work will be carried out on this parallel route until summer of 2024, while on-street parking will be restricted, and CaféTO curb lane cafes will not be installed to keep traffic flowing as efficiently as possible.
Additional routes will be announced as construction progresses for the Ontario Line, which the city says may require existing permits and bylaws to be cancelled or amended, including those regarding CaféTO curb lane cafés, on-street parking, and deferring requested event road closures.
"We know we have a lot of construction ahead of us and we recognize the vital need for transit expansion while balancing the needs of the public and businesses to travel in and through the downtown core," said McKelvie.
"Priority Travel Routes are just one of the ways we're working to keep Toronto moving and I will be encouraging City staff to keep implementing common-sense measures to help people during this unprecedented construction," concluded the Deputy Mayor.
In addition to creating these priority routes, the city is prepping for Ontario Line construction disruption by actively assessing all construction permit applications and related Traffic Management Plans, and deploying paid duty police officers and traffic agents at key intersections, among other tools, to ensure the city stays moving.
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