By Sean Delaney
On June 3rd, 2014 the Emery Village Business Improvement Area held a public meeting to release their independent study of the future impacts of the proposed LRT for Finch Avenue West.
Their study, completed by Cole Engineering, confirms that the current LRT plan for the community will create significant problems for commuter traffic and truck traffic, suggesting that travel times will dramatically increase.
In fact, what is currently a six minute drive from Jazel Drive to Driftwood Ave along Finch Avenue could become an extended 19 minute drive. And this is in non-rush hour traffic. It’s anybody’s guess during rush hour but many believe in excess of 40 minutes.
The Cole Engineering report, titled Finch West LRT and Transportation Network Impact Assessment Study, clearly outlines the changes that need to be made to the Finch Avenue West LRT plan in order for it to be compatible with the unique community:
*A tunneled underground portion of the LRT from the CPR bridge to east of Jayzel Road and potentially further west toward Islington Avenue.
* An additional westbound lane (right-hand turn only) from Highway 400 southbound ramp terminal to Signet Drive to reduce delays and queuing at the Finch Ave/Signet Dr intersection.
* New road to connect Toryork Drive and Finch Avenue West to improve traffic conditions and offset traffic impacts with the LRT
* Intersections that will accommodate u-turns for permitted trucks that service the local business community.
* Investigating and supporting the construction of alternate by-pass trucking routes to alleviate traffic congestion.
There is no question that transit improvements need to be made in our community, however based on the analysis provided by Cole Engineering, we have serious concerns about the current Finch Avenue West LRT plan. Emery Village is a gateway to the City of Toronto and is also considered a strategic logistical transportation hub, providing convenient access to Highways 400, 401, 407 and 427. It has a significant volume of large truck traffic including tractor trailers that require greater ease of access, not more restricted access, which the current plan will create.
With the provincial election behind us and a fall municipal election ahead of us, the time is now for us to rally together and speak up for the type of transit we want and need. Our elected officials Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and MPP Mario Sergio need to hear our message loud and clear so that they can advocate for the changes we need to the current Finch West LRT plan. And where do the City of Toronto mayoral candidates stand on this issue? They too need to hear our united voice because that’s the only way we’ll be able to achieve our goals.
It is important for Emery Village residents and business owners to get involved on this issue in order to send a strong message to the Province, Metrolinx and the City that the Finch Avenue West LRT plan needs to change by burying the section of the route that goes through our community. Please join the Emery Village BIA by making your voice heard by visiting our website at www.emeryvillagebia.ca and clicking on the Finch West LRT link. You will find an already prepared email message that you can send to our elected officials by simply filling in your name, email and postal code. If your require assistance please contact the Emery Village BIA office at 416-744-7242. Let’s make our voices heard!