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The parking improvements that weren’t

Skill-testing question:  How do you guarantee that 100 or more Leasiders will show up at a meeting?

Answer: You offer to “improve” on-street parking all along their street by eliminating it.

This is more or less what happened in late March, when Councillor John Parker invited Glenvale Blvd. residents to a meeting to present proposed parking changes along the street.

The proposals would have banned all on-street parking on the south side of Glenvale, for the full length of the street, and placed varying time-based parking restrictions along the north side.

Even in normal times, proposals that affect traffic and parking are sure to draw a crowd. But these are not normal times, given that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction process is likely to divert some of the traffic from Eglinton Ave. onto Leaside streets. All of Leaside will be affected, but North Leaside will be particularly so.

Generally speaking, people are not keen on measures that, even unintentionally, encourage through-flow traffic onto residential streets as bypasses for arterial roads.

The LPOA has been involved in designing several traffic plans since the 1970s, and we know that the safety of our streets is a primary concern.

Speed is a major factor, and streets with parking on only one side, or no parking on either side, generate faster-flowing traffic.

Traffic studies internationally demonstrate that parking on both sides of a street actually discourages speeding.

The proposals were withdrawn at the start of the meeting, as Councillor Parker had already received many negative comments in advance, but he has invited people to contact his office if they have other proposals.

The meeting, however, continued, since many attendees wanted to comment further.

From all accounts of the Glenvale meeting, quite a few suspected that parking restrictions like those proposed would turn Glenvale into an inviting diversion for traffic trying to avoid the LRT-related congestion along Eglinton.

They expressed concerns that these or similar measures would lead to all of North Leaside being overrun by commuter and other through traffic.

There is no doubt that protective measures will have to be devised, monitored, and likely altered as circumstances change during the years of LRT construction.

LPOA has arranged to meet with Metrolinx and City Traffic on a monthly basis to identify particular locations and situations that need help. We intend to consult with the affected residents, with as much lead time as possible.

Our stated goals have always been to protect all of Leaside’s residential streets, and to prevent shifting speed and volume problems onto adjacent streets. It’s far from easy, but it’s sure worth a try.

It’s more likely to be successful if we work together as a neighbourhood.

On another North Leaside-related matter, the city’s Disabilities Issues Committee has asked the TTC to improve accessible transit to the medical and disabilities-specific institutions along Kilgour Rd., which is north of and parallel to Glenvale.

LPOA has written to the TTC to strongly request that this be done by adding a loop from Bayview Ave. into Kilgour by the Number 11 Bayview/Sunnybrook bus, rather than by adding a new bus route through North Leaside.

We have said that many North Leaside residential streets are narrow and with congested sections. We also noted that the coming construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT through the Leaside area will increase traffic delays and reduce traffic flow along Eglinton, increasing flow-through traffic diversions into North Leaside.

To introduce a new bus route into this situation would be disruptive to the community, and an ineffective and expensive way of providing accessible transit.

We will put any news about this matter onto the LPOA website, and you can count on Leaside Life to cover the story as well.