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TTC: a problem and some good news

Another summer draws to a close, but your LPOA directors didn’t have much chance to lie back and enjoy the “lazy, hazy days,” as the old song goes. The articles in this issue of Leaside Life are proof that too much has been going on in and around Leaside.

My column this month focuses on transit and getting around on the TTC.

If you have just returned from your holidays you may not have yet taken an 88 South Leaside bus to or from St. Clair subway station. Beware! The TTC has closed the bus bay. From now through at least December the platform is officially fenced off. Every bus passenger will require a transfer to be able to get into the station, because the bus will drop you on Pleasant Blvd., outside the station.

Similarly, if you are returning on the subway to get the bus, you will need to arm yourself with a transfer, because you’ll have to leave the station and go to Pleasant Blvd. to wait for the bus, and then show your transfer. 

Pleasant Blvd. is a busy street. There’s a Sobeys supermarket at the east end, a variety of townhouses and an apartment building, a multilevel parking lot, a Mac’s Milk store and mini-lot, a restaurant’s rear driveway, and some small retail. There’s also on-street parking. So there’s a lot of truck and car travel, and not that much free sidewalk for pedestrians.

There’s certainly not enough sidewalk space for two bus stops (our Route 88 and the Mt. Pleasant 74), and crowds of bus and subway passengers.

At the moment there is no shelter or roof, so passengers waiting for the bus will be exposed to the hot sun, or rain, or (come the winter) snow.  I spoke with a TTC official on the site in early August, who agreed that this arrangement is unsustainable , and that structural changes will have to be considered.

In the meanwhile we’ll have to remember to always have a transfer with us.

On a more positive note, I have good news about an improvement in TTC service on Bayview.. Regular readers of Leaside Life may recall that more than a couple of years ago I wrote a column about the lack of TTC service along Bayview between Sutherland and Davisville.

This service gap meant that South Leasiders who needed or wanted to get to Sunnybrook Hospital, or shop along Bayview, either had to drive and pay for parking, take a taxi, or embark on a complicated and time consuming route:  the 88 bus to St Clair subway, north on the subway to Davisville station, and finally the Davisville bus to Sunnybrook, through the Bayview shopping district.

All sorts of people have been inconvenienced by this TTC “dead zone”: people with doctors’ appointments, people – regardless of age – who can’t walk that far, people who can’t readily afford hospital parking or taxis, people who’d prefer to shop locally. With Councillor Jon Burnside’s support, I met with the TTC and deputed at the TTC board.

As a result, by this winter there will be a bus service to connect South Leasiders (and Bennington residents) to the rest of Bayview. Not only will this make travel more convenient, it is an investment: it will boost the new Bayview BIA, whose shops have to compete with the big box stores on Laird and their free parking; it will reduce the need for private automobiles on Bayview and our residential streets; increase the connectivity of the TTC; it will give us more efficient transit availability in Leaside. It is very good news indeed.

As the new route’s inception approaches, full details will be in Leaside Life and the LPOA  web site.

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The LPOA Board of Directors meets monthly, in the Trace Manes building. Meetings are generally scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Because September’s first Wednesday is before Labour Day and many Leasiders are not yet back in town, we have re-scheduled our next meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 9. Our meetings are public and we encourage you to join us with your questions and concerns, or just to watch!