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We are not doomed to traffic chaos

In my September column, I promised to say more this month about the LPOA’s upcoming Leaside traffic study. As readers will recall, $50,000 of our settlement from SmartCentre North is earmarked for this, and the funds should be forthcoming shortly.

I’d like to make three particularly important points:

First, this study will look at all of Leaside, both north and south. Although we all share certain traffic problems, each area has individual situations that require individual considerations. That is why we will be holding public meetings in each part of Leaside, to collect your information and present recommendations based on your input.

Second, your involvement will be key, whether by filling out a detailed questionnaire about traffic issues and problems on or near your street, or by attending meetings. We want this study to reflect your opinion.

And third, it is not too late to make a difference. We face numerous challenges: speeding and increased traffic throughout Leaside at all hours, not just in peak periods or only on certain streets; retail and high-density residential developments, both proposed and already being built; and congestion during the construction period for the Eglinton LRT, especially near the Bayview/Eglinton and Laird/Eglinton stations-to-be.

But Leaside is not doomed! There are numerous measures, tailored to each street, that can be put into place for a positive impact.

Some fear that measures that help one street, or one area, will automatically harm another. These fears are unfounded: our study is pledged to protect all residential streets, in both north and south Leaside, and to avoid transferring flow-through traffic onto adjacent streets.

Some ask: do we need a locally-run traffic study if the city is going to embark on a larger one? The answer is yes. The proposed (but not yet funded) city study’s terms of reference call for measures to “optimize our existing infrastructure” to move traffic “more efficiently” through Leaside.

Everything LPOA has heard from you over the years tells us that Leasiders are more interested in reducing existing commuter and retail-oriented traffic, and lowering speed. The LPOA study is your study, reflecting your priorities.

I hope that soon I will be able to report to you in more detail, as we get underway.

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Big news! The LPOA will be holding our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, November 26 in the William Lea Room at the newly renovated Leaside Arena. We have an excellent, prominent and outspoken featured speaker: Royson James, columnist for the Toronto Star, has accepted our invitation, and has chosen his topic:  The Mayor We Want; The Mayor We Need. This will be an evening not to be missed!