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Will we lose traffic lanes on Eglinton?

While most of us have heard the term Eglinton Connects, perhaps not everyone knows exactly what it means and the implications for Leaside.

Eglinton Connects is the city’s plan for the future of Eglinton Ave. along the Crosstown LRT line. It was approved by City Council in the closing days of its last term (May 2014).

Given the number of development proposals on Eglinton, most of us have been focused on the “built form” aspects of the study – the size, height and density permitted for new developments. However, a crucial aspect of the study which seems to have been largely overlooked is the lane configurations on Eglinton Ave., particularly at Bayview Ave. and Laird Dr.

The plan is to eliminate one eastbound lane on Eglinton as well as the westbound designated right turn lane at Bayview In both cases, we can anticipate increased traffic cutting through the neighbourhood to avoid congestion at the intersections.

Currently, there are three eastbound lanes at Laird with the curb lane used primarily by buses and cars making right turns. While I understand the elimination of the third lane to create bike lanes, there needs to be a designated right turn lane as well. With only two eastbound lanes, through traffic will often be reduced to one lane as the other will be blocked with cars waiting to turn right. The same situation can be expected westbound on Eglinton at Bayview.

My understanding is that the city’s Planning Department was trying to dissuade vehicular traffic but I am concerned that these lane revisions will actually motivate drivers to cut through our neighbourhood. The impact the Eglinton LRT will have on traffic volumes is unknown, but we do know that we already have a serious problem and that we can’t take a chance making matters worse.

Although the lane configurations were approved as part of Eglinton Connects, I met with our city’s Transportation Department as well as Metrolinx. There is still a possibility to adjust both intersections and I am just waiting to hear back about any financial implications. In the meantime, I encourage you to contact Metrolinx to voice your concerns. (416-874-5900, www.metrolinx.com).

I would like to extend a special thanks to North Leaside Traffic Committee member John Gaitanakis for bringing this issue to my attention.